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‘Significant’ artefacts found during Fort Hamilton works

Fascinating undertaking: archaeological project manager Florence Laino holds pieces of artefacts found at the Fort Hamilton restoration site (Photograph courtesy of Corporation of Hamilton)

An archaeologist has discovered “significant” artefacts while sifting through the soil at Fort Hamilton during ongoing restoration works, it was announced today.

“The items will be catalogued and the archaeologist will make the recommendations on what to do with them,” Patrick Cooper, the city engineer, said at a press conference at City Hall.

He said the archaeologist made the discoveries while “doing test digs and sifting through the soils over these structures and remains”.

“We haven’t determined yet what is going to happen,” he said regarding the future of the items.

“There is a lot of repetitive stuff. They could be turned over to a museum, we could end up putting a museum up at the fort showing these pieces. It is still to be determined,” Mr Cooper added.

He said: “It has been a fascinating undertaking thus far. We found masonry which we didn’t even know existed as it had been covered in foliage.”

Mr Cooper noted that the discoveries thus far have resulted in alterations of the architectural design of the site.

He said: “Some of what had been found was so significant that we had to change our designs for the renovations, so that we can show off these newly discovered architectural details.”

He said during the preliminary archaeological exploration of the site, workers discovered the buried remains of a 19th century outhouse structure that was connected to the guardhouse at the fort’s entrance.

The Corporation of Hamilton has been working in collaboration with the Bermuda National Trust, which Mr Cooper noted “has been integral to the process”.

The restoration project is aimed at enhancing the site and surrounding amenities, ensuring enhanced presentation for future generations.

Proposed works at the site include lighting works, installation of a catering kitchen and interpretive signage, Wi-Fi service as well as improved security measures.

“We have already made some progress with the removal of invasive plants species as significant works will commence shortly pending the necessary permits,” Mr Cooper said.

The Corporation of Hamilton suggested that the site should preserved.

Mr Cooper said: “Fort Hamilton is a stunning piece of Bermuda’s heritage and a fascinating chapter in the story of Bermuda’s military history, which we feel should be preserved, enhanced and restored.”

He said “it is also a great event space which can be better utilised so that its story could be more fully appreciated”.

The site remains closed to the public until the works are completed.

Last December, the Corporation of Hamilton said it received the green light for its plans to undertake works are the historic site.

A report by planning officials recommended that the plans be approved, stating: “The renovation of Fort Hamilton has no impact on the established historic, architectural or cultural character of the area, the aspect, appearance or view of the area.

“As a result, the director’s approval is warranted.”

Fort Hamilton was built in the 1870s to guard over Hamilton Harbour, but it was never used in combat.

The site has since become an attraction for visitors, boasting gardens and views of the City and harbour.

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Published April 09, 2024 at 5:34 pm (Updated April 09, 2024 at 10:22 pm)

‘Significant’ artefacts found during Fort Hamilton works

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