Rhenish stoneware found at the site of Charles Fort

Clay pipes found at the site of Charles Fort.
Parks Canada archaeologists have unearthed artifacts likely associated with the early Scottish settlement
© Parks Canada

Charles Fort was built nearly four centuries ago. But it’s only since 1989 that we’ve known – for sure – where it once stood. As you walk along the Annapolis River today and admire the plaque commemorating the fort, ponder the historical drama that brought it to light.

For centuries, researchers thought the long-lost fort stood on the other side of the river, a perception enforced by erroneous, 18th-century maps. However, a first-hand account published only in 1940 suggested that Charles Fort was actually buried beneath current-day Fort Anne.

Archaeologists tested the theory during a 1989-1992 excavation at Fort Anne. What they unearthed was astonishing – not only shards of Scottish stoneware but a royal seal from the early 1600s bearing the crown-and-thistle motif of King James I and Charles I, whom the fort had been named after.

After being lost for literally hundreds of years, Charles Fort is today found at last.