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Canadian Historic Sites: Occasional Papers in Archaeology and History No. 10

Glassware Excavated at Fort Gaspereau, New Brunswick

by Jane E. Harris

Unidentified Artifacts

This chapter deals with those objects which cannot be positively identified as to function or body form due to their fragmentary condition.

Flat-Sided Vessels

Ten flat body fragments varying in colour from green to olive green (5GY-10Y) were recovered from the commandant's quarters, the southeast bastion and the magasin des vivres. At least five different vessels are represented. One group of green (5GY) fragments is much more heavily patinated and more densely bubbled than the others. Three other fragments have the beginning of a rounded corner. These fragments could easily represent case or gin bottles, popular in England in the 18th century (NoŽl Hume 1961: 106).

Another flat-sided bottle is represented by six green (10GY) fragments from the magasin des vivres and the commandant's quarters. The bottle was mouthblown in a mould resulting in a square or rectangular body with slightly concave chamfered corners approximately 12 mm. wide. The glass is unpatinated, seed-bubbled and quite thin. Nothing can be said at time of writing regarding its function, country of origin or time of manufacture.


The first of two bottles is represented by a finish fragment of decomposed, very densely bubbled olive green (10Y) glass from the commandant's quarters. The lip has been cracked off and the string rim applied so close to the top of the lip that the lip height cannot be measured. The string rim is generally rounded with some excess glass below it indicating that it was roughly tooled. It has an approximate diameter of 30 mm. and varies in height from 4mm. to 9 mm. Bubbles in the neck are elongated and slant upward to the left.

This finish does not correspond to the French or English styles discussed earlier but on the basis of its style and manufacturing technique, the fragment probably belongs to a bottle manufactured in the 18th century.

The second bottle is represented by a base fragment from the northeast bastion of light green (10GY) glass that is densely seed-bubbled. As only a small portion of the base is present, its shape cannot be determined. It is, however, pushed up and bears the remains of a glass-tipped pontil. The glass is similar to that attributed to French manufacture of the 18th century; however, little else can be said about it. Since a pontil mark is present, the bottle was probably manufactured before the 1850s.

Clear Glass Vessels

The first vessel, possibly a small tumbler, is represented by a rim fragment found in the northeast bastion. The shiny, non-lead glass has a yellowish tint and is filled with horizontally oriented seed bubbles. The lip has been fire-polished and is approximately 70 mm. in diameter. As this fragment is made of non-lead glass it could possibly relate to the French period of occupation of the fort.

Among all the clear glass fragments found at the site, only five small fragments were of lead glass. They include a small rim fragment with a fire-polished lip and a fragment that may be from the base of a stemware bowl. Unfortunately the fragments are too small to be of any value in determining their vessel shapes. It may be significant that they were all recovered from the commandant's quarters. If they relate to the periods of European occupation they are most likely from vessels of English manufacture as the French produced no lead glass until late in the 18th century (Scoville 1968: 44).

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