Avalon Structures

Colony of Avalon, 1621 – 1638
Colony of Avalon, 1621 – 1638.
Reproduced by permission of the Colony of Avalon Foundation, Ferryland, Newfoundland, © 2001.

During the 2001 excavations archaeologists found the remains of the bakery/brewhouse built by the first settlers in 1622. This illustration shows the fireplace from this structure. Visible in each corner are the remains of large North Devon ceramic ovens in which bread was baked. The two vertical slabs in the hearth supported the "brewing copper," a large cauldron in which the ingredients for beer were boiled before fermentation took place.

Bakery/Brewhouse Bakery/Brewhouse.
Reproduced by permission of the Colony of Avalon Foundation, Ferryland, Newfoundland, © 2001.
Larger Version with more information (54 kb).

Shown here is the lower portion of a wood-lined well that was probably incorporated within the bakery/brewhouse. The upper portion was lined with a cribwork of logs and the lower portion with a double layer of horizontal and vertical boards. The well was remarkably devoid of refuse, suggesting that it might have been enclosed and water removed by means of a pump.

Lower Portion of a Wood-lined Well.
Reproduced by permission of the Colony of Avalon Foundation, Ferryland, Newfoundland, © 2001.
Larger Version (55 kb)
Lower Portion of a Wood-lined Well

The complete excavation of a structure incorporating a large stone chimney revealed the remains of a building measuring 12' by 14', exclusive of the chimney. The dimensions match exactly those of a "parlour" built by the first settlers in 1622. Here can be seen the remains of the fireplace and the remains of floor joists that supported a wooden floor.

Parlour Calvert's Parlour.
Reproduced by permission of the Colony of Avalon Foundation, Ferryland, Newfoundland, © 2001.
with more information (80 kb)

In August 1622, Captain Wynne wrote to George Calvert that, "the forge hath been finished these five weeks." During the mid-1980s and again a decade later the forge was completely excavated. Shown here is the stone forge where iron was heated. The small alcove held the slack tub where hot iron was quenched. The large hole to the right of the forge held the anvil stump. The forge floor, blackened by slag, scale, coal and charcoal, shows clearly.

Forge.
Reproduced by permission of the Colony of Avalon Foundation, Ferryland, Newfoundland, © 2001.
Larger Version (46 kb)
Forge

This painting by David Webber shows the forge as it might have looked about 1625. It was dug into the bank to the south, sided with boards and roofed with slate. The smith in the foreground is shoeing an Exmoor horse, probably the ancestor of today's Newfoundland pony.

Painting by David Webber of the Colony of Avalon's Forge Painting by David Webber of the Colony of Avalon's Forge.
Reproduced by permission of the Colony of Avalon Foundation, Ferryland, Newfoundland, © 2001.
Larger Version (67 kb)

Among the tools found in the forge were a smith's hand vise (top), used to hold small objects that were being shaped, and a shears used to cut hot metal. The shorter arm on the shears was meant to fit into a hole in the anvil so it could be operated with one hand.

A Smith's Hand Vise (top) and Shears.
Reproduced by permission of the Colony of Avalon Foundation, Ferryland, Newfoundland, © 2001.
Larger Version (40 kb)
A Smith's Hand Vise (top) and Shears

The large lumps of scale that flanked the anvil were removed and taken to St. John's to be carefully dismantled under controlled conditions. Three iron axes, ceramics, glass, iron tool fragments and scrap iron were recovered. An unusual find was this wooden tuning peg from a small stringed instrument.

Large lump of scale    Tuning Peg
Large lump of Scale (left) and Tuning Peg.
Both images reproduced by permission of the
Colony of Avalon Foundation, Ferryland, Newfoundland, © 2001.
Larger Version of scale (42 kb). Larger Version of tuning peg (40 kb).

One of the most interesting artifacts from the forge is this elaborate iron cross. The interior of the socket, meant to be mounted on a staff, and the interiors of the orbs are of brass. Traces of the original gilding can be seen near the center of the cross. It is not certain whether it is of Roman Catholic or Anglican origin. If it is the former, it brings to mind Calvert's wish to maintain Avalon as a religiously-tolerant colony, the first in British North America.

Elaborate Iron Cross Elaborate Iron Cross.
Reproduced by permission of the Colony of Avalon Foundation, Ferryland, Newfoundland, © 2001.
(45 kb)

© 2002, Colony of Avalon Foundation


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