Parks Canada Banner
Parks Canada Home

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

Glassware Excavated at Fort Gaspereau, New Brunswick

by Jane E. Harris

Conclusions and Discussion

The glassware from Fort Gaspereau accurately reflects its mid-18th-century European occupation but the fragmentary condition of the artifacts and their relatively small numbers render the site less helpful than had been hoped as an aid in the interpretation of other sites. In addition, ploughing at the fort site in the 1930s caused the dispersion of period artifacts throughout the turf and occupation layers. Nevertheless, the author feels that the blue-green glass bottles and "flower-pot" shaped bottles are of French manufacture and therefore concludes that these bottles represent types which one can expect to find on other French colonial sites in Canada and the United States. These bottles are also concrete examples of the two glassmaking traditions in France during the 18th century: the production of common blue-green glass from wood-fired furnaces and darker olive green from coal-fired furnaces. A third type of glass owes its presence on the site to the French but is not necessarily of French manufacture. The clear non-lead glass pattern-moulded tumblers described previously would have been brought to Fort Gaspereau by the French and, as fragments of these tumblers are present in significant numbers in the southwest bastion as well as the commandant's quarters it would seem that they were used by the enlisted men as well as the French officers.

The dearth of glass artifacts from the proposed barracks and the proposed British officers' quarters seems to indicate these buildings were never constructed. Since the concentration of both French and English glass occurs in and around the commandant's quarters and the northeast and southwest bastions it would appear as though the English officers used existing buildings during their residence at Fort Gaspereau. This would seem to be a practical solution since they occupied the fort for only a year before destroying it. To further support this idea, burned glass resulting from the destruction of the fort is in evidence in over 70 excavation units with the greatest concentrations being in two adjacent units within the commandant's quarters. Most of the fragments were too burned to be identified, but a few bottle fragments of English manufacture could be recognized.

Use of the fort site after the middle of the 19th century is also indicated by the recovery of glassware from this period. It too was found in both layers, a result of ploughing, but to a much lesser degree in the occupation layer.

The presence of burned 20th-century glass in the west palisade and ditch trench probably indicates the use of the site as a picnic area in this century.

previous Next

Last Updated: 2006-10-24 To the top
To the top