Posted by: signalhillarchaeology | July 14, 2010

Another Artifact Post!

This is the first post from one of the students enrolled in Memorial University’s Archaeology Field School… and there should be more posts as the season continues (and yes, other students, that was a not-so-veiled hint).  In this post, Ashley tells us about one of the exciting artifacts that she found while digging at the site.

Hey, I’m Ashley. I’m studying Archaeology at Memorial University. This summer I’m doing the archeological dig at Signal Hill, and so far it’s been an amazing experience! The dig at the North Range Barracks has already gone beyond my expectations. The artifacts that I have found so far include refined earthenware transfer print ceramics and coarse earthenware ceramics. I have found tobacco pipe stems, glass, and a lot of iron nails.

My most amazing find was a shako plate. The shako is the name for the hat that the soldiers wore, and the plate is a badge that was located at the
front of the hat. [Amanda notes: examples of shako hats can be found in museum collections, though on our archaeological site we usually only find the metal fragments associated with them, as any other fragments of the hat would not survive burial in the ground].

I found three small pieces and a large piece of the shako plate. The large piece had a ‘R’ with 99 underneath it. This indicates that the shako was intended for a soldier in the 99th Regiment of Foot. This piece was an incredible find!

The shako plate, as it appeared when we uncovered it during our excavations.

[Amanda notes:  Here you can see a very similar shako plate, but for a different regimentAs you can see, ours is poorly preserved by comparison, but it’s still an exciting find for us. Interestingly enough, the 99th Regiment was not known to be posted in Newfoundland.
Perhaps this was a spare shako intended for that regiment, but never distributed, or perhaps it was traded, or perhaps a soldier from that regiment briefly stayed here while en route to another place… we may never know, but speculating is half the fun

Not only is this site amazing, the site has a great view for whale watching… So I encourage everyone to
come up to the site!

–Ashley, Memorial University Archaeology Undergraduate Student.


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