An Examination of Gunflints From the Fort St. Joseph Site (20BE23) in Niles, Michigan

Part of the Fort St. Joseph Archaeological project

Author(s): Cezar Carvalhaes

Year: 2011


French colonial North America was settled in order to expand the fur trade and also secure the North American interior from British incursions. During the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, France had come to occupy huge swathes of land in North America, establishing a trading empire from Newfoundland to the Rocky Mountains, and from Hudson Bay southward along the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico. As the fur trade expanded, the Great Lakes region proved vital to France’s interests, and near the juncture of the main waterways connecting New France and the Louisiana territory, Fort St. Joseph became one of the most important trading posts in the region. The types of goods imported can provide insights into the economic, political and social relations within the colony. Gunflints are some of the most prevalent artifacts found at North American colonial sites and can inform us about the occupations at these archaeological sites from the origin of their manufacture to how they were being used.

At Fort St. Joseph 120 complete, or nearly complete gunflints were recovered and analyzed for this study. Because French and English gunflints have distinctive attributes it is possible to source gunflints to their country of manufacture. Gunflint sizes can also be correlated with firearm type, such as muskets, fowlers and tradeguns, which are suited for different sized flints. In addition to this, analysis of wear patterns on gunflints may provide us with an idea of the relative prevalence or scarcity of gunflints at the site. Finally, the specific locations of gunflints can also shed light on past activities and intra- site spatial organization.

Cite this Record

An Examination of Gunflints From the Fort St. Joseph Site (20BE23) in Niles, Michigan. Cezar Carvalhaes. 2011 ( tDAR id: 372399) ; doi:10.6067/XCV8V40S45

This Resource is Part of the Following Collections

Temporal Coverage

Calendar Date: 1691 to 1781

Spatial Coverage

min long: -86.285; min lat: 41.794 ; max long: -86.238; max lat: 41.827 ;

Individual & Institutional Roles

Principal Investigator(s): Michael Nassaney

File Information

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an-examination-of-gunflints-from-the-fort-st-joseph-site-20be2... 13.77mb Dec 6, 2011 1:03:40 PM Public