2005 Archaeology Field School
The principal work during the 2005 field school was the excavation of test trenches within the borders of the Hudson's Bay Company (HBC) garden. The garden was central to the success of agriculture and aboriculture in the Pacific Northwest as it served as a nursery to produce seedlings, seeds, and cuttings for distribution to other Hudson's Bay Company posts, Native Americans, and settlers in the region. It also provided fresh produce for the "gentlemen" and elite guests of the company, and served as a "pleasure garden" for selected visitors and employees.
Unfortunately, while many wrote about the garden, there are no known plans of it or specific descriptions of its layout and associated plantings. Knowledge gained from excavations is expected to assist in the examination of human-landscape interrelationships at Fort Vancouver, including the material significance of the garden landscape, its layout, and the plants that grew in it. The results will support the reconstruction and interpretation of the historical garden area.
The primary goal of archaeological testing in the garden area was to determine if there were any intact remains associated with it that survived use of the area by the U.S. Army. One feature that was discovered during these excavations is thought to be an HBC-period well, but excavation of this feature only uncovered U.S. Army-period artifacts. The results so far suggest that there are intact deposits associated with the HBC garden that may inform on the orientation and content of beds, paths, and other garden attributes. Investigation and artifact analysis is ongoing.
Did You Know?
As the fur trade-era depot and headquarters for the Hudson's Bay Company's Columbia Department, did you know that over 61,000 animal pelts were shipped from Fort Vancouver to England in 1843 alone? This and many other stories are interpreted at Fort Vancouver National Historic Site. More...