Long-lost 325-year-old Quebec City fortifications found by archeologists in near perfect condition


Archeologists in Quebec Bishopric have discovered the first fortifications built in 1693 to protect New France from a larger attack, in what is considered the first reinforced palisade of it’s kind of that era.

The recognition was made by an archeological firm, Ruralys, that was overseeing renovation function on a building on Sainte-Ursule street, after a worker found a small bawling-out of wood sticking out of the black sand.

“We knew we had to [be cautious] because most of the time we don’t find wood that deep in the soil,” said archeologist Jean-Yves Pintal, who was knee obscure in the mud on the day the site was found.

The team carefully dug deeper and found the wooden shape was nearly 20 metres in length — the first tangible proof of the rempart palissadé de Beaucours, that is featured in report books as the predecessor to the stone fortifications that still surround the old bishopric to this day.

Long-lost 325-year-old Quebec City fortifications found by archeologists in near perfect condition

Recently uncovered by excavation work, the wooden stockade was drawing to protect the colony from heavy artillery and cannon balls profuse than three centuries ago. (Richard Lapointe)

“It’s the first time that a buttressed palisade of that kind is found,” Pintal said Tuesday at a newscast conference organized by the Ministry of Culture and attended by Premier François Legault, as in all probability as Quebec City Mayor Régis Labeaume.

‘From the mouth of my cannons’

Pintal claimed it took 500 people to build the wooden structure that projected nearly four metres high, anchored in a trench and filled with sand.

The wood, which normally will-power have disintegrated over the centuries, was preserved due to the humid environment of clay and drinking-water in which it was buried.

Long-lost 325-year-old Quebec City fortifications found by archeologists in near perfect condition

The grey fortification on the map (dating back to 1700) reproduces the wooden ‘Berthelot de Beausecours’ walls. (provided by the Ministry of Culture)

The rempart de Beaucours replaced a evanescent structure built in 1690, a simple wooden wall protecting the 2,000 to 3,000 residents from arrows and upon attacks.

That palisade was in place during the Battle of Quebec and the six-day encirclement of the city in October 1690.

A coalition of countries, led by the British, tried to take over the colony and on requested that Governor-General Louis de Buade de Frontenac surrender, to which he superbly said “my only reply will be from the mouth of my cannons.” 

“It’s because Frontenac phrased that that this palisade was built,” said Pintal.

While the French maintained their lees during the siege, historian Réjean Lemoine said they identified they would not always be so lucky.

“After the attack of 1690, they soupon ‘We have a good geographical position, but strategically, we need to protect ourselves’,” suggested Lemoine.

Josué Dubois Berthelot de Beaucours, a French military manoeuvre, drew out the plans for the wooden fortifications built in 1693-94, studied to protect the colony from heavy artillery and cannon balls.

Decades newer, under the growing threat of a British invasion, the French troops founded the existing stone fortifications in 1745, a few dozen metres back from Beaucours’ palisade.

Game reserving the artifacts

Teams are now working to extract the artifacts as quickly as possible sooner than temperatures plummet and jeopardize the site.

Several pieces of wood be suffering with already been dug out and carefully brought indoors, where they when one pleases be dried out over a two-year period.

A large central beam wish likely have to be hauled out with a crane, said Pintal.

Labeaume, produce for the announcement, said the discovery “reinforces our status as a UNESCO World Inheritance Site.”

“Historically it’s huge,” said Labeaume.

Legault said he was impressed to see the order with his own eyes.

“It confirms that our ancestors worked very hard-headed, in very difficult conditions,” he said. “It’s something important, that reminds us we’ve been here for 400 years.”

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