Ottawa Chapter - INSIGHTS INTO VICTORIAN GARRISON LIFE: THE ARCHAEOLOGY OF THE FORT WELLINGTON LATRINE

  • February 21, 2019
  • 7:30 PM
  • Routhier Community Centre, 172 Guigues near Cumberland
Speaker: Joseph Last
Topic: INSIGHTS INTO VICTORIAN GARRISON LIFE:
THE ARCHAEOLOGY OF THE FORT WELLINGTON LATRINE

Excavating the Fort Wellington latrine at Prescott, Ontario, provided intimate insights into garrison life of the Royal Canadian Rifle Regiment stationed there between 1843 and 1854.  Contained within the small structure was the very essence of barrack life. From hair clippings to soldier's boots, the cesspit possessed far more than accumulation from Nature’s call.  As a result, a fascinating story is revealed.  It is a tale of rank and privilege, women and children, regimentation and communal life.

This presentation summarizes the four-year latrine investigation.  It discusses the interactive nature of fieldwork and our evolving understanding of 19th century military life.  It also explores meaning and context and why latrine excavations are a powerful avenue for archaeological inquiry.

Joseph H. Last holds a Masters of Art Conservation degree from Queen’s University and a M.A. in Anthropology (specializing in Historical Archaeology) from the College of William and Mary.  His total professional career has been with Parks Canada, working as an artefact conservator and then as the Project Archaeologist for Military Sites, Ontario Region.  From 1998 until his retirement in 2011, he served as Senior Archaeologist for Military Sites for Parks Canada Ontario Region.  His primary research focus has been on 19th century British fortifications in Canada and elsewhere.  Major interests include archaeological method and theory, military engineering, architecture, relationships of fort and community (both past and present), cultural resource management, and site interpretation.



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