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Introduction

Finding the Site
Structures & Related Features
Beginnings
Occupation
Later Settlement


One of the first things the colonists did when they arrived at Cupers Cove was dig a cellar pit. The pit we found is 20 feet (6.1 m) wide and seven feet (2.13 m) deep. The lower courses of the stone walled cellar built inside it are still in place and its interior dimensions are 6 ft 9 in (2.10m) by 9 ft 2 in (2.81m). Once the cellar had been walled up and that portion of the pit behind the walls filled in with rubble, two buildings were constructed.

The chimney base discovered in 1995 was built just west of the edge of the cellar pit. When fully exposed it proved to be 11 ft (3.5 m) wide and 5 ft (1.6 m) deep and was located at the southern end of a 12 3/4 ft (3.9m) wide dwelling house (Structure 1) that extended north for 36 ft 5 ins (11.1m). This house was divided into two main rooms: one in the northern half with a cobble and flagstone floor and another in the southern half with a wooden floor. The burnt floor joists of a third room, built onto the northwest corner of Structure 1, were still visible beneath the rubble and burnt timbers that accumulated when the building was destroyed. Built into the chimney was a brick lined fireplace which opened up into and heated the room with the wooden floor.


Attached to the southern end of Structure 1 was a second building, Structure 3. The eastern end of the chimney formed part of the western end wall of Structure 3 which ran east from Structure 1, over the cellar pit, for 30 feet (9.14m) and was roughly 13 feet (3.96m) wide. Although much of the imprint of Structure 3 was lost when the cellar walls and rubble fill behind them collapsed after the destruction of these buildings, the easternmost portion of its builders’ trench was still visible as was part of its stone footing extending south from the southeast corner of the chimney just west of the cellar pit. The presence of the cellar inside Structure 3 suggests that it was probably used as a store house.

Roughly two feet (0.61 m) south of the eastern end of Structure 3, we found the remains of another smaller structure (Structure 2) running almost parallel to it. Measuring only 15 feet x 9 feet (4.57 m x 2.74 m), Structure 2 was apparently some sort of out-building. Traces of what appeared to be a ground laid sill ran along a portion of the south side of Structure 2 and the remains of several decayed timbers located inside the structure and running parallel to its long axis suggest that it may once have had a wooden floor.

Twenty-two feet (6.70 m) west of the northern half of Structure 1 we uncovered part of a fourth building (Structure 5). Here the remains of a stone wall measuring eight feet (2.44 m) long and three feet (0.91 m) wide runs north to south and almost parallel to Structure 1. Unfortunately, only the lower courses of this wall have survived and it seems clear that much of the original stone was removed in the late eighteenth or early in the nineteenth-century. Two post holes located on the western side of the wall, one at the northwest corner and the other at the southwest corner, suggest that it once formed the eastern end of a building, probably with wooden side walls, that extended for an as yet unknown distance farther west.

A number of related features have been found in association with these structures. These include a rectangular pit just west of the north end of Structure 1 and cobble and flagstone surfaces west of Structure 1 and in the space between Structure 1 and Structure 3. In 2003 the lower courses of a two foot wide stone wall that appears to have formed part of the northern boundary of the 1610 enclosure was found at the north end of the site. Traces of two posts found close to the eastern boundary of the site that same year may be the first evidence of a palisade that once surrounded the settlement.

 
Images (left to right, top to bottom) 1. Excavating Structure 1, 1997. 2. Cellar pit and walls. 3. Part of the east wall of the cellar. 4. The chimney base fully exposed. The cellar pit is to the left. Adjoining the left side of the chimney base and extending south from it is the footing for the west wall of Structure 3. 5. Uncovering the burnt wooden floor north of the fireplace. 6. Looking south along Structure 1. 7. The stone wall at the western end of Structure 5. 8. Rectangular pit west of the north end of the Structure 1. Part of a disturbed cobblestone surface can be seen to the right of the pit. 9. Flagstones between the rectangular pit and Structure 5.