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Randall House - Wolfville Historical Society

Door, Sluice

Accession number: CC.118
Object type: Worked
Object subtype: Clapper; Sluice Door
Date: before 2005
Materials: Wood
Measurements: 61 cm L x 44 cm W x 4.5 cm Thick
Narrative: The wooden piece is an arboiteau clapper or sluice door, part of the dykeing system used by the Acadians. Upon settlement in Nova Scotia in 1605, Acadians recognized the potential of the rich, fertile soils boasted by their new land. Despite the abundance of fertile soil, one big problem stood in the way of using this land. It was completely covered, twice a day, in the salt concentrated waters of the Bay of Fundy. Using the knowledge acquired from similar problems in Europe, Acadians introduced some modification to their construction methods and began building dykes to keep the powerful tides at bay. Using soil, mounds of sod were created which ran along the tide line. Sods of salt grass were put on both sides of the dyke to prevent erosion of soil. A special culvert, termed aboiteau, was incorporated into the dykes at certain points. Aboiteaux ran perpendicular, underneath the dyke to allow fresh water to flow off fields but keep salt water out. Such a feat was achieved by placing a one-way valve, referred to as a clapper, within the aboiteau.
Description: Worked wood is rectangular in shape with a small extended piece at each end of one long side. It has two holes in one end that have wooden plugs. It is made from one piece of wood.