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Can You Dig It?© 2008 Naval Cottages & Naval Hospital

2008 Naval cottages surveyThis year the “Can You Dig It?”© Summer Archaeology Program once again teamed up with Queen’s University E=MC2 enrichment mini-course to excavate the Naval Cottages and Naval Hospital on Point Frederick at the Royal Military College of Canada. The 50 participants of the “Can You Dig It?”© field school excavated the Naval Cottages. While the crew of 14 from Queen’s University E=MC2 enrichment mini-course excavated the Naval Hospital.

The Naval Cottages:

The Naval Cottages are located on the western shore of Point Frederick now part of the Royal Military College of Canada. The entire range of cottages was in existence from 1822 until 1868 when a devastating fire destroyed the southerly six and one additional was demolished to create a fire-break. These were completely removed in 1875 when the College was created and the surviving range of nine northerly cottages remained in use until 1910.

The 2008 season marked the 4th excavation at the 1822 Naval Cottages of the Royal Navy Dockyard, giving us the opportunity to continue on from the 1998, 1999 and 2007 field seasons. The priorities of the 2008 investigation were to further investigate the possibility of an earlier shanty, pre-historic occupation, and exterior buildings on the Naval Cottages site. All six units centered around Cottages No. 9, 10, and 11 to further investigate the fire break and possible earlier or exterior structures suspected to be in this area. Artifacts discovered consistently date to the period of occupation of the cottages between 1822 and 1868 when this section was destroyed by fire.

Naval Hospital:

Ever since anyone can remember the idea that the limestone structure known throughout much of the 20th century as the “Commandant’s House or Residence” was formerly the Naval Hospital. But through diverse research, things still didn’t quite add up. Although the Naval establishment on Point Frederick began at the latter end of the 18th century, it is not until the War of 1812 and the arrival of the Royal Navy in 1813 that the facility started to see drastic changes. And at some point between June 1813 and 1814 the Naval Hospital on Point Frederick was erected.

Seven test pits were excavated. Test pits 76A and 76C contained mortared Naval Hospital excavation unit.limestone features which have been identified as possible foundations of the Naval Hospital walls. The artifacts recovered are similar to those found in the 2007 testing and consistent with the period of use of the structure, first half of the 19th century. Test pitting continued on the lawn area northwest of the Commandant’s Residence to further investigate the location of the Naval Hospital and to confirm that it is not the current residence of the Commandant as has been traditionally accepted. The associated artifacts are from the period of use of the hospital between c. 1813 and most likely the 1840s.