Friday, November 09, 2007

Remains of Rum distillery discovered in Bristol, Rhode Island (U.S.)

Archaeologists digging at the site of a future condominium complex on Thames Street have discovered the remains of a rum distillery that likely played a role in Bristol's portion of the infamous Triangle Trade in the early 19th century.

Digging several feet below street grade in a vacant lot just north of Gillary's Tavern, researchers over the past five weeks have found approximately 17 molasses fermentation vats and the remains of a brick still base that would have helped fuel the distilling operation. Now, the state is working with developer James Roiter to come up with a plan to document the site before development begins.

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Bristol's close ties to the slave trade have long been known, and historians have also known for years that at least five rum distilling operations flourished in Bristol during the years the trade was active, the mid-1700s through the early 1800s.