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Northeast Historical Archaeology

Abstract

Fifty human skeletons were discovered during a Canadian Parks Service project to repair the mid-18th-century fortification wall of Québec City. Laboratory analysis revealed 45 males, three or four females, and one child, a sex and age ratio virtually identical to that gleaned from diaries reporting the 1746-1747 deaths of Protestant Prisoners of war. Skulls and teeth showed a prevalence of Caucasoid traits. Long bones indicated statures taller than those documented for European-born contemporaries and more closely resembling those known for North American colonials. Dental health was poor throughout the series. Most men had lesions suggesting heavy loading stresses on the spine. Just over 20% of the men exhibited traumatic bone fractures; other skeletal changes suggested additional forms of trauma. There were signs of chronic sinus infection, possible scurvy, and illness or nutritional deficiencies during childhood. At least 12 men were pipe-smokers, indicated by peculiar toothwear patterns. Other findings included suspected ossified bronchial elements in three men, a growth-stunted shin bone in an adolescent, and a possible tumor (osteochondroma).

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