The Archaeology of the French in the New World

Part of: Society for Historical Archaeology 2018

From the mid-16th century to the present, France and French influence have shaped the experience of life in the New World. European French and enslaved Africans brought to the French territories engaged with indigenous peoples throughout the Americas, forming complex Métis and Creolized cultures. These cultures and settlements remained vibrant throughout the French colonial period and long after the French metropole abandoned large-scale colonial ambitions. Until recently archaeological investigations of New World Francophone societies focused on New Orleans, the Caribbean and Québec, but a growing body of studies highlight that French cultural influence extended beyond these strongholds. Contributors to this session will explore different facets of the French and Francophone presence in New World societies, using a wide range of archaeological methodologies.

Resources Inside This Collection (Viewing 1-17 of 17)

  • Documents (17)

  • Analysis Of The Building Floor Of A French Colonial Structure In St. Charles, Missouri (2018)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Alexandra C Snyder. Steve Dasovich.

    This paper describes the analysis of an in situ dirt floor from a French Colonial structure in St. Charles, Missouri.  The floor is a prepared floor, constructed of homogenous soil brought from off-site and is similar in thickness throughout.  The only identified wall of the structure is poteaux sur sole.  In and above the floor, the structure also contained a double-firepit hearth.  Artifacts types within the floor are varied, but include several chronological markers indicating French...

  • The Architectural Evolution of Quebec City’s Lower Town: 350 Years of Urbanization (2018)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Reginald Auger. Allison L Bain.

    The past 25 years of collaborative archaeological research between the City of Quebec and Université Laval is an exemplary case study of combining public education, site development and academic training. We studied local urbanization during the development of New France and after the Conquest as a result of past political and economic decisions. Using the case study of our annual field school at the îlot des Palais or Intendant’s Palace site, we focus here on thematic research linked to the...

  • Are There Any French Glass Beads In Quebec (16th and 17th Centuries)? (2018)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only adelphine bonneau. Reginald Auger. Bernard Gratuze. Jean-François Moreau.

    Hundreds of pounds of glass beads were imported among other goods by French settlers during the historical period. Those glass beads are found on several contexts from trading posts to Jesuits houses; alone or on objects: chaplets, bracelets, cloths. Although those beads were imported by French people, were they manufactured in France? If not, where do they come from? Is there a difference between beads found in trading posts and those from French settlements (settler use)? Is it possible to...

  • Both local and lointain: Environmental Archaeology and Palaeoecology at the îlot des Palais site, Quebec City. (2018)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Allison L Bain. Reginald Auger.

    A decade of environmental and palaeoecological research at the îlot des Palais or Intendant’s Palace site in Quebec City has yielded rich and detailed datasets that document the site’s transformation from a marshy riverside setting to an important hive of activity for Intendants, artisans and occupants. The methods presented in this paper include archaeoentomology, zooarchaeology, dendrochronology and macrobotanical analyses. They demonstrate that products imported from the metropole and within...

  • Buffers, Bridges, and Bastards: French Missourian’s Approaches to living in an Occupied Territory (2018)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Erin Whitson.

    After France lost its North American territories in 1763, many Francophone citizens living west of the Mississippi River found themselves suddenly living in Spanish owned lands. They also found themselves staring into the face of an encroaching and overreaching Anglo population to the east. This paper explores a few ways Francophones in Missouri adjusted to the changing political and territorial situation within the region in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Starting with the presence of...

  • Constructing the Borderzone: The Role of Positional Warfare and Natural Border Ideology on a 17th Century French Colonial Landscape (2018)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Andrew Beaupre.

    The majority of archaeological interpretations of French involvement in North America have not accounted for underlying European social constructs and ideologies. As archaeological investigations of the French In North America move away from recognized strongholds and expands through the greater French Atlantic World, a critical examination of the archaeological record through these constructs is vital. This paper examines one episode of 17th century expansionism along the Lake Champlain...

  • Cultural Identity and Materiality at French Fort St. Joseph (20BE23), Niles, Michigan (2018)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Michael Nassaney.

    Fort St. Joseph was one of many French colonial outposts established throughout the St. Lawrence River Valley and the western Great Lakes region in the late 17th-18th centuries to cultivate alliances with Native peoples. The result was an exchange, amalgamation, and reinterpretation of material goods that testify to the close relationships the French maintained with various Native American groups. Yet, closer examination suggests that both the French and Natives employed material goods in...

  • Finding the French in Fairfax County, Virginia (2018)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Douglas Comer.

    On 10 July 1780, Lieutenant General Comte de Rochambeau arrived in Narragansett Bay off Newport, Rhode Island, with 450 officers and 5,300 men to assist the British colonies in North America in their struggle to gain independence from the British Empire. In June of 1781, they marched south to Yorktown, Virginia. The cannon brought by Lieutenant General Rochambeau and the French fleet under the command of Admiral de Grasse were essential in what proved to be the decisive battle of the...

  • Foodways in the 18th Century Mississippi Valley (2018)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Meredith Hardy. Elizabeth M Scott.

    Archaeological investigations up and down the Mississippi River Valley have produced a wealth of information about the ways people in French and Spanish colonies identified, obtained, and consumed food. Evidence regarding the maintenance of tradition and the emergence of new practice is found in the remains of foods and the wares used to prepare and serve them. In this paper, we present these practices from sites along the expanse of the Mississippi River, highlighting their differences and...

  • Genealogical Approaches to Acadian Diaspora Ethnoarchaeology (2018)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Steven R. Pendery.

    The Acadian diaspora began in 1755 and involved the sudden deportation of about 6,500 Acadian men, women and children from their homeland in what is now Nova Scotia, Canada. Of these, about 2,650 eventually found their way to Louisiana. Central to the retention of an Acadian identity was the tracking of family genealogies as members became dispersed across three continents. Today, four  Acadian study centers conbtribute to managing this robust literature. However, our understanding of the...

  • Hot Sauce and Colonial Degeneracy (2018)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Maureen D Costura.

    According to Buffon’s theories of colonial degeneracy French individuals residing or born in the Caribbean were subject to the influences of the islands in the form of both climate based adaptation and terroir based alteration.  Foods from the islands, particularly foods which fit the Galenic categories of heat and moisture, were especially damaging, causing otherwise moderate Europeans to become hot blooded, violent, lascivious, and immoderate.  Despite the injunctions to avoid the pollution of...

  • Old Mobile: The Internal Structure of An Early 18th-Century French Colonial Town (2018)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Gregory Waselkov.

    Twenty-nine years of archaeological investigations at the townsite known as Old Mobile, capital of the French colony of Louisiane from 1702 to 1711, has revealed ten structures in considerable detail, as well as information on the distribution of other structures throughout the town. Recent new overlays of the two extant historical maps of the settlement permit an evaluation of those two cartographic sources, as well as interpretations of the occupants of the excavated structures. The map...

  • Poule Au Pot: Animal Remains from French Colonial Sites in the Old Village of St. Louis (2018)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Terrance Martin. Michael J. Meyer.

    Since 2013, Missouri Department of Transportation archaeologists have investigated grounds under and around the highway ramps leading to the Poplar Street Bridge in downtown St. Louis, an area that was part of the original village of St. Louis that was platted in 1764. Excavations have revealed the remains of several eighteenth-century poteaux-en-terre structures, cellars, and pit features that were associated with six French colonial properties. Zooarchaeological analyses of these parcels...

  • Regional Settlement Patterns in the Colonization of Historical Landscapes: the New Acadia Project Archaeological Survey (2018)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Mark A Rees. Donald Bourgeois.

    In 1765 more than 200 Acadian refugees settled on the natural levees along the Bayou Teche in south Louisiana. Two centuries later, the descendants of the Acadians were recognized as having created a homeland known as Acadiana. The Fausse Pointe region where the Acadian families initially settled, however, presented an unfamiliar and difficult environment in an already inhabited landscape. The New Acadia Project has systematically surveyed portions of a ten mile segment of the Teche Ridge in...

  • Trade and Mobility in the Late Eighteenth-Century River World of the Western Great Lakes: the Case of Réaume’s Leaf River Post (2018)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Amelie Allard.

    This paper examines the lived experiences of French Canadian fur traders in the late eighteenth-century western Great Lakes region. Even as they labored under – sometimes actively resisted - the Anglo-Scot masters of the trade, a life of travel away from colonial centers provided an arena for voyageurs to enact and reproduce distinct sets of fur trade practices through the transmission of knowledge on the spot, as well as create a place for themselves at the intersection of British colonial...

  • "Where France Meets North America": A View from Anse à Bertrand, Saint-Pierre et Miquelon (2018)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Meghann Livingston. Catherine Losier.

    Saint-Pierre et Miquelon, long viewed as a peripheral French settlement was in fact essential to colonial expansion throughout the Atlantic World. Indeed, the historic salt-cod fisheries constitute one of the oldest persistent landscapes to hold economic significance for European nations in the New World. Saint-Pierre et Miquelon represents a unique facet within this maritime landscape considering it was seasonally occupied at the beginning of the 17th century and that it would become the only...

  • You Say You Want A Revolution? Diverging Consequences Of The French Revolution On French Caribbean Slave Societies. (2018)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Kenneth Kelly.

    The late 18th century was a period of tremendous social and political upheaval throughout the Atlantic World, as revolution wracked the British colonies of North America, leading to the establishment of the United States.  The American Revolution in turn inspired the French Revolution, with far-reaching impacts throughout the Americas, including the abolition of slavery in some colonies, revolution in other colonies, and a degree of stasis in yet other French colonies.  All of these outcomes had...