Snake Hill Lecture at the War Museum in Ottawa

On Tuesday, November 25th at 7:30 pm, Dr. Ron Williamson from Archaeological Services Inc. will be speaking at the War Museum in Ottawa about the Snake Hill Cemetery project in Fort Erie, Ontario that involved the discovery, exhumation, and repatriation of 28 American soldiers from the War of 1812.

The Snake Hill site is a military cemetery established during the American occupation of Old Fort Erie in 1814. Its archaeological exploration attracted great public interest and media attention on both sides of the border. Historical research and scientific analyses of the remains have resulted in a remarkably detailed picture of life and death during the War of 1812, especially of the pain and suffering experienced by the American casualties of the Siege of Fort Erie.

The 1987-1988 project involved the U.S. Army, the U.S. Armed Forces Institute of Pathology, the U.S. Armed Forces Medical Museum, and the Smithsonian Institution. The burials were found during a construction project on a lakeside lot. Once the analyses of the remains had been completed, 28 of the skeletons were identified as U.S. soldiers from the War of 1812. They were given full military honours at the repatriation ceremony. Accompanied by the U.S. Presidential Old Guard, each soldier was placed in a flag-draped coffin and escorted into a hearse for transport to the American National Cemetery in Bath, New York.

Dr. Williamson will be discussing how the soldiers were discovered, how they were investigated, what their injuries were, and the final process of repatriation. The lecture is co-presented by the Archaeological Institute of America and the Ottawa Chapter of the Ontario Archaeological Society and it is entitled Pain, Suffering and Death at Snake Hill: A Military Cemetery from the War of 1812 .The event is free and all are welcome.

More information on the event can be found on the War Museum website.