Introduction

Walking Tour

History of the Colony of Avalon

Archaeology

The Artifacts

Visiting the Colony of Avalon






Glossary

airplane dope
A lacquer-based adhesive which is sometimes used to repair artifacts.
alchemist
The forerunner of today's chemist. During the middle ages and the early modern period, alchemists were concerned with transmuting base metals into gold. An assayer of potential ore.
anvil
A flat-topped block, usually of iron, on which metals are worked in forging.
anvil stump
The wooden block, usually a tree stump, upon which a blacksmith's anvil was mounted.
aqueous cleaning
Cleaning artifacts using water.
archaeology
The interpretation of past human behaviour by interpreting material objects.

bastion
A projection, often at the corner of a defensive work; on which cannons were usually mounted.
battens
Small strips of wood. At Ferryland, battens were horizontal members of the roof frame immediately beneath the thatch.
bellows
The device that supplies air, hence oxygen, to a forge to increase combustion and temperature.
block–lifting
A technique used by conservators to carefully lift fragile artifacts from a burial matrix. Essentially, a block of soil surrounding the artifact is encased in a variety of materials, such as plaster or wax, to facilitate the object's safe removal.
bodkins
Flat needles, sometimes used for sewing ribbon or for decorative purposes.
byre
A stable.

cask
A general term for a container made of wooden staves bound by iron or wood hoops. The specific names for casks denote different capacities, for example a "barrel" holds approximately 200 litres.
cesspit
A pit, often stone lined, into which waste drained or was deposited. Because of their water-saturated nature, cesspits often preserve organic materials.
cellulose
The structural portion of wood; comprises the cell walls of woody plants.
Civil War
English Civil War (1642-46) between the Royalist supporters of King Charles I and the Parliamentarians. The war was followed by the "Interregnum", a transitional period of parliamentary rule and military dictatorship which lasted until 1660.
consolidant
A substance used to bind together parts of objects in a state of near deterioration.
cook room
During the migratory fishery of the 16th and 17th centuries, a small structure on shore where meals were cooked; often little more than a framework of poles covered with sailcloth.
cooper
A craftsman who manufactures wooden casks.
cooperage
Noun (1) The work performed by a cooper. (2) The shop where the work of a cooper is done.
cross mends
The term applied to fragments of objects from two areas that actually fit together; usually glass or ceramics.
crucibles
Small heat-resistant containers used in testing rocks for precious metals.
crystalline
Adjective: 1. Like, or as clear as crystal. 2. Having the structure and form of crystal.
culvert
Cylinder of steel used to carry small streams beneath roads; at Ferryland sections of culvert were used to line a well as it was being excavated to prevent the sides from collapsing.
cupels
Heat-resistant ceramics used in assaying.
curtilagia
An area attached to a dwelling house and forming one enclosure with it. Also called curtilage.

damsons
Small plums, now common on the Southern Shore, and brought there by the first settlers.
dowels
Cylindrical sections of wood; usually cut longitudinally.
downs
An area of open, rolling land; in Ferryland, it refers to a large clear peninsula of land east of the original Colony of Avalon.

electron microprobe
A device used to detect the presence of minute traces of elements in a substance; used, for example, to identify clay sources in ceramics.
English Shore
Beginning in the late 1500s, English involvement in the Newfoundland migratory fishery increased dramatically. By the mid–17th century they dominated a section of the south–east coast of Newfoundland — from Bonavista to Trepassey — which became known as the "English Shore."
entomologist
A scientist who studies insects.

farrier
A tradesman who specialized in shoeing horses.
feldspars
Feldspars are considered the most important group of rock-forming minerals, comprising silicates (silica and oxygen) of aluminium linked together with those of calcium, potassium or sodium. They are common in igneous rocks like granite and in a wide variety of metamorphic rocks. Some feldspars are utilized as household abrasives, while others are important in the glass-making and ceramic industries.
flake
A platform built near the shore on poles and spread with boughs for drying cod-fish; also called fish-flake.
flax
A blue flowered plant cultivated for its textile fibres and seeds.
forge
Verb: To heat metal to a high temperatures in a fire and hammer into shape. Noun: (1) A blacksmith's shop, also known as a smithy. (2) An open fireplace where metal is heated to a high temperature before being hammered into shape.
fritter
(1) A small cake of fried batter sometimes containing fruit or other food. (2)Bits of blubber remaining after rendering, or trying; used as fuel for the rendering process on whale ships.

gable end
The end of a peaked-roof structure.
gilt
A thin layer of gold or a gold-coloured substance which is applied over the surface of an object for the purpose of decoration.
goldfiner
Also known as an assayer. A person who tests rocks in order to determine the quantity of gold, silver, or other metals which they contain.

hearth
The floor of a fireplace.
hemp
Cannabis sativa, a tall, annual, herbaceous plant native to Asia. Also known as Indian hemp. The tough fibres extracted from the stem of the plant have been used to make heavy rope and strong cloth for hundreds of years.
husbandry
The care of domestic animals.

inorganic
A substance not produced by some life form (e.g., metals, glass, or ceramics).

kiln
An oven used for the firing of pottery.
Knight of the Garter
A male elected as a member of the Most Noble Order of the Garter, an English order of knighthood founded in 1348 by King Edward III. It is considered to be the highest of all British civil and military honours. Existing knights elect new knights into the order. The bestowal of this honour brings adoption into knighthood, as well as the right to use the title "Sir." In addition, members are also permitted to add the abbreviation "K.G." (Knight of the Garter) after their names. Although its original purpose remains obscure, the order's medieval membership consisted of the British sovereign, the Prince of Wales, and a dozen companions each. The order contained five officers: prelate (always the bishop of Winchester), chancellor, registrar (always the Dean of Winchester since the reign of Charles I), Garter King of Arms, and Gentleman Usher of the Black Rod. Although there have been changes to the order over the past few centuries, the Order of the Garter still exists today.

livyer
Also liver, livere, liveyer, liveyere, livier. Meaning 'inhabitant' or ‘resident'. A permanent settler of coastal Newfoundland (as opposed to a migratory fisherman from England).

mattock
A sturdy hoe or adze-like tool used to loosen dirt; a grubber or grub-hoe.
matrix
In archaeology, the material (soil) in which objects are preserved.
midden
A garbage dump situated near a dwelling.

organic
A substance originating from some life form (e.g., wood, leather, or ivory).

palisade
Also known as a palizado (see below). Defensive work surrounding a settlement. At the Colony of Avalon the palisade was made of posts, rails and trees which were seven feet tall and sharpened at the top.
palizado
Also known as a palisade (see above). Defensive work surrounding a settlement. At the Colony of Avalon the palisade was made of posts, rails and trees which were seven feet tall and sharpened at the top.
porray
A type of stew.
pottage
A type of stew.
privy
A small outdoor toilet; an outhouse.
proprietorship
The ownership of territory granted by the crown to an individual or group in whom all governing rights were vested.
purlins
Substantial horizontal members in a roof frame. At Ferryland they were the lowermost members surmounted by rafters (vertical) and battens.

quintal
A unit used in Newfoundland for weighing fish, especially cod, equal to 112 pounds (about 50.8 kg).

rampart
A defensive earthwork. At Avalon a portion of the rampart measured approximately 6.1 metres (20 feet) wide and about 1.2 metres (four feet) high. It was constructed from earth dug from a defensive ditch just outside the rampart.
rafters
Vertical members of a roof frame.
Royalist
A supporter of King Charles I against the Parliament during the English Civil War (1642-49).

scale
Iron-rich waste substance produced when hot iron is pounded on an anvil.
seawall
A single-faced wall at the edge of a harbour.
sgraffito
A method of decoration made by scratching through slip on ceramics to show a different coloured undersurface. 'Slip' used in this process is a creamy mixture of clay and water that is mainly used to decorate earthenware.
shaft and globe type wine bottles
Bottles with round bodies and long necks, manufactured of dark green glass beginning about 1640.
share system
The system in which specified proportions were assigned to the owner and crew of the value of the catch taken in a fishing or sealing voyage, after deducting the expenses of the enterprise (i.e., the "boats's share").
sherd
A shortened version of ‘potsherd', also a variant of ‘shard'. A broken piece of ceramic material which has been found at an archeological site.
slag
Waste substance produced in a forge as a result of heating iron, consisting largely of silica and iron. "Stringers" (fine threads) of slag also characterize wrought iron.
smith
A person who works with metals. In Ferryland, it referred to a ‘blacksmith', a person who shaped iron by heating it in a fire and hammering it.
smithy
A blacksmith's shop, also known as a forge.
snuff
Powdered tobacco taken by sniffing up the nostrils.
surgeon
A physician of the 17th century.
swage
A tool for drawing iron into a regular elongate shape.

tenements
In the 17th century, the word meant dwellings.
terra sigillata ceramics
A fine, orange-bodied earthenware produced at Estremoz, Portugal beginning in the 16th century; very rare on archaeological sites and a luxury item during the 17th century.
tombolo beach
A narrow boulder beach connecting two larger landforms. Such a beach connects the area of Avalon and the Ferryland Downs with the mainland of Newfoundland.

vitner
A person who manufactures or sells wine.

wattle fence
A fence made of upright stakes around which slender sticks are woven in the fashion of a wicker basket.

X-radiography
Similar to hospital X-radiology, but more powerful X-ray equipment is used to penetrate the matrix covering excavated objects; especially useful in penetrating the corrosion on iron artifacts. All iron artifacts from Ferryland are routinely X-rayed.

Sources: Walter S. Avis et al., Gage Canadian Dictionary (Toronto: Gage Publishing Limited, ©1983) 464, 474, 496, 545, 922.; G.M. Story, W.J. Kirwin and J.D.A. Widdowson, eds., Dictionary of Newfoundland English, 2nd edition (St. John's, ©1990) 187.; Della Thompson, ed., The Concise Oxford English Dictionary, 9th edition (Oxford, ©1995) 515, 531, 571, 627, 632, 1070, 1203, 1270, 1276, 1307, 1313, 1318.; The New Encyclopedia Britannica, 15th edition, Vol. 5 (Chicago: Encyclopaedia Britannica, ©1991) 133-4.





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