Brick from the Roman Empire Discovered in Washington State

brick

Chemical analysis indicates that this brick--embelished with a cat's pawprints--is of Roman origin. How did it end up in the western United States? It is likely that the Hudson's Bay Company, a British corporation that explored and settled the Pacific Northwest, shipped it to Fort Vancouver all the way from Britain. Alexis Madrigal writes in The Atlantic:

While there were roughly 25 Native American tribes in the region, there were not any brickmakers among them, which meant there weren't any bricks. So, the Hudson's Bay Company, which ran the Fort, had to order them from a world away.

"You can certainly bring over brickmakers to look at the local lays and the Columbia River silts are great for making common brick. But at the time, when they are out there establishing their post, if they want some brick for their chimney, there just isn't any," Gurcke said, when I reached him at his job with the Park Service in Skagway, Alaska. "So they ship them from, in this case, England. We do have some records of them shipping bricks very early from England."

Link | Photo: Fort Vancouver Historic Site


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Some years back, a Mousterian tool---that's Neanderthal technology---was found in New England. It was determined that the stone tool had been taken up in a load of gravel that formed the ship's ballast. The stony ballast was dropped when the ship took on cargo in the new world. Wonder if that happened here...
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