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New Discoveries

There are currently 35 entries
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Date: Nov. 6th '13
Title: Pipe Bowl from the First Half of the 17th Century

A pipe bowl dating to the first half of the 17th century found just east of Structure 9.

Date: Nov. 6th '13
Title: 17th Century S-Hook Found in the Rubble East of Structure 9.

This s-hook was found in good 17th century context amongst the rubble just east of Structure 9. It was probably used to suspend a cooking pot over a fire.

Date: Nov. 18th '11
Title: More Defensive Wall Uncovered at Cupids
November 18 , 2011, 10:15 am

More of the Defensive Wall Uncovered at Cupids Cove Plantation Provincial Historic Site

Excavations at the Cupids site ended this year on November 4. By the time we had finished digging, we had uncovered a 26 ft ( 7.9m) long section of the newly-discovered defensive wall located north of the gun battery. The wall is 2ft 2 inches (0.66m) wide at its base and, although we won’t know for sure until next season, appears to extend farther east beyond our current excavation. This makes a total of three stone defensive walls uncovered at the site to date.

The first wall, located roughly 43ft (13.1m) to the south of this one, and running parallel to it, was first discovered in 2003 and mostly excavated in 2008. Measuring 2ft 8 inches (0.81m) thick, this first wall is the most substantial of the three and appears to be the north wall of the enclosure erected by the colonists in 1610. Roughly 21ft (6.5m) north of this first wall, and closer to the harbour, is the 13 ½ ft (4.11m) long stone gun platform first identified last year. Two feet (0.60m) north of the platform and attached to it by a short north-south wall is a second wall, 16 inches (0.41m) thick, running from east to west, parallel with the other two. Our newly-discovered wall is 5ft (1.52m ) north of this second wall.

As we have previously speculated (see entry for Oct 11, 2010 below)), it seems most likely that these defense works are part of the major fortification effort undertaken by the colonists under the direction of John Guy in the summer of 1612 in an attempt to defend the colony from the threat posed by piracy. Although excavations ended two weeks ago, we hope to have the section of this third wall that was uncovered this year mapped before Christmas. Hopefully the weather will cooperate.

Photo Above: Looking west along the second and third defensive walls. The stone gun platform can be seen in the distance to the left.

Date: Oct. 31st '11
Title: New Discovery at Cupids Site
October 31 , 2011, 4:00pm

New Discoveries at the Gun Battery, Cupids

Excavations at Cupids this year began in late May and will continue until November 4. One of the areas we’ve been concentrating on this season is the gun battery located in the northwest corner of the site (see entries for Nov 19, 2009 and Oct 11, 2010 below). Excavations here in 2009 and 2010 revealed the remains of a stone gun platform running from north to south and attached to a stone defensive wall running from west to east just north of the platform and roughly parallel to the south side of the harbour.

When the gun platform was first uncovered, it appeared to measure 8 ½ ft x 6 ½ ft (2.6m x 1.98m). However, when we dug deeper down this season, we found that the platform originally extended south for an additional 5ft (1.52m) and was actually 13 ½ ft (4.11m) long . Much of the southernmost section of the platform had been dismantled at some time in the past but enough of it remained to allow us to determine its original dimensions.

North of the defensive wall we uncovered a deposit of rubble that seems to have been laid down in the 19th century to level off this area. This year we extended the excavation north into this rubble deposit to better expose the north face of the wall, properly record it, and draw a profile. Much to our surprise, roughly 5ft (1.5 m) north of this wall, at the edge of the rubble deposit, we uncovered a second stone wall. When we first uncovered it, we thought that it might be the remains of a crude wall erected in the 19th century to hold back the rubble. However, as more of it was exposed, we realized that we had uncovered the remains of a second, well-constructed wall dating to the 17th century. This second wall runs parallel to the first and appears originally to have been attached to the western end of it by a short north-south wall the traces of which can still be seen. We are currently extending the excavation east to uncover more of this wall.

Date: Nov. 9th '10
Title: Another Grave Found at Cupids
November 9 , 2010, 4:35pm

Another Grave uncovered at the Cupids Cove Plantation Site

Most of our work in the cemetery at the Cupids Cove Plantation this year has focused on recording what has already been uncovered. First the cemetery was photographed and mapped with the gravestones in place. Then, because many of the stones had fallen over and were obscuring the grave pits, they were removed and the cemetery was photographed and mapped a second time to record the location and dimensions of each pit. The only stone that wasn’t removed is a late-18th -century, grey-Lias stone, from Dorset or Somerset, that, at some point in the past, fell on another grave marker and shattered into hundreds of pieces. This stone will remain where it fell, at least for now.

Back in June, the massive back-dirt pile that had prevented us from expanding the cemetery excavations to the north was remove and this past Friday, November 5, we decided to open a 1 ½ m x 2m unit in this area to see if we could find any more graves. It wasn’t long before the distinctive outline of a grave pit began to emerge 15 inches (40cm) north of and parallel to the grave marked by the grey-Lias stone (Burial 3). Initially, we only exposed the eastern half of the pit but in the afternoon we expanded the excavation west for 1 ½ metres and uncovered the rest of it. Measuring 6ft 3in (190cm) long and 19in (48cm) wide at its widest point, this is one of the larger grave pits uncover to date and suggests that more graves may await discovery in this area. No marker stones were found in association with this new grave but a displaced marker stone located a short distance to the west originally may have marked the head.

To date ten grave pits have been uncovered in the cemetery at Cupids. Of these, four, ranging in length from 47 ½ inches (1.21 m) to just 27 inches (68.5cm), are almost certainly the graves of children. Another, measuring only 4ft 4 inches (1.32 m), must be either the grave of an adolescent or an unusually short adult. At this point, we cannot say exactly how old all of these graves are. The grey-Lias stone clearly dates to the late 18th century and another, carved from Portland Stone, appears to date to the early 18th century. However, some of the other graves may well be 17th century. Indeed, given it’s location, just a short distance south of the 1610 enclosure, it seems highly likely that this is the cemetery first established by the colonists in that year. If it is, it must have continued to be used for roughly 180 years and the high proportion of children’s graves clearly indicates the presence of families at the site.

So far none of the graves have been excavated. Instead we are uncovering and recording the location of the grave pits and marker stones. Over the next few weeks the grave pits will be covered in sand to protect and better define them and the marker stones will be put back in place. Graves that were unmarked will be marked with white crosses and the cemetery will be landscaped. In 2011 we will extend the excavation to the north in an attempt to determine the total number of graves in the cemetery.

(For more on the Cupids Cove Plantation Cemetery see the entries for Dec. 11, 2007 & Aug. 26, 2008 below)

Photo Above: Uncovering another grave pit at Cupids, November 5, 2010. The shattered grey-Lias headstone and the grave pit (Grave3) associated with it can be seen on the left.

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