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Canadian Historic Sites: Occasional Papers in Archaeology and History No. 12

Lime Preparation at 18th-Century Louisbourg

by Charles S. Lindsay

Limestone used at Louisbourg

The first limestone used at Louisbourg was obtained from Port Dauphin (St. Anne's Bay), 55 miles away. This was a thin-bedded carboniferous limestone of the Windsor group and was the same as the limestone discovered at Mira (12 miles away) in 1726 which gradually replaced that from Port Dauphin.1 Apparently the limestone was suitable for construction work at Louisbourg since no complaints were made about it during the early years. The hydraulic qualities of thin-bedded carboniferous limestone were particularly useful at Louisbourg, where much of the construction was in waterlogged areas.

In 1733 quarries were opened at Spanish Bay.2 In 1809, Thomas Patience described the limestone from these quarries as dull blue in colour, burning to a pale colour similar to Dorking lime, a high quality English hydraulic lime.3 Yet Franquet complained that the large amount of grit in the lime prevented it from bonding properly with sand.4

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