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New Discoveries

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Date: Jul. 21st '16
Time: 15:55
Title: 17th-Century Pit East of Structure 9
Image Above. Looking south towards Structure 9 and the pit. Structure 9 is to the west (right) and the pit is to the east (left). The lighter patch of grass in the upper right indicates a corner of Structure 9 that has yet to be excavated. 

Date: Jul. 21st '16
Time: 16:10
Title: 17th-Century Pit East of Structure 9.

 Image Above. Looking west. Uncovering the rubble in the 17th-century pit east of Structure 9.


July 21, 2016

Excavations conducted at the Cupids Cove Plantation PHS in 2014 and 2015 on the bank that rises up just east of Structure 9 have revealed a pit that was dug into the bank early in the 17th century. At this point the exact dimensions of the pit are unknown but it measures at least 5m from north to south and extends east from Structure 9 for more than 2m.

The pit is full of large-to-medium sized pieces of rubble that clearly were deposited in the 17th century. The silt matrix around the rubble is full of 17th century artifacts and there is a 10cm thick layer of silt and beach gravel above the rubble that contains exclusively 17th century material. Above the silt and beach gravel matrix is a 10cm thick deposit of fine silt with no cultural material that seems to have accumulated during the 18th century. This is capped off by a roughly 40cm thick deposit of field stones. silt and humus that contains a small amount of late 18th, 19th, and early 20th century material.

As mentioned below, Structure 9 appears to be some sort of harbor-side facility, possibly a dock or wharf. While we can't say for certain at this time, it is possible that the rubble in the pit is collapse from a building that was located east of the wharf and the pit was part of that building. If this is the case, the building must have collapsed sometime during the 17th century. Over the next few weeks we will be extending our excavation farther east and exposing more of the pit.

Date: Nov. 6th '13
Title: Excavating Structure 9 at the Cupids Cove Plantation, Oct 25, 2013.

November 6, 2013

Excavations at the Cupids Cove Plantation PHS finished this year on October 25.  During 2013, much of our work focused on a stone feature located about 5m east of the Spracklin House, near the entrance to the site. Until the summer of 2010 a clapboard garage had stood in this spot. The garage was literally falling down and, in the course of preparing the site for the 400 anniversary celebrations, it was removed. Beneath its wooden floor we noticed a concentration of flat stones. We were unable to investigate further at the time and the area was covered with a layer of topsoil and seeded.

This stone feature stands on the low ground at the edge of the bank that rises south and east to the terrace where the main part of the site is located. The outer defensive wall and gun platform uncovered between 2009 and 2011 are located on this terrace about 20m farther south (see entries for Oct. 31 & Nov. 18, 2011 on Page 2). Once the garage had been removed and the area cleaned up, we could see two ridges on the edge of the bank. A 5m long ridge runs from west to east along the southern edge of the bank and is adjoined, at its eastern end, by a second ridge which extends north from it at a right angle for 7m.  When probed with a chaining pin, these ridges appeared to consist mainly of solid rock beneath a 20cm overburden of soil.  In 2012 we dug one test pit south of the east-west ridge and another east of the north-south ridge. Both produced 17th century artifacts.  

In 2013 we returned to this area to have a closer look. At first we thought the ridges might mark the location of stone walls but we soon discovered that they were formed from rubble deposited in the 17th century. The concentration of stones just north and west of these ridges turned out to be part of a feature, which we have designated Structure 9.

Structure 9 is about 4.5m (14 ¾ ft) wide, from east to west. That portion of it exposed to date runs north from the southern edge of the bank for 6.28m (20 ½ ft) although it may well extend beyond that. The remains of stone walls run along the eastern, southern and western sides of the structure and stones have been laid down inside the space defined by these walls to create a platform clearly designed to raise this area above what was originally the high water mark.

Although today Structure 9 lies 30m south of the Salt Water Pond on the south side of Cupids harbour, this is a result of infilling over the past two centuries. In the 17th century the structure would have stood right on the water’s edge. Even now, when the tide is unusually high, salt water sometimes flows in through the culverts and floods the area to the west of Structure 9.

It would appear that Structure 9 is part of some sort of harbour-side facility, possibly a dock or wharf. It also seems clear that the structure dates to the 17th century. Aside from the debris left over from the collapse of the garage and a layer of fill deposited immediately west of it in the 19th century, all the artifacts found in association with Structure 9 are of 17th century origin (see the images below). Of course, wharves and docking facilities would have been essential to the proper operation of a colony so closely connected to the sea and it makes sense that we would find the remains of such structures on the original shoreline.  

In the course of uncovering the east wall of Structure 9, we also extended the excavation into the bank that rises to the east just beyond it and were surprised to find that, instead of being natural, at least a portion is made up of large pieces of rubble that were deposited in the 17th century. At this point we cannot say exactly how much of the bank is rubble. Nor do we know if the rubble is collapse from Structure 9 or the remains of another building farther to the east. In 2014 we will be uncovering more of Structure 9 and extending the excavation farther east into the bank. 

Date: Nov. 6th '13
Title: Uncovering the East Wall of Structure 9.

Uncovering the east wall of Structure 9 and the rubble beyond on October 25, 2013.

Date: Nov. 6th '13
Title: North Devon Ware Fragments Found above the East Wall

A North Devon ware rim fragment (left) and base fragment found above the east wall of Structure 9 on the final day of excavation for 2013.

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