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Northeast Historical Archaeology

Article Title

Provincial Marine to Royal Navy: Archaeological Evidence of the War of 1812 at Kingston’s Naval Dockyard

Authors

Susan M. Bazely

Abstract

The naval dockyard at Kingston, established in the 1790s, was arguably the most important physical representation of the War of 1812 in Upper Canada. Its evolution of structures and facilities, the people who worked and lived in and around it, and the material remains they left behind are symbolic of the war effort within the community of Kingston. Prior to, during, and immediately after the war, the peninsula of Point Frederick, on which the dockyard was situated, became a thriving “village” populated by hundreds of people. Although historical research on the dockyard has been conducted throughout much of the 20th century and to the present, archaeological investigations were first carried out on the point in 1995. Evidence of structures, including the hospital, blockhouse, shanties, and guardhouse, and associated stratigraphy and artifacts, has provided invaluable data for filling the gaps in the historical record. Through archival documentation and archaeological remains, the history and archaeology of the Kingston Naval Dockyard is traced from its beginnings with the Provincial Marine in 1790 to the Royal Navy during and immediately after the War of 1812, debunking a few myths of building function and construction dates along the way.

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