Posted by: signalhillarchaeology | July 13, 2009

Every idea counts!

Before babbling about how fantastic and thrilling our work at Signal Hill is, I will first introduce myself. My name is Stéphane Noël, and I am a Masters student in the Archaeology Department at Memorial University, where I am studying the foodways of early modern transatlantic French cod fishermen coming to Newfoundland. I have been hired by Parks Canada to supervise a team of joyful archaeology students from Memorial University who are taking a Field School under the supervision of Amanda Crompton. The students and I are concentrating our efforts on the North Range barracks (built in 1799-1800), downhill from Ladies’ Lookout.

Stephane Noel at the North Range Barracks site, instructing a student in the finer points of mapping rocks.

Stéphane Noël (standing) at the North Range Barracks site, instructing a student in the finer points of mapping rocks.

Enough introductions…During the past week, the Ladies’ Lookout site has been marked by some twists and unexpected “discoveries”. As outlined by Amanda in a previous post, the walls we found are basically not doing what we expected them to do. From the 1984 dig, it seemed clear that we were at the south-east corner of the barracks and that we should be getting a section of the south wall and a part of a hearth. But now, there are discrepancies between the map and the archaeological record. While it leaves us perplexed and full of questions, it is part of the joy of doing archaeology. I just love the intellectual challenge that such situations provide…after all, fieldwork is not only about brute force! And above all, I really like when my crew suddenly starts brainstorming about what the heck is happening on the site…every idea counts! Keep ‘em coming!

On Friday, Andrew had the chance to start excavating the midden. With every trowel stroke appears a new artifact! This deposit should yield a lot of material that will help us interpret the daily life of British soldiers from the first half of the 19th century on Signal Hill.

The next few weeks will certainly provide more and more puzzles to solve. Fun times ahead!

–Stéphane Noël (Staff)



  1. Enough with the ‘intellectual challenge.’ Just find my @#*&$ building! And let us know what’s coming out of the midden. Wish I could be back there helping out.

    • Rob– I’m working on a bigger post about some of our artifacts, so stay tuned. And I curse on your %T^&*$# building for not doing what it’s supposed to! I blame you personally 😛 We wish you could be here too, nobody can freely distribute insults like you can… There’s a trowel here waiting for you if you decide to jump ship, heh.

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