Archaeology Magazine

A publication of the Archaeological Institute of America

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“Kitty Brick” Is 2,000 Years Old

Monday, February 25, 2013

(Alvesgaspar)VANCOUVER, WASHINGTON—Neutron activation analysis of bricks found at Fort Vancouver supports the idea that they were made in England some 2,000 years ago. When the unusual bricks were found in 1982, archaeologist Karl Gurcke noted that their size and shape resembled Roman bricks. They may have traveled to the Pacific Northwest as ballast in a Hudson’s Bay Company supply ship in the early nineteenth century, but the company also imported bricks for building purposes until a local brick-making industry was established. One brick in particular bears two paw prints left by a Roman cat. “At a glance, bricks appear all alike, yet upon examination, they can exhibit a frustrating degree of variation,” said Kristin Converse of Sonoma State University.