In 1987, skeletal remains were encountered during excavation just west of Old Fort Erie, in Ontarioâ€™s Niagara Peninsula. While possession of the land had been bitterly contested in 1814, it remained virtually undeveloped and only in the 1980s, with the construction of permanent homes, did excavations yield evidence of the distant past.
An international team of scholars and scientists investigated the remains and identified the individualsâ€™ nationalities for repatriation, where appropriate. The resulting archaeological dig has proven crucial to our understanding of the siege of Fort Erie, and provided new information about military clothing, personal gear, medical science, and other details of the day-to-day life of a soldier living under battlefield conditions during the War of 1812.
Snake Hill provides a detailed account of this investigation, documenting an important story of suffering and carnage, and providing the reader with a rare glimpse at life and death during the War of 1812. This book contributes significantly to our understanding of events before, during and after Fort Erieâ€™s 1814 siege.
Ronald E. Williamson, as president to Archaeological Services Inc., directed the Snake Hill project. He is an archaeologist with a doctorate in anthropology from McGill University.