Archaeology of the Barracks & Cookhouse

Ceramic pitcher fragment, Rockingham-style ceramic

Brick, hand-made by soldiers at the Fort; note the rain stipples created when the wet brick was left to dry in a rain storm.


Charred planking from the Barracks or Soldier’s Cookhouse


Utensils from the Soldier’s Cookhouse, including (top left) a bone utensil handle, and (right) a large bent iron spoon.

Researcher: Nathaniel McFadden, Grade 12

The most prominent type of artifact found in this area of the site is foodways related. Foodways artifacts include ceramic tableware (like the pitcher fragment pictured above), glass bottles and utensils (see the bone utensil handle and iron spoon pictured above). The amount of architectural artifacts in the area is much lower than in other areas excavated at the site; this could mean that the structure was small, or that some of the building was dismantled prior to the abandonment of the site.

Artifacts found in the area of the barracks and cookhouse give strong supporting evidence that earlier archaeologist Wilfred Jury’s location for these buildings was surprisingly accurate. Most of the artifacts found during the 2010 and 2011 excavations were located where the soldier’s barracks is theorized to be located. There is a drop in artifact frequency within the structures themselves because this is where Jury reported to have opened his excavation squares.

The large amount of foodways artifacts is what led Wilfred Jury to call the building a cookhouse; however the barracks and cookhouse could have been one building. This is difficult to prove however, because of the lack of structural remains, such as a foundation. Apart from a lot of charcoal (from the burning of the buildings), only a few pieces of brick and one piece of charred planking (see images above) have been found from the structures that once stood here.

References:

Carter, T (2011). Willow Depot (BcGw – 38) Stage 4 Field School Excavations – 2010 & 2 011 – Investigation of Soldiers’ Barracks & Cookhouse. Retrieved April 26, 2013, from http://fc.smcdsb.on.ca/~tcarter/Archaeology/Fort%20Willow%202010_11%20Report.pdf

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