Hunting for a Founding Father

The search for the tomb of Samuel de Champlain, the founder of New France

In Quebec City, the only completely walled city in North America, declared a world heritage site by UNESCO, the hunt is on to find the tomb of Samuel de Champlain, the founder of New France, who died on Christmas Day, 1635.

Amateur archaeologists Reni Levesque and Charles Beaudry are battling it out against official Quebec government archaeologists who view them as interlopers. As Mr Levesque puts it, 'the government archaeologists don't like to have amateurs butting in'. Levesque and Beaudry are digging under St Joseph's chapel, in the Basilica Notre Dame de Quebec.

Quebec City perched above the St Lawrence River was founded in 1608 by Samuel de Champlain. The American fur trade fever brought Champlain, as part of a fur trading expedition, up the St Lawrence River in 1603. In 1608, sponsored by Rouen merchants, he returned to the area to set up a fur trading post, L'Habitation.

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