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Archaeology Magazine

A publication of the Archaeological Institute of America

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19th-Century Military Complex Unearthed in Canada

Monday, May 20, 2019

Ottawa military complexOTTAWA, CANADA—According to a CBC News report, archaeologists are excavating a nineteenth-century military complex on Parliament Hill, which is now home to the Parliament of Canada. Archaeologist Stephen Jarrett said soldiers in the Royal Sappers and Miners Regiment who lived at the site worked to build the Rideau Canal, which connects the capital city to Lake Ontario and the Saint Lawrence River. So far, his team has uncovered a guardhouse, a jail, and at least one of three barracks used to house soldiers and their wives from 1826 to the late 1850s. Artifacts recovered from the site include chin straps, tags, coins, and gorgets, which officers wore to hold their neckties in place. After Ottawa was named the capital of the United Province of Canada by Queen Victoria in the late 1850s, the military complex was torn down and construction of the first parliament buildings began. For more on the history of Canada, go to “Off the Grid: Pointe-à-Callière, Montréal.”

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