Archaeology at the Officer’s Quarters

Remains of Officers' Quarters dry laid cobble foundation
Remains of Officers’ Quarters dry laid cobble foundation
Blue transfer printed ceramic found archaeologically at Fort Willow
Blue transfer-printed pearlware plate fragment,
a relatively expensive ceramic type.
Medicine bottle found during excavations at Fort Willow
Medicine bottle: “Essence of Peppermint”
Selection of ceramics found at Fort Willow during archaeology excavations
Selection of ceramics from the Officers’ Quarters:
Cheaper striped & hand-painted ceramics (at left & right) along with more expensive printed ceramic at centre.
Pistol flint and ball found during archaeology dig at Fort Willow
Pistol flint and pistol ball found at Officers’ Quarters
Straight pins found during Fort Willow archaeology excavations
Straight pins found at Officers’ Quarters. These were often used to hold documents together by piercing with the pin and then folding the pin over.

Archaeological excavations were carried out near the Officers’ Quarters during the 2005, 2006 and 2007 excavation seasons.

The artifacts recovered were of a type expected of upper class individuals. During the early 1800s, hand-painted ceramics were much cheaper than the industrially produced printed type. Although some hand-painted ceramics were found at the Officers’ Quarters, a lot of expensive printed ceramics were recovered (particularly when compared to the lower number of such finds across the rest of the site). These more expensive ceramics would only be in use by wealthier, upper class officers, not the average soldier.

Other artifacts recovered include pistol flints and pistol balls; these likely belonged to the officers, considering the lower ranking soldiery was usually supplied with muskets, and these used larger lead balls and larger flints.

Overall, the types of artifacts found near the Officers’ Quarters attest to the more ‘refined tastes’ of those who occupied these structures. These finds confirm the work of 1950s archaeologist Wilfred Jury, who believed there was an Officers’ Quarters in this area.

The finds also seem to indicate that there was once a building here. Architectural objects found include pieces of window glass and many hand wrought nails, possibly fashioned by the smith at the Fort. The partial remains of a dry-laid stone building foundation also attests to the presence of a building in this area.

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