The Archaeology of Basque Fisheries throughout the Atlantic, a Reappraisal

Part of: Society for Historical Archaeology 2014

Several decades have passed since the first archaeological research on Basque fishing in the North Atlantic was conducted. This session provides a state-of-the-art appraisal of the research developed since then, both to provide a critical review of past studies and also to highlight modern research in the field and laboratory. Sailing from the Basque Country to the British Isles, Canada or Iceland, the voyages of Basque fishermen and whalers provide case studies that, considered together, offer a dynamic and global perspective of the Early Modern Period. Cultural interactions, colonial process, local histories, economics, and supply policies are some of the aspects of modern Basque North Atlantic studies that will be presented in this session. Archaeological studies with terrestrial and / or underwater components are wellcomed.

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  • Documents (6)

  • The Basques in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, 1530-1760: An archaeological overview (2014)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Brad Loewen. Vincent Delmas.

    Research on the Basques in the Gulf of St. Lawrence has often focused on 16th-century whaling in the Strait of Belle Isle. However a fuller look at the historical and archaeological data shows a presence that extended without interruption to the 18th century, covered a much larger area, and included cod fishing and trading. It also shows regional differences that developed during the 17th century, allowing us to distinguish French and Spanish Basque sites and material culture. Archaeologists...

  • The cooking pots of Canadian Basque sites: new arguments for old problems (2014)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Sergio Escribano-Ruiz. Cristina P. Barrachina. Agustin Azkarate. Marisol Madrid i Fernández. Jaume Buxeda i Garrigós. Julio Nuñez Marcén. Yves Monette. Javier G. Iñañez. Brad Loewen.

    When the first whaling stations were excavated in Canada in the 1980s, the pottery we bring to the discussion became one of the Basque settlements’ index fossils. It consists of ovoid shaped pots decorated with applied bands. Although the first studies showed that the pottery was not Basque, its origin has been difficult to pinpoint and many propositions are still put forward. We have been able to approach the issue in some depth by using several techniques to study pieces of pottery of the same...

  • If Cain Had Been a Fisherman...’ - Historical and Archaeological Dimensions of a Whaling and Cod-Fishing Site on the ‘»Other»’ Labrador Coast (2014)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Anja Herzog.

    As is by now a well-known fact, cod-fishing enterprises, closely followed by whaling expeditions, were the first attractions that brought Europeans to the north-eastern shores of Canada from the early 1500s onwards. Petit Mécatina Island 3 (Hare Harbor 1, EdBt-3), a whaling and cod-fishing site discovered in 2001, is so far one of the few sites of this type known on that particular stretch of Québec’s Lower North Shore. It has been subject to continuous excavations on land and under water ever...

  • Wet and Dry: the Archaeology of Basque and Inuit Pioneers at Hare harbor, Petit Mecatina, on the Quebec Lower North shore (2014)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only William Fitzhugh. Erik Phaneuf.

    Since Red Bay much information on 16th C.Basque whaling has become available. However, few sites have been excavated intensively, and none shed light on post-1600 activities. Hare Harbor-1 provides information on a 17th/early 18th C. fishing station of probable French Basque origin. Like Red Bay, the site offers land and underwater deposits, with the latter especially rich in organic and ceramic remains. The land site includes both Basque and Inuit structures, an industrial charcoal production...

  • The whaling stations of Chateau Bay and Pleasure Harbour (Labrador, Canada), revisiting a temporary settlement model (2014)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Agustin Azkarate. Sergio Escribano-Ruiz.

    Various whaling stations in Labrador were identified and excavated in the 1980s thanks to the work of several Basque archaeologists. Two of the stations, Chateau Bay and Pleasure Harbour, were the subject of systematic excavations. The important results obtained complement and enrich the Basque fisheries model, and yet Canadian archaeological histiography ignores or omits that contribution. The predominant model has been fixed and consolidated around the Red Bay excavations. Neither the case...

  • «Where Patriotism and Loyalty Intersect with Truth:» The Archaeology and Public Engagement of the 1947 Pine Camp Barracks Fire (2014)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only William Fitzhugh.

    At approximately 0230 in the early morning of December 10, 1947 an officer’s barracks, T-2278, caught fire. The building burned, killing 5 U.S. Army Officers. This event marks the only structural fire in the history of what is now Fort Drum, NY (then Pine Camp) that resulted in the loss of human life. In the Summer of 2012, the Fort Drum Cultural Resources Section conducted a magnetometry survey and excavations of the site, in order to determine its eligibility for listing on the National...