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Canadian Historic Sites: Occasional Papers in Archaeology and History No. 26

The Old Fort Point Site: Fort Wedderburn II?

by Karlis Karklins

Artifact Descriptions

The Old Fort Point site produced only 271 objects of which 35.4 per cent are glass beads and lead shot. However, while the collection lacks quantity, it does not lack variety in that 50 major classes of artifacts are represented. Thus, the artifacts provide some insight into the material culture of the site's occupants.

The artifacts are described in detail so that the data presented herein will be of use to those involved in the comparative analysis of materials found at other historic period sites in western Canada. Artifact dimensions are primarily presented in millimeters because of the ease of rendering fractions. However, the measurements of the nails are given in inches and fractions thereof since this is the standard method of noting their size.

Colours are designated using the Munsell colour notation system (Munsell Color Company 1960) with one exception. The colours of the glass beads are designated using the names and codes proposed in the Color Harmony Manual (Jacobson et al.: 1948) so that the beads could be typed using the classification system developed by Kenneth and Martha Kidd (1970). Nevertheless, the equivalent Munsell colour code is also provided for the benefit of those who may not be familiar with the manual.

All glass objects were tested for lead content by exposing them to short-wave ultraviolet light. Those pieces which contained lead fluoresced a pale ice blue (Elville 1951: 266). A representative sample of these was then tested chemically for lead with positive results. These tests proved that all the clear bottle glass contained lead, as did a very pale yellowish green glass lens.

The artifacts are assigned to four major functional categories: personal and household items; tools and hardware; subsistence and defence, and transportation. Objects which could not be identified or whose use was not evident were placed in a fifth or miscellaneous category.

Personal and Household Items


The site yielded eight different buttons. Materials include pewter, tombac (white brass; probably tin-plated brass alloy), brass and bone.


The solitary pewter button is a cast, one-piece specimen with the raised device of the 37th (North Hampshire) Regiment on its face: the numeral 37 surmounted by a crown under a festoon, surrounded by a laurel wreath (Figs. 19 a, 20 a, Parkyn 1956: 189-90, Fig. 303). The face is slightly convex; the back is slightly concave and has a raised, flattened rim. An iron wire alpha shank is cast into a low-domed boss which is well defined at the base and has a raised ridge which is parallel to the plane of the shank. No marks resulting from manufacture are visible. Its diameter is 19.4 mm.

19 Buttons. a, regimental, cast pewter; b-c, stamped brass with quality marks; d-g, undecorated tombac; h, bone.
(cick on image for a PDF version.)

20 Buttons. Back views of the specimens in Figure 19.
(cick on image for a PDF version.)


The two one-piece, stamped brass buttons may have been gilded originally (Figs. 19 b-c, 20 b-c). The faces are flat, as are the backs. A brass wire alpha shank is soldered to the back of each button. The faces are undecorated while the backs have quality marks. The mark on one specimen is a raised wreath which includes a star between the wreath's upper ends. The wreath is situated in a depressed, circular band (Fig. 20 b). On the other specimen it consists of a raised circular decoration of an eagle with outstretched wings and seven stars, encircled by a raised, dotted circle (Fig. 20 c). The former button is 15.6 mm in diameter; the latter is 18.8 mm in diameter and has a section of thick thread in the eye of the shank. No marks resulting from manufacture are evident.


There are four "tombac-type" buttons, all of which have undecorated, cast, one-piece discs. Two of the buttons have flat faces and backs (Figs. 19 d-e, 20 d-e). A brass wire alpha shank is cast into a truncated cone-shaped boss on each button. The bosses are well defined at the base and exhibit casting spurs. On one specimen the boss is spun. On the other there are no marks resulting from manufacture. Their respective diameters are 19.1 mm and 22.3 mm.

The third button has a flat face and slightly concave back (Figs. 19 f, 20 f). A brass wire alpha shank is cast into a spun, truncated cone-shaped boss that is well defined at the base and has a casting spur. The button's diameter is 27 mm.

The remaining "tombac-type" button has a flat face and a very slightly concave back (Figs. 19 g, 20 g). A brass wire alpha shank is cast into a slight, irregular rise in the centre of the back. The rise has a pebbled surface and a casting spur. The feet of the shank show through on the face. The back is spun. The button's diameter is 13.2 mm.


The single bone button is undecorated and has flat surfaces and a single, central perforation (Figs. 19 h, 20 h). One side is spun; the other exhibits distinct cut marks. Its diameter is 13.8 mm.

The non-military buttons can be dated according to the method of manufacture (dates provided by DiAnn Herst 1973: pers. com.). The tombac buttons appear to date to the last quarter of the 18th century and the first quarter of the 19th century. The stamped brass buttons were probably made during the 1790-1840 period. The bone specimen can be attributed to the 18th and early 19th centuries.

The pewter button is of a type that was worn by the enlisted men of the 37th Regiment from an unspecified date until 1830 (Parkyn 1956: 190). How this button came to be at Old Fort Point is uncertain since the regiment was never in western Canada (Stewart 1962: 187). Their activity was concentrated in the eastern portion of the country, although a small party did accompany Selkirk to the Red River in 1816 (Stewart 1962: 187). Since it is unlikely that a member of the regiment ever visited the site, the only other possible explanation is that the button was a souvenir brought to the site by one of the residents, or was on a "war-surplus" uniform used by one of the inhabitants.

Glass Beads

Eighty-one glass beads representing ten types were found. These are classified using the system developed by Kenneth and Martha Kidd (1970), and their identifying code precedes the detailed description of each bead type. Bead types in the collection that do not appear in the Kidd lists are marked by an asterisk (*) since they do not, as yet, have type numbers. Although the Kidds use "clear" in lieu of "transparent," the latter term is used herein since it is felt to be more descriptive.

21 Glass beads. a, circular, translucent, oyster white; b, circular, opaque, white; c, circular, transparent, rose wine; d, circular, transparent, bright blue; e, round, transparent, sunlight yellow; f-g, round, translucent, horizon blue; h, round, transparent, bright blue; i, round, transparent, turquoise; j, oval, opaque, dark palm green; k, round, decorated.
(click on image for a PDF version.)

Drawn Beads

These were made by heating and agitating very short sections of glass tubing in a large metal drum or pan until their broken ends became rounded.

IIa12. Circular; small; translucent, oyster white (b; N 9/10); 15 specimens (Fig. 21 a).

Diameter(mm)Length (mm)



IIa14. Circular; very small and small; opaque, white (a; N 10/0); 8 specimens (Fig. 21 b).

Diameter(mm)Length (mm)



IIa59. Circular; small; transparent, rose wine (8 1e; 10RP 4/6); 3 specimens (Fig. 21 c). The beads appear black unless held up to a light.

Diameter(mm)Length (mm)

Range 2.1-2.91.2-1.6


IIa* Circular; very small and small; transparent, bright blue (16 1c; SB 5/7); 43 specimens (Fig. 21 d). The glass contains numerous tiny bubbles.

Diameter(mm)Length (mm)



Wound Beads

These were produced by winding a thin filament of molten glass repeatedly around a rotating metal mandrel until the desired size and shape were achieved.

WIb*. Round; large; transparent, sunlight yellow (1-1/2 ga; 5Y 8/8); 1 specimen (Fig. 21 e). Several round bubbles are in the glass.

Diameter(mm)Length (mm)


WIb*. Round; medium and large; translucent, horizon blue (iS ic; 10B 6/6); 7 specimens (Fig. 21 f-g). The glass is swirled and contains several bubbles.

Diameter(mm)Length (mm)


WIb*. Round; large; transparent, bright blue (16 1c; SB 5/7); 1 specimen (Fig. 21 h). The glass contains bubbles.

Diameter(mm)Length (mm)


WIb*. Round; medium; transparent, turquoise (17 pa; `0BG 5/7); 1 specimen (Fig. 21 i). Several bubbles are in the glass. Swirl marks are visible on the surface.

Diameter(mm)Length (mm)


WIc*. Oval; small; opaque, dark palm green (23 ni; 10GY 4/4); 1 fragmentary specimen (Fig. 21 j).

Diameter(mm)Length (mm)

3.23.7 (existing)

WIIIb*. Round; large; transparent, coral (6 1c; 7.5R 5/10) body decorated with an opaque, white (a; n 10/0) floral-like wreath which encircles the equator; 1 specimen (Fig. 21 k). Numerous bubbles are in the glass.

Diameter(mm)Length (mm)


Circular beads, those commonly used in embroidery, are represented by 69 specimens. Using Conn's (1972: 7) size groups, 2 of these are of "seed bead" size (1 mm to 2 mm in diameter), 64 are of "intermediate" size (2 mm to 3 mm in diameter), and 3 are of "pony bead" size (3 mm to 5 mm in diameter). Necklace beads (those which are large or very large in size) are rare, being represented by nine specimens only. The small- and medium-sized wound beads could have been used either for necklaces or embroidery.

The majority of the beads are not diagnostic of any specific time period and cannot be used to establish or corroborate dates for the site. The circular embroidery beads are useless for dating purposes because of their extremely long temporal range. The remaining beads are more distinctive, but a chronological sequence has only been worked out for one of the types. The decorated bead (WIIIb*) is assigned to the Late Historic Period (1760-1820 or slightly later) by Quimby (1966: 88). However, while the earliest date is probably relatively accurate, that this type continued to be manufactured and traded until at least the 1860s is suggested by the presence of similar specimens at Fort Berthold II, North Dakota, which was in operation from 1862 to 1886 (Smith 1972: 150).


This item consists of a faceted, rectanguloid glass "stone" with an ornamented, gilded brass band encircling its perimeter (Fig. 22). The object is 22.5 mm long, 19mm wide and 6.8 mm thick. The glass is transparent and very light green (5G 8/6).

22 Brooch composed of an ornamented, glided brass band encircling a light green, faceted glass "stone". a, top view; b, side view.

The face of the "stone" has a large, elongated-octagonal central table facet bordered by 4 diamond-shaped and 16 triangular crown side facets. The four crown corner facets are pentagonal. The back has eight rectangular pavilion side facets, four pentagonal pavilion corner facets and a low pyramidal apex.

The band is decorated with a pressed design consisting of two parallel rows of crenelations along the base, above which is a series of connected diamond-shaped outlines with a dot in the centre of each. A short crenelated spine is located at the juncture of adjacent diamond elements along the upper edge of the band. The spaces between the various design elements are filled with parallel, horizontal ridges. A circular catch open on one side is soldered to one end of the brooch. The pin is missing but a small area of solder at the other end indicates where it was attached.

Silver Ring

A ring consisting of a plain silver band with an oval cross-section is represented by four fragments. The band is 2.1 mm wide and 0.5 mm thick.

Bottle Glass

The remains of three different bottles were encountered. Strangely enough, the remains consisted entirely of body and shoulder fragments. Since no necks or bases were recovered, only a description of the body styles is possible.

An angular, olive green (10Y) bottle with concave chamfered corners is represented by five body fragments with one or two flat faces adjacent to a fluted face, two flat body fragments and four curved shoulder fragments. The fragments suggest that the bottle was either square or rectangular in cross-section, and had concave chamfered corners about 14 mm wide. The body fragments have an "orange peel" surface indicating that the bottle was blown in a mold.

An angular, clear lead glass bottle with slightly rounded corners is represented by eight flat and angular, slightly heat-warped body fragments which indicate that it was either square or rectangular in cross-section.

A cylindrical, clear lead glass bottle is represented by two body fragments whose curvature indicates that the bottle was approximately 80 mm in diameter. The fragments have smooth surfaces.

Three small curved shoulder fragments of clear lead glass may be from either of the two clear glass bottles mentioned above.


The lens, a magnifying or burning glass, is made of very pale yellowish green (7.5GY) lead glass. It has a circular outline and a bi-convex cross-section. The edges have been rounded by grinding. The specimen is 48 mm in diameter, with a maximum thickness of 3.1 mm.


The only ceramics encountered were seven basal fragments from a "Chinese-shaped" pearlware bowl decorated on the outside and the interior centre with a cobalt blue (5PB S/li) under glaze transfer-print which apparently depicts an English rural scene (Fig. 23). The bowl has a 9-mm-high footring that is about 80 mm in diameter. The thickness of the bowl at the base of the side is 4 mm. Numerous use scratches are present on the interior surfaces of the sherds.

23 Transfer-printed pearlware bowl fragments of ca. the 1810-15 period.
(click on image for a PDF version.)

This type of pearlware was manufactured in England (probably Staffordshire) from about 1810 to 1815 (Dorothy Griffiths 1975: pers. com.).


The six blades and one complete knife recovered from the site can be grouped into three major categories: clasp or pocket knives (3), table knives (2) and kitchen (butcher) knives (2).

Clasp Knives

The clasp knife blades are identical and of the "French" or "Spanish" style (Russell 1967:170-1). Two are posterior fragments; one blade is complete (Fig. 24 a). The back of each blade is composed of two straight sections. The posterior sections of the three specimens are 49.6 mm to 52.4 mm long (excluding the flange) and slant upward very slightly toward the centre of the blade. The one intact anterior portion is 70.1 mm long and slants down toward a sharp point. The "V" grind cutting edge is broadly convex and curves up toward the point. A circular, horizontal flange 7.5 mm to 8.6 mm in diameter is situated at the top of the strongly convex butt. An intact hinge rivet is located at the juncture of the butt and cutting edge on two of the specimens. The rivets are 14.4 mm and 18 mm long, with a diameter of 1.7 mm.

24 Knives. a, clasp knife blade; b, table knife with bolster separating blade from tang; c, table knife with ornamental brass handle; d-e, kitchen knives with marked blades.
(click on image for a PDF version.)

The maximum thickness of the three blades is 2.3 to 3.3 mm. The intact blade is 128.1 mm long and has a maximum width of 26.4 mm. No manufacturer's names or marks are present on any of the specimens.

Table Knives

The table knives are of two types. The first is one that has a bolster separating the blade from the tang (Fig. 24 b). Although the blade is missing, a portion of the choil (sometimes referred to as the "heel" of the blade) is present and indicates that the specimen is a knife and not a fork or spoon. The bolster is oval in cross-section, 14.5 mm high and 11.2 mm wide. The anterior faces of the bolster, one on either side of the blade, are at an angle of 125 degrees to the blade. The posterior faces are perpendicular to the tang. The tang is a maximum of 1.7 mm thick and expands slightly in width toward the butt end which has been broken off. Two 2.4-mm-diameter rivet holes are situated 9.5 mm and 41 mm from the bolster. The knife fragment is 59 mm long.

The other table knife has an ornamental brass handle and is practically intact (Fig. 24 c). The back of the blade is straight; the 'V' grind cutting edge curves up very gradually toward a broken point. The blade is a maximum of 23.5 mm wide and 2.5 mm thick. The choil is angular and distinct. The tang is 92 mm long and is the same shape as the handle scales. The latter are made of polished cast brass and are decorated with a floral-like open work (Fig. 24 c). The interior surface of each scale is concave and contains a horn or tortoise shell inlay (the substance is brown in colour, laminated, and gives off an acrid smell — like that of burning hair — when ignited). Three iron rivets secure the scales to the tang; one at either end of the handle and another in the centre. The scales are 97.5 mm long, 3.2 mm thick and a maximum of 22 mm wide. The knife is 203.3 mm long overall.

A complete knife of this type, as well as two scale fragments from another specimen, were uncovered at Nottingham House (Hudson's Bay Company, 1802-6) which is located 21 miles to the west of Old Fort Point site. Identical brass scales were also recovered from Fort George (North West Company, 1792-ca. 1800) in east-central Alberta (R. Kidd 1970: 79); from strata in two structures at the English fort at Coteau-du-Lac, Quebec, which date to the period from 1812 to 1823 (Barbara Wade 1974: pers. com.), and from an Indian group burial in Kent County, Michigan, which was interred at some time between 1820 and 1850 (Herrick 1958:7, 21).

Kitchen Knives

The two kitchen knives are of the same type (Fig. 24 d-e). The "V" grind blades have practically straight backs and their cutting edges curve up gradually toward broken points. The blades have a maximum width of 27.7 mm and 29 mm and a maximum thickness of 2.2 mm and 2.7 mm. The one intact choil is distinct and at a right angle to the tang. The flat half-fangs (those which do not extend the full length of the handle) are relatively parallel-sided and have convex butts. They are 39 mm and 47 mm long and 21 mm and 22.5 mm wide. Three rivets originally secured the handle scales to the fangs. Of the two surviving rivets, the longest is 1.9 mm in diameter and 19.3 mm in length, indicating that the handle was at least this thick. The two knives are 161.6 mm and 184.5 mm long overall.

A "cross-over-L" hallmark (Fig. 2S) is stamped on the reverse (left) side of each blade, 19.5 mm and 26 mm from the juncture of the blade and tang. The marks are oriented parallel to the long axes of the blades and are a total of 12.5 mm and 13.7 mm high. The "formee" crosses (arms narrow at the centre, expanding toward the ends; the sides straight or concave, and the ends flat) are 5.6 mm and 6.4 mm high. The "L" marks are 5.8 mm and 6.4 mm high.

25 Magnified view of the "cross-over-L" hallmark stamped on the blades of two kitchen knives.

The "cross-over-L" mark is reputed to be the Hudson's Bay Company's "own old mark" used on scalping knives shipped to York Factory in the 19th century (Evans 1965: 47). However, Douglas A. Birk of the Minnesota Historical Society has carried out extensive research on knives bearing these marks and found that they appear predominantly at North West Company sites (Birk 1973: pers. com.). Thus the mark cannot be attributed solely to one of the above establishments. Birk (1973: pers. com.) feels that the mark was in use from at least 1780 until the 1830s.


The Old Fort Point site spoon collection contains one intact specimen, a bowl/handle fragment and two incomplete handles. All of these are made of iron.


The complete specimen is a heavy, one-piece tablespoon (Fig. 26 a). It is 222.2 mm long and has an oval bowl that is 77 mm long, 46.5 mm wide and a maximum of 12 mm deep. The handle is rectangular in cross-section and expands in width and decreases in thickness toward the distal end which is rounded and bent down slightly. The handle is 6.3 mm wide and 2.8 mm thick adjacent to the bowl and 21 mm wide and 1.2 mm thick at the distal end.

26 Spoons and cutlery handles, a, intact tablespoon; b, tablespoon bowl/handle fragment; c, tablespoon handle; d-e, bone cutlery handles.
(click on image for a PDF version.)

The bowl/handle fragment (Fig. 26 b) apparently represents another tablespoon. The bowl and handle were made separately from 0.3-mm-thick sheet iron and a 23-mm-long section of the proximal end of the handle was then soldered to the bottom of the bowl. The handle is flat and 12.2 mm wide at its juncture with the bowl. The edges of the handle are folded over onto the back; the edges of the bowl are unaltered.

The almost complete flat handle of a similar, if not identical, spoon (Fig. 26 c) is also made of 0.3-mm-thick sheet iron and has its edges folded over onto the back side. The sides of the handle are straight and converge gradually toward the proximal end. The distal end is also straight. The handle is 104.8 mm long, 11.2 mm wide at the proximal end and 21.3 mm wide at the other.


The fourth specimen is a proximal handle fragment which probably came from a teaspoon. The handle has a rounded and slightly bent end. The edges are unaltered. The piece is 30.4 mm long, 10.6 mm wide and 0.9 mm thick.

Cutlery Handles

Bone cutlery handles are represented by two complete, decorated specimens (Fig. 26 d-e) and one plain fragment. All three have plano-convex cross-sections and their flat bottom surfaces exhibit straight cut marks which are perpendicular to the sides. The ends of the handles are curved.

The two intact specimens taper toward one end and are perforated by two rivet holes, one near either end. An intact, iron rivet which is 12.6 mm long and 1.9 mm in diameter occupies one of the holes. The handles are 83.3 mm and 83.5 mm long, 11.2 mm to 18.7 mm and 11.5 mm to 20 mm wide, and 7.4 mm and 6.6 mm thick respectively.

Both handles have polished exterior surfaces which are decorated with four and ten longitudinal incised lines respectively. An incised "X," probably added by the owner,d). A fine incised line extends across the other handle 7.2 mm from its narrow end (Fig. 26 e).

The undecorated fragment has parallel sides and a highly polished outer surface. A rivet hole is situated 21 mm from the intact end. The specimen is 16.5 mm wide and 5.7 mm thick.

These handles are of the wrong shape and size to fit any of the knife blades recovered from the site and may be fork handles.


A medial fragment of the blade of a small pair of scissors has a triangular cross-section and exhibits a portion of the pivot hole. The fragment is a maximum of 2.4 mm thick and 8 mm wide.

Kettle Hook

The kettle hook is a 153.6-mm-long object shaped like an elongated "S" and consists of a straight iron rod with a short hook at either end (Fig. 27 b). The rod is 6.9 mm in diameter.

27 Assorted personal and household items. a, possible kettle lug; b, kettle hook; c, strike-a-light.
(click on image for a PDF version.)


A perforated iron strap may be the lug (Fig. 27 a) from a kettle or other container. The object is 87 mm long, 26.3 mm wide and 1.2 mm thick. One end is trapezoidal in outline and at an angle of about 65 degrees to the rest of the strap. This end is 17 mm long and has a single, central perforation which is 4 mm in diameter. The opposite end is square and has a 5-mm-diameter hole at either corner. It appears that the square end was riveted to a container while the other accommodated a handle.


The strike-a-light (Fig. 27 c) is shaped like an elongated "C" and is 84 mm long and 28 mm wide. The specimen has a rectangular cross-section and measures 6.4 mm by 4.4 mm at the centre of the shank. The shank tapers gradually toward the flat ends.

This artifact may have been made from a file fragment since the two widest sides of the object exhibit traces of cross-cut teeth. The narrow sides are smooth.

White Clay Pipes

Clay pipe remains were scarce and very fragmentary. The collection contains 4 bowl/stem fragments, 4 bowl fragments and 8 stem fragments.

Bowl/Stem Fragments

Of the bowl/stem fragments, three have a spur below the bowl, while the remaining one does not. The latter specimen (Fig. 28 a) has a bowl decorated with narrow, vertical ribs. The end of the 27-mm-long stem has been tapered for a distance of 16 mm by cutting or grinding, probably to accommodate a wood or reed stem. The bowl is at an obtuse angle to the stem.

28 Smoking and entertainment items. a, white clay pipe fragment with decorated bowl; b, "Micmac style" stone pipe; c, bone cigar holder; d, brass Jew's harp.
(click on image for a PDF version.)

The spurred bowls are of two types. The first, represented by two specimens, has an oval spur 6 mm and 8.2 mm wide, 5 mm and 6.2 mm thick and 5 mm and 6 mm high with the letter "T" on its left side (when viewed with the stem pointing toward the observer) and the letter "D" on its right side. The letters are raised and their bases face the stem. The ends of the stems of both specimens have been tapered for a distance of up to 15 mm by cutting and/or grinding, probably to accommodate a wood or reed stem. The distance from the bowl to the end of the stem is 28 mm and 30 mm. The angle between the bowl and stem could not be determined.

The second spurred type has a bowl whose upper portion (starting 10.6 mm above the stem) is decorated with vertical, smoothed-over ribs. Superimposed on this decoration and facing the smoker is a horizontally oriented, rope-like oval or wreath encircling the letters "T-D" (the hyphen may simply be a flaw in the clay). The oval is 11 mm high and 15 mm wide. The letters are 3.5 mm high. The entire motif is impressed in the clay. The 6.5-mm-wide, 5.5-mm-thick and 6-mm-high oval spur exhibits the letter "W" on its left side and the letter "G" on the other. The letters are raised and their bases face the smoker. The bowl is at an obtuse angle to the stem.

Bowl Fragments

Two of the four bowl fragments are plain and two are marked with impressed "TD" motifs. One of the latter exhibits a portion of a rope-like oval enclosing the letter "T." The ends of curled lines are located above and below the "T" The other bowl has a 14-mm-diameter circle enclosing the letters "TD" which are 4.4 mm high (Fig. 29). A highly stylized floral design is situated above and below the letters. The bowl has an exterior lip diameter of about 22.5 mm.

29 Intact "TD" motif found on a white clay pipe bowl fragment.
(Drawing by D. Ford.)

Stem Fragments

The stem fragments are all straight and unmarked. The longest fragment is 64.5 mm in length. Five of the stems are unaltered, while three have chewed ends. No original mouthpieces were found.

The bore diameters of the twelve stem and bowl/stem fragments are as follows: 4/64 in. (3 specimens; 25 per cent), 5/64 in. (8 specimens; 66.7 per cent) and indeterminate (1 specimen; 8.3 per cent).

The three chewed pipe stems and the three bowl/stem fragments with tapered ends suggest that pipes were used until they were functionless. However, it is also quite possible that the occupants were using broken pipes such as were frequently encountered in poorly packed shipping crates. The lack of original mouthpieces at the site seems to bolster this interpretation. The pipes enumerated above are useless for dating the site. Clay pipes with "TD" motifs have been made since the 1750s by a number of manufacturers, and a chronology for the various motifs has not been determined as yet (Walker 1966:100).

Stone Pipe

One side of a tulip-shaped "Micmac style" pipe bowl (Fig. 28 b) was recovered. The stone is dark reddish brown in colour and appears to be a fine-grained claystone.

The bowl is 30.6 mm high. It has a rounded base with a circular, centrally located hole which is 7 mm in diameter. Remnants of an 11.6-mm-square projection surround the perforation. The base is separated from the body of the bowl by a slight shoulder. The bowl expands to a maximum diameter of 30.4 mm just above the shoulder. The sides then converge toward the mouth where they recurve very slightly. The mouth has an external diameter of 20.3 mm. The lip is flat and 1.5 mm thick. The exterior of the bowl is polished although diagonal grinding marks are visible on the upper portion. The conical interior exhibits vertical gouge marks.

This specimen may be of native manufacture; however, it is also possible that it was made by Euro-Canadians using native techniques (R. Kidd 1970:153).

Cigar Holder

An item identified as a cigar holder (Fig. 28 c) consists of a tapered, cylindrical bone tube 79.4 mm long. The cigar end is 15 mm in diameter and is encircled by a 9.8-mm-wide raised band with a concave surface. The shaft tapers gradually toward the opposite end and then expands slightly into a rounded mouthpiece which is 10.3 mm in diameter. The shaft has a maximum diameter of 12.7 mm adjacent to the band and a minimum diameter of 9.3 mm just in front of the mouthpiece. The surface is smooth but faint grinding/scraping marks are visible.

The bore was drilled from both ends. As a result, the two sections are not perfectly aligned. The bore at the mouthpiece end is cylindrical and S.S mm in diameter. That at the other end is conical, with a maximum diameter of 10.2 mm.

Tobacco Box Lid

The brass lens retaining ring and three fragments of the iron lid of what appears to have been an oval tobacco box with burning glass were recovered from the sub-floor pit in the north room. The lid is flat and has a 6.5-mm-high sleeve that would have fitted over the sides of the bottom portion of the box. The metal is 0.7 mm thick.

The brass ring which held the burning glass in place appears to have been centrally located in the lid. The ring is 46 mm in diameter and projects above the top of the lid for a distance of 3 mm. It has smooth, vertical sides and would have accommodated a low, slip-on cap which protected the burning glass.

The size of the container could not be determined. However, the width of the fragments and the diameter of the ring suggest that the lid was at least 100 mm across at its widest point.

Brass Straight Pins

The four recovered specimens are 32 mm to 32.7 mm long and have globular heads 1.9 mm in diameter. The heads are composed of two to two and one quarter spiral turns of brass wire soldered in place. The shanks protrude very slightly from the tops of the heads and are 0.8 mm to 0.9 mm in diameter.

Jew's Harp

This musical instrument (Fig. 28 d) is equivalent to Series B, Type 1, Variety a in Stone's (1970: 98) typology. The frame is made of cast brass and has a diamond-shaped cross-section throughout. The head is circular and the shanks are tapered. Distinct file marks are present on all surfaces. The harp has a head width of 24 mm, a length of 55.2 mm and a maximum thickness of 7 mm.

Brush Fragment

A 23.5-mm-long, 4.3-mm-wide and 5.5-mm-thick bone fragment that has two parallel rows of drilled conical holes is identified as a portion of a brush. Four holes are located in one row and five in the other. The holes are 4 mm in diameter, 4.4 mm deep and about 1.0 mm apart. A straight, centrally located square keel 3.1 mm wide and 1.8 mm high extends along the base of the fragment. This may have been glued into a slot in a wooden handle.


Five tiny pieces of bright red cinnabar (HgS) represent this pigment.

Subsistence and Defence


A straightened, eyeless fishhook (Fig. 30 a) has a shank diameter of 2.7 mm and a total length of 142 mm. One end has a flat, 6.5-mm-long barb; the other end is flattened perpendicular to the plane of the barb. The barbed end has been straightened while the shank end has been bent into a gradual curve, possibly to act as a palm rest so that the fishhook could be employed as a crude awl.

30 Subsistence and defence. a, eyeless fishhookk; b-f, English gunflints; g, intentionally flattened musket ball.
(click on image for a PDF version.)

Gun flints

Five translucent, dark-brown gunflints were recovered. All have been struck from blades as indicated by the presence of a demicone of percussion on one or both sides of each flint, and all are of English origin (Witthoft 1966: 36). The flints are square to rectangular in outline and have trapezoidal longitudinal cross-sections. Four of the flints are single-edged (one gradually sloped bevel or striking edge; Fig. 30 b-e) and one is double-edged (two beveled striking edges opposite each other; Fig. 30 f).

The flints are 20.5 mm to 24.3 mm wide, 19.6 mm to 26 mm long and 6.2 mm to 8.8 mm thick. Based on English specifications of 1819 (Woodward 1960: 34), one of the flints (Fig. 30 b) is of "pistol" size (slightly more than 1.0 in. long by 3/4 in. wide, or ca. 26 mm by 19 mm) while the remaining specimens are between "pistol" and "carbine" size (1-1/4 in. long by 1.0 in. wide, or 31.8 mm by 25.4 mm). However, in that all four edges of all the flints are slightly to severely battered and chipped, it seems likely that they were primarily used with strike-a-lights rather than flintlock weapons.

The gunflints do little to date the site. English flints first appeared about 1775-80 (Hamilton 1971: 62; Witthoft 1966: 36) and are still being made (personal observation). However, they were in use predominantly during the first half of the 19th century (Hamilton 1971: 62).

Lead Shot

Fifteen specimens of lead shot fall into the size categories shown in Table 1.

Table 1. Lead Shot Sizes and Quantities

Diameter (mm)
Diameter (in.)
rangemeanrangemean shot sizeshot size





The specimens are of sizes such as are currently used to hunt large game birds and medium-sized mammals, for example, ducks, geese, swans and foxes.

Musket Balls

Unused musket balls occurred in the sizes and quantities shown in Table 2. The gauges provided correspond to those used by the London proofing companies in 1883 (Hamilton 1960:218).

Table 2. Musket Ball Sizes and Quantities

Diameter (mm)Calibre GaugeQuantity




An intentionally flattened musket ball (Fig. 30 a) has an oval outline and is 20.1 mm long, 17.8 mm wide and 6.3 mm thick. Similar specimens were uncovered at two North West Company posts in operation from 1791 to 1800 — Fort George, Alberta, and Fort Rivière Tremblante, Saskatchewan (R. Kidd 1970: 75; W. Dean Clark 1971: pers. com.). R. Kidd (1970: 75) suggests that the flattened balls may have served as gaming pieces.

Tools and Hardware


Three bi-pointed, offset iron awls of varying size were found. The smallest of these (Fig. 31 a) is hafted in a tapered antler handle that is 53 mm long and has a maximum diameter of 15 mm. The portion that protrudes from the handle has a round cross-section and tapers to a very sharp point. It is 30 mm long from the tip to the offset. The portion in the handle has a rectangular cross-section and is 49 mm long. The awl is 80.3 mm long, minus the handle, and 4.5 mm wide and 2.9 mm thick at the offset. The overall length of the tool is 87.4 mm.

31 Tools and hardware. a-c, awls; d, canoe knife; e, brass "dotting wheel"; f, strap hinge fragment; g, iron eye; h, ten-inch file with "MV&co." stamped at base of blade.
(click on image for a PDF version.)

The second specimen (Fig. 31 b) is 121.5 mm long. The offset is not in the centre of the tool with the result that the ends are 42 mm and 73.5 mm long respectively. Both ends are square-sectioned and taper to sharp tips. The awl is 8.3 mm wide and 4.6 mm thick at the offset.

The largest awl (Fig. 31 c) is 213.1 mm long, and has a centrally located offset that is 19.3 mm wide and 9 mm thick. Both ends are square-sectioned and 100 mm long. The tip of one end is sharp; that of the other is slightly rounded.

The two smallest awls were probably used for sewing items like hides and canvas, while the largest one was probably used in the manufacture and repair of birchbark canoes or similar, heavy-duty work.

Canoe Knife

A canoe knife or iron woodworking tool (Fig. 31 d), also called a crooked knife or "mocotaugan" (Russell 1967: 216), has a 76.7-mm-long blade that curves gradually to the left when viewed with the blade downward and the tang toward the viewer. The blade has a maximum width of 12.8 mm and a maximum thickness of 2.8 mm. It has a relatively straight back and a "V" grind cutting edge which curves up gradually to the broken point. The choil is concave. The 30.9-mm-long tang tapers toward the butt end which is bent sharply to the right and served to anchor the blade in its handle. The knife has an overall length of 107.6 mm.


The file which was found (Fig. 31 h) is a complete, flat, ten-inch, double-cut file which has a rectangular cross-section. It was apparently hand-forged and not stamped from sheet metal. The file is 22 mm wide and 4.7 mm thick at the square heel (the point where the tang begins). It expands slightly in width and thickness toward the centre of the blade which has a maximum width of 23.3 mm and a maximum thickness of 6 mm. The file then tapers sharply in both thickness and width toward the slightly rounded tip. The blade is double cut on both sides and edges, with 33 cuts per linear inch. The triangular tang is 57 mm long and 13 mm wide at its junction with the blade. The overall length of the file is 312.7 mm (12-5/16 in.).

The mark "MV&co." is impressed parallel to the long axis of the file at the junction of the blade and tang. Another file with this mark was recovered from Edmonton House III, a Hudson's Bay Company fur trade post which operated on the North Saskatchewan River in central Alberta from 1810 to 1813 (Nicks 1969: 133).

Files of this size and type are used for fast metal removal and where a rough finish is permissible (Nicholson File Company 1956:10).

Brass Instrument Fragment

The 54.4-mm-long arm of a hinged, cast brass instrument (Fig. 31 e) identified as a "dotting pen" was recovered from the extreme northeast corner of the building. The distal portion of the arm is composed of two 41-mm-long parallel blades which have an elongated diamond shape in plan view and a trapezoidal cross-section due to beveled exterior edges. The blades are 2.6 mm wide at the distal end, 6.8 mm wide at the centre, and 3.1 mm wide at the proximal end. They are 1.3 mm thick.

A rotating brass roulette which is 4.8 mm in diameter and 0.8 mm thick is held in p!ace between the distal tips of the blades by a brass pin. At the opposite end, the blades are attached to the hinge element which is 12.7 mm long, 6.8 mm wide and 6.4 mm thick. Of its four sides, three are concave and one is flat. A longitudinally concave socket parallel to the roulette is located at the top of the hinge element. A remnant of a 100-mm-thick iron pivot plate is situated in a slot which cuts across the socket. Apparently another arm with a split drum end fitted over the pivot plate and was held in the socket by a pin passing through the centre of the drum and a hole in the pivot plate. Except for the iron pivot plate and the roulette and pin, the arm is of unit construction.

Dotting pens, also called wheel pens and dotting wheels, were mathematical instruments used to produce dotted lines (Uta C. Merzbach, Smithsonian Institution 1975: pers. com.). Ink was placed in the "reservoir" between the blades of the pen (as is done with modern ruling pens) and the rotating roulette deposited the ink as a series of dots when the instrument was run across paper.

The recovered dotting pen cannot be dated because of a lack of information concerning these instruments. However, it can be mentioned that a practically identical specimen is illustrated in Plate 46 of A List of Prices Agreeable to Quality and Size, of Mathematical Instruments, Brass Compasses, Brass Dog Collars, Etc., Birmingham, England, 1797 (microfilm copy obtained from the Essex Institute, Salem, Mass.).


The site produced 3S hand-wrought iron nails. Of these, 20 have rose heads and seven have flat heads. The remainder is made up of unclassifiable fragments.

Rose-Head Nails

The rose-head nails (Fig. 32 a-e) have square to irregular peaked heads with three to usually four flat facets. The shanks are square (19 specimens) to rectangular (1 specimen) and taper to a sharp point on all but one of the ten complete specimens. The exception has had its point blunted by hammer blows. The complete specimens have the following lengths:

Length (in.)Quantity








32 Nails. a-e, rose-head nails; f-h, flat-head nails.
(click on image for a PDF version.)

Flat-Head Nails

The flat-head nails (Fig. 32 g) have plain heads that are square to hexagonal in outline. The shanks are square (6 specimens) to rectangular (1 specimen) and taper to a sharp point on all but one of the six complete specimens. The exception has had its tip blunted through use. The lengths of the complete nails are as follows:

Length (in.)Quantity






Unclassifiable Fragments

The eight unclassifiable fragments consist of headless specimens or those with heads that are too corroded to be classified. All fragments have square to rectangular shanks and, where extant, sharp points.


This object was made by forming a circular loop at one end of a short, rectangular iron bar (Fig. 31 g-h). The loop has a maximum inside diameter of 11.6 mm. The shank is slightly curved and tapers gradually toward the broken distal end. The shank is 21.2 mm long, and a maximum of 6.7 mm wide and 3.3 mm thick. The overall length of the eye is 37.4 mm. This item may have been used in conjunction with a door hook.

Strap Hinge

The distal portion of a wrought iron strap hinge (Fig. 31 f) was recovered. The shank is rectangular in cross-section and tapers slightly toward the distal end. It is 3.3 mm thick, and 10.6 mm (minimum) to 13 mm (maximum) wide. The distal end has a roughly diamond-shaped outline and was thinned during shaping to a thickness of 2 mm. It is 18.4 mm wide and 22 mm long. A fastening hole 4.8 mm in diameter perforates the distal end. An other hole of the same diameter is situated in the centre of the shank 43 mm from the first hole. The fragment is 65.4 mm long. Its small size suggests that it was probably used on a chest or something similar, rather than on a door.


Harness Buckle

The buckle (Fig. 33 a) is made of iron and has a rectangular out line. It is 39.8 mm long, 25.4 mm wide and 4 mm thick. The tongue has a plano-convex cross-section and a blunt tip; it is 4 mm wide and 2.2 mm thick. The base of the tongue is flattened and wrapped around one long side of the frame. The opposite side of the frame is round-sectioned and a thin, loose, iron sleeve is wrapped around it. The other sides of the frame are square-sectioned. The buckle may be from a sled-dog harness (Doug Bryce 1974: pers. com.).

33 Transportation. a, harness buckle; b, ice creeper.

Ice Creeper

One artifact, an ice creeper, consists of a slightly curved, rectangular iron strap with a small, down-pointing, triangular prong at each corner (Fig. 33 b). The object is 88.4 mm long, 32 mm wide and 2 mm thick. The upright loops at the centre of each end, through which passed the rope or leather thong which held the creeper on the user's boot sole, are missing.



A 153 mm by 196 mm piece of folded cloth (Fig. 34) and numerous smaller fragments were recovered from the northeast corner of the central room. The fabric is "plain plaited" (a coarse over and under weave) and apparently composed of jute, a strong vegetal fibre used for manufacturing coarse sacks and burlap. The material is 0.6 mm thick and has 30 to 40 threads per linear inch. Colour ranges from brick red (7.5R 5/12) to dark blue-green (5BG 3/6). The red pigment is identified as iron oxide and may be a natural soil stain. The blue-green pigment is identified as cobaltous stannate which has been known since the early 19th century and marketed under the name "Cerulean Blue" since 1860 (Maurice Salmon 1974: pers. com.).

34 Cloth fragments. (click on image for a PDF version.)

Pane Glass

Twenty-nine fragments of light yellowish green (2.5G) to very light bluish green (5BG) pane glass are from 1.0 mm to 1.5 mm thick, with an average of 1.1 mm. Nine fragments are burned and slightly distorted. Another nine have one straight cut edge. One large piece has two parallel cut edges which are 63 mm (2.5 in.) apart.

Burned Glass

This category contains 14 amorphous pieces of olive green (10Y), very light yellowish green (2.5G), and clear glass.

Wooden Wedge

A wooden wedge (Fig. 35) was recovered from the pit located to the northwest of the building. One side was roughly perpendicular to the base while the other is at a sharp angle to it. The wedge is 113 mm long, 50 mm wide and 3S mm thick. It is very similar to the wedge used in the construction of the eastern segment of the central room's north wall and may have served the same purpose elsewhere in the structure.

35 Wooden wedge.

Worked Bone

An unidentified, highly polished, cylindrical bone object (Fig. 36 a) is 139.7 mm long and 8 mm to 9 mm in diameter. One end is spatulate for a distance of 35.5 mm. The opposite end has been ground on four sides to form a blunt pyramidal tip. This end is slightly battered and missing a large, longitudinal flake. The surface of the break is highly polished, possibly from use.

36 Miscellaneous. a, cylindrical bone object, b, unidentified object made of lead tubing; c, unidentified iron object; d, bi-point iron rod.
(click on image for PDF version.

Another piece of worked bone consists of a split mammal rib fragment. The outer surface of the bone has been scraped to flatten it and most of the cancellous tissue has been removed from the interior surface. One end has been broken through a groove cut into the bone. The opposite end is straight, smooth and beveled slightly from both sides. The longitudinal edges of the fragment are broken and uneven. The specimen is 46 mm long, and a maximum of 18 mm wide and 2 mm thick.

Lead Tubing

An unidentified object (Fig. 36 b) made from a section of lead tubing, is 41 mm long and 11 mm in diameter. One end of the tube is open. The edges of the opposite end have been folded in, almost sealing the opening. An irregular hole 6 mm by 8.5 mm perforates one side of the tube 5.5 mm from the open end.

Another piece of round tubing is 4 mm long and 12.3 mm in diameter. The perforation is slightly off-centre and 7.7 mm in diameter.

Lead Scrap

Two small pieces of amorphous, melted lead may have been formed during the manufacture of musket balls or other items at the site.

Sheet Copper

The site produced three small pieces of 0.3-mm-thick sheet copper.

Iron Wire

Three specimens of iron wire were recovered. One piece that is 1.3 mm in diameter and 280 mm long has been folded into a little bundle. Another piece is U-shaped and 4.7 mm in diameter, with a total length of 219 mm. The third piece is a straight section of 2.7-mm-diameter wire with a circular loop (7 mm interior diameter) at one end and an oval loop (20 mm by 6.5 mm interior diameter) at the other. Both loops are in the same plane. The wire has a total length of 193 mm.

Bi-point Iron Rod

A complete but unidentified object (Fig. 36 d) consists of a round, slightly bent rod 212.7 mm in length and 7 mm in diameter with a blunt point at one end and a slightly wedge-shaped point at the other.

Iron Rod Fragments

Of three round rod fragments, one is 40.5 mm long and 7.3 mm in diameter. The other two are tapered. They are 92.4 mm and 69.5 mm long, and 4.2 mm to 7.4 mm and 3.5 mm to 5.5 mm in diameter respectively. The ends of the fragments are broken or, in one instance, cut.

Iron Bar Fragments

Two tapered, rectangular bar fragments are in the Old Fort Point site collection. The smallest of these is 52 mm long, 14 mm wide and a maximum of 9 mm thick. Both its ends are broken. The other fragment is 137 mm long and has a perpendicular, wedge-shaped protrusion at the narrow end (Fig. 36 c); the opposite end is broken. The protrusion is 13 mm high and 9.5 mm wide. Its edge is blunt and parallel to the long axis of the bar. The bar measures 9.3 mm by 14 mm at the broken end, and 7.5 mm by 9 mm adjacent to the protrusion.

Iron Band Fragments

Two iron band fragments were recovered. The first of these is 117 mm long, 35.7 mm wide and 1.4 mm thick. One end is cut square and has two 4.7-mm-square nail holes through it. A third nail hole (6-mm-square) is located near the other broken end. The second example is unperforated and broken at both ends. It is 123 mm long, 3S mm wide and 1.6mm thick.

Sheet Iron Strip

A 268-mm-long and 27-mm-wide strip of thin (0.35-mm-thick) sheet iron is represented by two mending fragments. The two longest edges of the object are folded over onto opposite sides of the strip for a distance of 5.3 mm. The distal ends are square and unaltered.

Amorphous Iron

Two amorphous iron fragments complete the miscellaneous object inventory.

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