Archaeologies of Acadia: From Homeland to Diaspora

Part of: Society for Historical Archaeology 2014

From the 1630s to 1755, French Acadian families prospered in the Maritime Provinces of Canada. These communities created agricultural settlements such as Port Royal, Grand-Pré and Beaubassin. However, the Grand Dérangement (1755-1762) saw the deportation by New Englanders of thousands of French settlers to the American British colonies, Louisiana, France, England and other regions on the Atlantic seaboard. Over the past 30 years, archaeologists have shed light on the material culture, architecture, land use, and foodways of the Acadian settlers, yet much of this work is confined to grey literature and has not been mobilized by writers of history. Archaeological sites associated with the diasporic Acadians have been explored in far fewer numbers, which has left gaps in our understanding of important processes of creolization, alienation, racialization, and resilience. This session invites researchers to share the results of their investigations into pre-Deportation and diasporic Acadie.

Resources Inside This Collection (Viewing 1-12 of 12)

  • Documents (12)

  • Archaeological Dimensions of the Acadian Diaspora (2014)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Steven Pendery.

    The deportation and diaspora of more than 6000 Acadians beginning in 1755 led to progressive regroupings of survivors in Europe, North America, French Guiana, the Falkland Islands, and Haiti. Only after 1785 was a sizeable community established in Louisiana. This middle passage had a formative effect on diasporic Acadians, especially those born during transit. Random separations and destinations resulted in dendritic, rather than converging family histories. Creolization occurred at every step...

  • Archaeological Investigations of pre-1745 French Domestic Properties at Rochefort Point, Fortress of Louisbourg (2014)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Rebecca Dumham.

    From c. 1720 to 1745, three French domestic properties stood in the middle of Rochefort Point, a small peninsula extending beyond the east gate of the fortified town of Louisbourg. These properties were destroyed at the beginning stages of the first siege of Louisbourg in 1745 and concluded a short phase of French domestic life on Rochefort Point. Since the 18th century, climate change has heavily impacted the shoreline of Rochefort Point. Rising seas, powerful storms and shoreline erosion have...

  • Dating ‘aboiteaux’ with the use of dendroarchaeology : examples for Acadia (2014)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only André Robichaud. Colin Laroque.

    Land reclamation of marshlands for farming using ‘aboiteaux’ is a distinctive trait of Acadian culture. The dyke and drainage techniques were used early during colonization at Port-Royal and spread in all Acadian settlements around the Bay of Fundy where saltmarshes abound, particularly at Grand-Pré blessed with a most suitable environment and where settlers developed an extensive and remarkable farming system. After deportation, Acadians that resettled in the Maritimes continued to dyke salt...

  • French Migrations to Acadia:An Old Lifestyle in a New Setting (2014)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Birgitta Wallace.

    According to David Anthony (1990), the first stages of all long-distance migrations follow a leapfrogging pattern. Merchants, trappers, mercenaries and craft specialists create an “island” form of settlement in suitable locations separated by large stretches of land. The early French habitations reflected such a leapfrogging, exploratory settlement pattern, indicative of their exploitive and competitive nature. Settlements consisted of habitations in widely scattered coastal locations. Their...

  • The Fur Trading Posts of Early Acadia as Points of Cultural Exchange (2014)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Katie Cottreau-Robins.

    Historical records describing early seventeenth-century New France are numerous and varied. The writings of Lescarbot and Denys, the cartography of Champlain, and the mercantile documents of the day all lend insights to this contact period. Such records are particularly relevant for early Acadia and the movement of settlers, traders, and Mi’kmaq from the initial Annapolis Basin settlement area to the fur trading posts and forts developed along the coastline of Nova Scotia. Missing from the...

  • The Identity Question: What Can Archaeology Contribute to the Study of Acadian Ethnogenesis? (2014)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Jonathan Fowler.

    The consensus among historians suggests an Acadian national awakening dates to the pre-Deportation period and developed out of shared cultural patterns distinct to the new colonial society. However, the theoretical basis of this interpretation is at best problematic because it fails to take into account significant ‘ and by now mainstream ‘ developments in ethnicity studies. The consensus view also basically ignores the archaeological study of the pre-Deportation Acadian experience. This paper...

  • Insights into Acadian Husbandry Practices: A Zooarchaeological Perspective (2014)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Stéphane Noël.

    In the tidal marshlands of Nova Scotia, Acadian settlers were able to keep large herds of livestock, feeding them on readily available salt-marsh hay. Censuses from the 17th and 18th centuries indicate that many families were raising much more animals than what they needed for their subsistence. Acadian farmers could sell their cattle, for example, to New England merchants or to the colonists and soldiers at Louisbourg, in exchange for money or necessities. Integrated with historical sources...

  • The Landcestors: Preserving Acadian History in a Planter Settlement (2014)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Sara Beanlands.

    Shawbrook Farm, located in the community of Poplar Grove, Hants County, is believed to be part of a former Pre-Deportation Acadian settlement, known as Village Thibodeau. The village is depicted on a number of eighteenth-century maps and archaeological testing on an adjacent property in 2004 confirmed the presence of mid-eighteenth century archaeological resources in the area. Shawbrook Farm is also the site of an early Planter settlement, being part of the lands granted to Arnold Shaw in 1760,...

  • The New Acadia Project: Public Archaeology and Mythistory in Acadiana (2014)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Mark Rees.

    The Acadian exiles who arrived in Louisiana in 1765 were afflicted with epidemic disease. The founders of Nouvelle Acadie were buried at their homesteads along the Teche Ridge in the vicinity of present-day Loreauville. Yet these places and graves remain unmarked in collective memory, historical consciousness, and landscape. Creation of a Cajun homeland called Acadiana did not proceed directly from diaspora and colonization, but was a protracted result of economic processes, the politics of...

  • The recording of two diaspora Acadian families on Isle Saint-Jean (Prince Edward Island) (2014)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Robert Ferguson.

    In 1720, the Comte de Saint Pierre sent three ships from France to Isle Saint-Jean, the island known as Epekwitk to its Mi’kmaw inhabitants. Initially, the newcomers established two settlements, at Port la Joye and at Havre Saint-Pierre, and began the French occupation of the island. Isle Saint-Jean was part of the colony of Isle Royale. It was not considered a part of Acadia, which, by 1713, was under British domination and had been renamed Nova Scotia. In 1720, the Comte de Saint Pierre...

  • A Review of Archaeological Research at the Acadian Village of Beaubassin (2014)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Charles Burke.

    The Village of Beaubassin, settled in the 1670s by Acadians from the Port Royal area was attacked and destroyed twice by New England raiders and razed again in 1750 by French soldiers. Following the abandonment of the community, British troops built Fort Lawrence on the ruins of Beaubassin. Long known as an important and strategic Acadian community, the first archaeological excavations occurred in the 1950s, followed in 1968 by a major excavation of several house sites, a large scale salvage...

  • Seeds of misfortune: plant macroremains left in St. Peter’s Bay, PEI by Acadian deportees (2014)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Kevin Leonard.

    The brief but prosperous period of settlement at Havre St. Pierre introduced a wide range of new plant species. Macroremains recovered from excavations adjacent to an Acadian dwelling burnt (possibly by the British during the 1758 expulsion) and from the bottom of a nearby well reveal the extent of the impact on the local flora created by the Acadian residents whose lives were uprooted by colonial war.