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Canadian Historic Sites: Occasional Papers in Archaeology and History No. 6

The Excavation and Historical Identification of Rocky Mountain House

by William C. Noble


In 1963, one of the Rocky Mountain House sites on the North Saskatchewan River, Alberta, was excavated. A total of 7 buildings and 19 pits was found within the enclosure. Evidence was found for an enlargement of the original enclosure which showed that the south palisade had been moved outward 16 ft. Several of the architectural features and artifacts (notably North West Company bail fasteners, nails and step-down pits) date the original fort to the early 1800s. The later version can be credited with five buildings and a heavy blockhouse bastion whose foundations were laid in Hudson's Bay Company style. Early stamped nails (1820-30) and eight Hudson's Bay Company buttons constitute further evidence of that company's occupation of the extended fort. Historical documentation is generally consistent with the archaeological evidence, indicating intermittent occupation between 1799 and 1834.

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