Royal visit continues in N.L. at site of archeological dig under cloudy skies

The Canadian Press ~ The News
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Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall arrived today in historic Cupids, on Newfoundland's Avalon Peninsula, under a cloud cover that appeared to hover just over Conception Bay.
Rain fell off and on, and may well have thinned the sparse crowd of well-wishers who greeted Charles and Camilla.
A large Union Jack waved in the breeze to welcome them.
Cupids was originally known as Cuper's Cove and it bills itself as the oldest English settlement in Canada, celebrating its 400th birthday next year.
Charles, who studied archeology at Oxford, listened closely and asked many questions during a visit to an archeological dig.
Relics unearthed so far are said to date back to the site's original plantation in 1610.
Archeologist William Gilbert showed Charles and Camilla a coin unearthed at the dig site that is believed to date back to the 1600s.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper, his wife Laureen, and Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Danny Williams also looked on.
The group shivered against a cold wind as the temperature hovered in single digits.
Camilla adjusted her wrap for warmth as Gilbert joked that to show off all the best finds would take too much time.
"Maybe by then it will be spring," quipped a shivering Laureen Harper. "It will get a lot warmer."

Organizations: Union Jack

Geographic location: N.L., Newfoundland and Labrador, Conception Bay Canada Oxford

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Recent comments

  • Æ®©
    July 02, 2010 - 13:34

    Christopher Columbus discovered America - duh. 1492... the ocean blue... (hint hint).

    Nice spelling for a grad student Deanne Lawrence (proper names are capitalized). It's 'higher stature THAN...' not '...THEN...'. Most likely your research is flawed too.

  • San
    July 02, 2010 - 13:30

    This is very interesting Don, you really know your history. I call myself a Newfoundlander, born and raised, yet I have never heard of John Guy!! At first I thought you meant to say John Cabot...perhaps these myths would just be myths rather than historical fact, if there was more focus on local history. Seems there isn't. I remember being taught about who discovered America, John Cabot, but nothing really local.
    You raise a good point.

  • deanne
    July 02, 2010 - 13:27

    I completely beg to differ with this opinion. I have had the opportunity to visit this site numerous times and as an archaeology graduate myself, the hard evidence is there! From John Guy's and his right hand mans existing journal writings, the layout of the land, the shape and geography mentioned in these journals point to Cupids. Not to mention specific artefacts that are consistant of the time, people and what was written to have ventured on Guys ships that came here. Silver threads found on site indicates peoples of a higher stature then commoners or seasonal fishermen. You do provide a great argument and are entitled to your opinions but as mentioned, i beg to differ. Do the appropiate research, visit the site. Great job to Bill and his team and keep up the good work; NL and outport communities need this recognition and if it wasnt for people such as Bill and his team, our history would be lost!!

  • To Don
    July 02, 2010 - 13:26

    You need to get out more

  • don
    July 02, 2010 - 13:19

    The Canadian Press reporter states that Cupids was originally known as Cuper's Cove. That statement is fiction and not a proven fact. Apparently, if you say something often enough, although it isn't true, people will believe it. I want to see evidence that Cupids is Cuper's Cove. To date, apart from myth and rhetoric, I have seen no proof that John Guy landed at Cupids. Promoters of Cupids claim that they have found the graves of the original colonists in Cupids. However, the graves have never been opened and the remains of the bodies have never been exhumed and subjected to scientific testing such as forensic anthropological examination, DNA analysis or mass spectrometer testing which could determine the exact identities of the remains in Cupids. Why haven't these remains been exhumed and independently examined? Headstones found at the site appear to be dated between 1720 and 1800. What does a headstone from 1720 have to do with John Guy and 1610? The fact is, that in none of his letters did John Guy ever once refer to a place called Cupids. John Guy did write in 1610 that Cuper's Cove where he made landfall was a branch of Salmon Cove. While there is a place called Salmon Cove located next to Cupids today, Maps of Conception Bay made in the 17th century when Guy arrived, show that the place called Salmon Cove to which John Guy referred was located at where Avondale is now. A careful analysis of the historical record and John Guy's letters shows that it is not possible for Cupids to be Cuper's Cove. Apart from some similarity in the names, there is no evidence that Cupids is Cuper's Cove. None of the artifacts found in Cupids have ever been linked to John Guy. The historical record shows that between 1560 and 1610 thousands of English fishermen and fishermen from other nations occupied the coastline around Conception Bay. The artifacts found in Cupids could have been deposited there by anyone other than John Guy and his colonists. Despite having no proof that Cupids is the authentic site of John Guy's colony, the Danny Williams Government and the Government of Canada have spent millions promoting the myth that Cupids is Cuper's Cove. This is a scandal on the same level as the sponsorship scandal which should be investigated and the facts ascertained before more tax payer monies are wasted on this very dubious project in Cupids.

  • George
    July 02, 2010 - 13:14

    I am not going to question Don's history lesson, but reaaly San a Newfoundlander that never heard of John Guy!! You must have slept through grade 4 and 5 history.

    In any case I guess too many people were too polite to mention that many of those that first established settlements ( by coming to newfoundland with explorers) , were escaping lifetimes of slavery to British landlords and royalty. Interesting that the current royalty would have so much intersst in the place.

    The real fact is that the money being spent on this present day pompt and paegantry could be far better put to use in many communities around this province and country.

  • Peter
    July 02, 2010 - 13:14

    I don't know how you can call yourself a NFLD and never heard of John Guy.

  • don
    July 02, 2010 - 13:13

    deanne lawrence: Thank you for your opinion of the Cupids archaeological site in Cupids. I must respectfully disagree with your position. I responded with two rebuttals to your posting outlining clearly how your argument is not supported by the facts contained in the historical record. Regrettably, for some reason, as of 9:00 PM The Telegram had not posted my responses. In the absence of any other explanation to the contrary, I must conclude that any well reasoned and factually supportable criticism of the Cupids archaeology project is being censored and suppressed from public viewing while blatant support of the Cupids project based on unproven opinion and bias is readily posted here. This type of behavior is troubling and problematic in a free and democratic society. Nevertheless, despite the fact that some people choose not to accept it, there is ample evidence in the historic record to prove that Cupids is not Cuper's Cove. Despite all of the hyperbole and unsupported claims, it is a fact that no artifact or other evidence directly linked to John Guy has ever been found in Cupids. The blatant suppression of well reasoned and historically factual and documented discussion of this issue tells me that I am on the right track with my observations and somebody is getting nervous.

  • don
    July 02, 2010 - 13:12

    To deanne lawrence: I have done the appropriate research and am quite familiar with the site. Silver threads and golden needles do not an authentic historic site make. The historic record shows that many British Royal Navy officers and French soldiers trod the ground along the shores of Conception Bay and in the 17th century. A silver thread could have come from any of their uniforms or from a woman's dress. Was the thread subjected to any scientific testing to determine its age, composition and origin? If not, then no relevant association can be made between it and John Guy. There is no record of the actual manner of clothing worn by John Guy personally and there is no record that he wore any military attire. In fact, letters from Cuper's Cove written by Henry Crout contained complaints about the lack of adequate clothing and the fact that the terrain was hard on breeches, shoes and hose which were badly in need of replacement. So much for the myth that John Guy and his colonists were well dressed people of higher station. They were not of higher station and were mostly laborers and semi-skilled workmen. What is missing at the Cupids site is proper scientific authentication and independent verification. No amount of speculation, theory, rhetoric or wishful thinking can replace good solid science and well researched historical data. Last time I checked, archaeology was a science which requires that a theory must be substantiated and proved by empirical scientific evidence. Myth and folklore don't count as real scientific evidence. The fact that the graves at the site have not been opened and the bodies exhumed for scientific examination is troubling. What is the problem? Could it be that the bodies are not those of John Guy's colonists? It could be that the bodies are from the 18th or 19th century and have no relation to John Guy whatsoever. As for John Guy's written description of Cuper's Cove, while aspects of his observations do match some physical traits of Cupids it also describes more closely a number of other coves in Conception Bay. John Guy's reasons for choosing Cuper's Cove included the fruitfulness of the soil that was good, not rocky and deep without stones. Anyone who has ever been to Cupids like I have and checked the soil there would hardly describe the shale and rock laden soil as fruitful and deep. Clearly, John Guy was not describing the soil at Cupids when he wrote his letter describing Cuper's Cove. There are, however, other coves in Conception Bay in which the soil is deep and without much rock and stone which has been very agriculturally productive for centuries. Cupids cannot make any claim to agricultural worthiness with any credibility. The historical record, properly read and analyzed can only lead to one logical conclusion and that is that Cupids is not Cuper's Cove.

  • Jack
    July 02, 2010 - 13:12

    Bill Gilbert is one of the most cautious and thoughtful archaeologists working in the Province today. He's been working at Cupids for more than a decade and he doesn't make any claims that the documents or the archaeology can't back up. Historical records lead him to this site and the archaeological evidence backs up his interpretation of the documents. Its great to see the rest of Canada paying attention to this very significant site.

  • Æ®©
    July 01, 2010 - 20:23

    Christopher Columbus discovered America - duh. 1492... the ocean blue... (hint hint).

    Nice spelling for a grad student Deanne Lawrence (proper names are capitalized). It's 'higher stature THAN...' not '...THEN...'. Most likely your research is flawed too.

  • San
    July 01, 2010 - 20:18

    This is very interesting Don, you really know your history. I call myself a Newfoundlander, born and raised, yet I have never heard of John Guy!! At first I thought you meant to say John Cabot...perhaps these myths would just be myths rather than historical fact, if there was more focus on local history. Seems there isn't. I remember being taught about who discovered America, John Cabot, but nothing really local.
    You raise a good point.

  • deanne
    July 01, 2010 - 20:14

    I completely beg to differ with this opinion. I have had the opportunity to visit this site numerous times and as an archaeology graduate myself, the hard evidence is there! From John Guy's and his right hand mans existing journal writings, the layout of the land, the shape and geography mentioned in these journals point to Cupids. Not to mention specific artefacts that are consistant of the time, people and what was written to have ventured on Guys ships that came here. Silver threads found on site indicates peoples of a higher stature then commoners or seasonal fishermen. You do provide a great argument and are entitled to your opinions but as mentioned, i beg to differ. Do the appropiate research, visit the site. Great job to Bill and his team and keep up the good work; NL and outport communities need this recognition and if it wasnt for people such as Bill and his team, our history would be lost!!

  • To Don
    July 01, 2010 - 20:13

    You need to get out more

  • don
    July 01, 2010 - 20:01

    The Canadian Press reporter states that Cupids was originally known as Cuper's Cove. That statement is fiction and not a proven fact. Apparently, if you say something often enough, although it isn't true, people will believe it. I want to see evidence that Cupids is Cuper's Cove. To date, apart from myth and rhetoric, I have seen no proof that John Guy landed at Cupids. Promoters of Cupids claim that they have found the graves of the original colonists in Cupids. However, the graves have never been opened and the remains of the bodies have never been exhumed and subjected to scientific testing such as forensic anthropological examination, DNA analysis or mass spectrometer testing which could determine the exact identities of the remains in Cupids. Why haven't these remains been exhumed and independently examined? Headstones found at the site appear to be dated between 1720 and 1800. What does a headstone from 1720 have to do with John Guy and 1610? The fact is, that in none of his letters did John Guy ever once refer to a place called Cupids. John Guy did write in 1610 that Cuper's Cove where he made landfall was a branch of Salmon Cove. While there is a place called Salmon Cove located next to Cupids today, Maps of Conception Bay made in the 17th century when Guy arrived, show that the place called Salmon Cove to which John Guy referred was located at where Avondale is now. A careful analysis of the historical record and John Guy's letters shows that it is not possible for Cupids to be Cuper's Cove. Apart from some similarity in the names, there is no evidence that Cupids is Cuper's Cove. None of the artifacts found in Cupids have ever been linked to John Guy. The historical record shows that between 1560 and 1610 thousands of English fishermen and fishermen from other nations occupied the coastline around Conception Bay. The artifacts found in Cupids could have been deposited there by anyone other than John Guy and his colonists. Despite having no proof that Cupids is the authentic site of John Guy's colony, the Danny Williams Government and the Government of Canada have spent millions promoting the myth that Cupids is Cuper's Cove. This is a scandal on the same level as the sponsorship scandal which should be investigated and the facts ascertained before more tax payer monies are wasted on this very dubious project in Cupids.

  • George
    July 01, 2010 - 19:53

    I am not going to question Don's history lesson, but reaaly San a Newfoundlander that never heard of John Guy!! You must have slept through grade 4 and 5 history.

    In any case I guess too many people were too polite to mention that many of those that first established settlements ( by coming to newfoundland with explorers) , were escaping lifetimes of slavery to British landlords and royalty. Interesting that the current royalty would have so much intersst in the place.

    The real fact is that the money being spent on this present day pompt and paegantry could be far better put to use in many communities around this province and country.

  • Peter
    July 01, 2010 - 19:52

    I don't know how you can call yourself a NFLD and never heard of John Guy.

  • don
    July 01, 2010 - 19:51

    deanne lawrence: Thank you for your opinion of the Cupids archaeological site in Cupids. I must respectfully disagree with your position. I responded with two rebuttals to your posting outlining clearly how your argument is not supported by the facts contained in the historical record. Regrettably, for some reason, as of 9:00 PM The Telegram had not posted my responses. In the absence of any other explanation to the contrary, I must conclude that any well reasoned and factually supportable criticism of the Cupids archaeology project is being censored and suppressed from public viewing while blatant support of the Cupids project based on unproven opinion and bias is readily posted here. This type of behavior is troubling and problematic in a free and democratic society. Nevertheless, despite the fact that some people choose not to accept it, there is ample evidence in the historic record to prove that Cupids is not Cuper's Cove. Despite all of the hyperbole and unsupported claims, it is a fact that no artifact or other evidence directly linked to John Guy has ever been found in Cupids. The blatant suppression of well reasoned and historically factual and documented discussion of this issue tells me that I am on the right track with my observations and somebody is getting nervous.

  • don
    July 01, 2010 - 19:50

    To deanne lawrence: I have done the appropriate research and am quite familiar with the site. Silver threads and golden needles do not an authentic historic site make. The historic record shows that many British Royal Navy officers and French soldiers trod the ground along the shores of Conception Bay and in the 17th century. A silver thread could have come from any of their uniforms or from a woman's dress. Was the thread subjected to any scientific testing to determine its age, composition and origin? If not, then no relevant association can be made between it and John Guy. There is no record of the actual manner of clothing worn by John Guy personally and there is no record that he wore any military attire. In fact, letters from Cuper's Cove written by Henry Crout contained complaints about the lack of adequate clothing and the fact that the terrain was hard on breeches, shoes and hose which were badly in need of replacement. So much for the myth that John Guy and his colonists were well dressed people of higher station. They were not of higher station and were mostly laborers and semi-skilled workmen. What is missing at the Cupids site is proper scientific authentication and independent verification. No amount of speculation, theory, rhetoric or wishful thinking can replace good solid science and well researched historical data. Last time I checked, archaeology was a science which requires that a theory must be substantiated and proved by empirical scientific evidence. Myth and folklore don't count as real scientific evidence. The fact that the graves at the site have not been opened and the bodies exhumed for scientific examination is troubling. What is the problem? Could it be that the bodies are not those of John Guy's colonists? It could be that the bodies are from the 18th or 19th century and have no relation to John Guy whatsoever. As for John Guy's written description of Cuper's Cove, while aspects of his observations do match some physical traits of Cupids it also describes more closely a number of other coves in Conception Bay. John Guy's reasons for choosing Cuper's Cove included the fruitfulness of the soil that was good, not rocky and deep without stones. Anyone who has ever been to Cupids like I have and checked the soil there would hardly describe the shale and rock laden soil as fruitful and deep. Clearly, John Guy was not describing the soil at Cupids when he wrote his letter describing Cuper's Cove. There are, however, other coves in Conception Bay in which the soil is deep and without much rock and stone which has been very agriculturally productive for centuries. Cupids cannot make any claim to agricultural worthiness with any credibility. The historical record, properly read and analyzed can only lead to one logical conclusion and that is that Cupids is not Cuper's Cove.

  • Jack
    July 01, 2010 - 19:50

    Bill Gilbert is one of the most cautious and thoughtful archaeologists working in the Province today. He's been working at Cupids for more than a decade and he doesn't make any claims that the documents or the archaeology can't back up. Historical records lead him to this site and the archaeological evidence backs up his interpretation of the documents. Its great to see the rest of Canada paying attention to this very significant site.