Historical Archaeology of French America

Part of: Society for Historical Archaeology 2014

The colonial endeavors of France in the New World created a widely dispersed territory, encompassing the regions between the Atlantic Ocean and the Great Lakes, and lands between the Hudson Bay and Gulf of Mexico. This session aims to explore the different realities experienced by French colonists and French-descended communities across the North American continent. Archaeological evidence reveals an interpretation of Old World traditions in New World contexts, during and after the colonial regime and through interaction with Native Americans, Africans, and other Europeans. These papers highlight the complexity and diversity of French America as only historical archaeology can do. In addition, they point the way toward important questions that remain, questions that should be counted among future research into France in the New World.

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

  • Documents (12)

  • Access to First Choice Foods and Settlement Failure at French Azilum (2014)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Maureen Costura.

    Azilum in northern Pennsylvania was a thriving community of French aristocrats and enslaved Africans that existed from 1793-1809. Despite many advantages, including wealth and cultural capital, the settlement eventually vanished. This paper will argue that a major detrimental factor to the success of Azilum was the lack of access to first choice foods. Modern global food systems are designed in part to assure cultural elites constant access to first choice foods. In the case of Azilum,...

  • Archaeological Evidence of two French Colonial Buildings in St. Charles, Missouri (2014)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Steve Dasovich.

    Living floors for two buildings have been identified at the French Colonial Louis Blanchette Site in St. Charles, Missouri (circa 1770). Based upon artifacts found in the floors, one building has been tentatively associated with the founder and first ‘mayor’ of the City of St. Charles, Louis Blanchette. The second building has been tentatively associated with Blanchette’s successor, Don Carlos Tayon, dating back to approximately 1793. While neither floor has been completely excavated,...

  • An Examination of Dietary Differences between French and British Households of Post-Conquest Canada (2014)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Kristen Walczesky.

    The examination of faunal remains from archaeological sites provides a wealth of information pertaining to the diets of past peoples. This original research focuses on the analysis of animal remains from two sites that date to post-Conquest Canada. One assemblage is from a 1780-1820s British use of a privy associated with the Intendant’s palace in Québec City. The second assemblage is from a 1780-1850s French occupation of the New Farm, located on Geese Island outside of Québec City. These...

  • The expansion and influence of Catholicism within the development of the Oregon Territory: A case study of St. Joseph’s College, the first Catholic boarding school for boys in the region (2014)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Cayla Hill.

    The site of St. Joseph’s College (35MA67) is located within St. Paul, Oregon, a French-Canadian settlement appropriately positioned on French Prairie, which is also home to the first Roman Catholic mission in the Pacific Northwest, established in 1839 by Father Francois Norbert Blanchet of Quebec. On October 17th, 1843 St. Joseph’s College was officially dedicated as a boarding school for boys, the first of its kind within the Oregon Territory. Both Fathers Antoine Langlois and...

  • French Hegemony in Spanish Louisiana and the Collapse of Mercantilism (2014)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Rob Mann.

    During the late 18th century several hundred Canary Islanders (Isleños) were relocated to a remote village at the very edge of Spanish Louisiana. Recent archaeological investigations at the site of this village, known as Galveztown, are beginning to reveal the complex social processes at work on the Spanish frontier. Due to restrictive Spanish economic policies, grounded in a weak and contradiction-riddled mercantilism, the Isleños had very little control over the materiality of their daily...

  • Hand to Mouth: Colonial Frontier Foodways at Fort Rosalie, Natchez, Mississippi (2014)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Meredith Hardy.

    Foodways of the French colonial frontier, especially at military and trading outposts, can tell us how a French garrison and neighboring habitants adapted and survived in remote areas. The desire to maintain identity and social status in traditional manner would have been difficult for Europeans living far away from coastal trading ports and ready access to goods. This paper examines 18th-century colonial foodways at a remote garrison as represented by the material culture recovered during...

  • Identifying with the Help: an Examination of Class, Ethnicity and Gender on a Post-Colonial French Houselot (2014)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Erin Whitson.

    The French presence in the Middle Mississippi River valley has received relatively little attention through archaeological investigation. Outbuildings (as well as those living and/or working within outbuildings) in these French contexts, has received even less reflection and deserves to be addressed to understand more fully what life was like in French North America. First owned by the Janis family in the 1790s, the Janis-Ziegler property was designed to house and sustain both the main family...

  • Secondary Colonization and the Persistence of Cultural Traditions: A Look at Ceramic Consumption in Post-Conquest Québec (2014)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Elizabeth Scott.

    In settings of secondary colonization, where one European colony is conquered and colonized by another European nation, the material culture available to all residents is controlled by the conquering nation. Perhaps one of the clearest cases of this was in post-Conquest New France, where the conquering British put in place after 1760 an embargo on all goods from France. Thus, the large numbers of French residents who continued to live in Canada had access only to goods from Britain or conveyed...

  • The storehouse of the Loyola habitation site in French Guiana (ca. 1725-1768) (2014)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Antoine Loyer-Rousselle.

    The Loyola habitation (1668-1769) is a Jesuit missionaries’ plantation located in French Guiana. The establishment was dedicated to the production of sugar, indigo, coffee, cocoa, and cotton to finance missions of evangelization among Amerindian groups in South America. The storehouse inventory included tools, food, alcohol and imported goods. This presentation will focus on the excavations conducted on this building. These unearthed a large quantity of building hardware and architectural...

  • A Study of French Colonial Ceramics at the Louie Blanchette Site (23SC2010) (2014)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Courtney Cox. Brianna Patterson.

    Louie Blanchette, a French Canadian, settled what would later become St. Charles, Missouri in 1769. Little is known about him due to his illiteracy, but some documentation and analysis of the area in which he lived has brought more light on his role in the French frontier. This site overlooks the Missouri River and contains at least three buildings. Those buildings have been identified through recent archaeological investigations through field schools. A variety of French colonial ceramics...

  • Use of Animals at the Laurens North Site, the Location of Fort de Chartres III in the Illinois Country (2014)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Terrance Martin.

    Limited investigation of the northern portion of the Laurens site (Randolph County, Illinois) during 2011 and 2012 is contributing to a better understanding of animal exploitations patterns by French colonial residents of the Central Mississippi River Valley, an area recognized during the early 18th century as Upper Louisiana. Do comparisons of various feature deposits at the site reveal any significant differences of animal use? Whereas this most recent work has resulted in the site being...

  • The Winners Write the History: The French-Canadian Archaeological Project in Oregon (2014)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only David Brauner.

    The land based fur trade in the Pacific Northwest began in 1811 with the establishment of Fort Astoria at the mouth of the Columbia River. The Astor Company sold out to the Northwest Company in 1812 and with the merger of the Northwest Company and the Hudson’s Bay Company (HBC) in 1821 the HBC became the dominant economic and political force in the Northwest until 1848. After 1848 the United States of America gained control of most of the Old Oregon Country. Young metis men from eastern Canada...