Bottle Seals

Wine bottle seals are a molten glob of glass placed on the shoulder of a bottle and impressed with a circular seal. The colony’s extensive glass collection contains 19 bottle seals, eight of which date to the 17th century.

All 19 have the initials or names of private individuals on them. Of the nine seals containing initials, three contain a third initial that represents a spouse’s given name. One of these seals also carries the date 1723, perhaps the year the couple married.

Gold Rings

Gold Rings

Two women’s gold rings were unearthed in the fireplace of the Mansion House. It’s believed these rings were hidden beneath the stones during the 1696 French raid on the Colony.

Ancient Cross

Copper Crucifix

The small find that made a big splash! Discovered June 4, 2015 by archaeology student Anna Sparrow, this tiny Catholic cross symbolizes early dreams of religious freedom in North America.

The copper crucifix is 2.8 cm wide and shows a simple representation of Christ on the front and the Virgin Mary and Christ Child on the back. Dating from between 1623 and 1628, it is the first unequivocally Catholic artifact from that period found in Ferryland.

Back in 17th century England, it was not uncommon for Catholics to be fined, imprisoned, or even put to death for practicing their faith. The Colony of Avalon was founded as a place where all Christians could enjoy freedom of religion without fear of persecution. The presence of a Catholic crucifix at the Colony in the 1620s suggests this vision had started to take shape.

Grape Seeds

Charred grape seeds, discovered in Beothuk hearths dating from the 1500s. Since grapes have never grown wild in Newfoundland, they must have come from either wine or raisins obtained from Europeans. Evidence of peaceful trade? Perhaps.