Archaeologists find one of Quebec City’s first fortresses

Part of one of Quebec’s first fortresses, erected in the 1690s, has been found in the heritage site of Old Quebec.

Officials are calling the discovery of the 325-year-old Palisade of Beaucours a major archaeological find for the province’s history.

“This is our cultural heritage, something to be proud of,” said Quebec Premier François Legault.

“The finding of this military vestige has enriched our knowledge of Quebec’s history, just days before Remembrance Day.”

The remnant, found in Old Quebec’s heritage site, is about 20 metres long. Archaeologists say it has been well preserved.

It is part of the original plans by French military engineer Josué Dubois Berthelot de Beaucours in 1693-1694 — and signifies one of the first discoveries of his work.

The wall was built by 500 troops to replace the first, temporary outer fortification system, which was installed in 1690 near the Plains of Abraham to prevent an invasion from the British.

“It is important to preserve our cultural heritage, which is why we are doing everything we can to protect these remains,” said Minister of Culture and Communications Nathalie Roy.

Archaeologists say they hope to study the fortification. “To ensure its integrity and preservation, the vestige will be removed from the soil and transported to a storage location where it will be treated by controlled drying” before making it accessible to the public’s viewing.

A close-up of the historic fortification system in Quebec City.

“This discovery reminds us of the efforts of Governor [Louis de Buade de] Frontenac to equip New France with proper defences,” said Quebec City Mayor Régis Labeaume.

“Studying this relic will allow us to better understand our defence systems.”

Quebec City is considered to have one of the first urban colonies in North America, from the founding of Quebec by Samuel de Champlain to the departure of the British garrison — 1608 to 1871.

The city’s fortification units have been considered a huge element of Quebec and Canada’s heritage since 1872.

Old Quebec has been inscribed on UNESCO‘s world heritage list since 1985.

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