In commemoration of the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812, a score of Wilfrid Laurier University students will be digging into history at Fort Erie.
For six weeks in 1814 Fort Erie was the site of one of the bloodiest battles of the war—a siege claiming more than 1,500 casualties—soldiers, First Nations allies and militia. The university team expects to recover thousands of artifacts.
The fort was located on a key supply route for British North America, taken by American forces, besieged and partially destroyed in 1814.
The team will divide the site into a grid, then scape away soil, recording artifacts as they’re recovered. A more accurate picture of life during the war, and during the siege, will be painted by examining recovered artifacts, which could include pottery, personal items like pipes or buttons, gaming pieces for dominos or dice and fragments of artillery shells.
Visitors to the fort will be able to watch the excavation in progress. Or if they visit in August, they can witness the 26th re-enactment of the siege. Crowds of 700 or more gather to watch the modern recreation of battle scenes, musket and cannon fire, and demonstration of the explosion that destroyed a good portion of the fort.