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The Archaeology of God’s Wrath – A Major Earthquake on the East Coast in 1663

Author(s): Melanie Rousseau

Year: 2015

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On the evening of February 5th, 1663, an earthquake estimated to between 7.2 and 7.8 on the Richter scale begins. It is felt from the actual state of New York up to Quebec City and from Montreal to Tadoussac. For Christians this first quake represents the eve of Judgement Day. The earth continues to quake for seven months. The quake is interpreted as God’s Wrath following years of alcohol trade and consumption as well as generally poor behaviour in the colony such as a recurring failure to attend mass and to confess. The priests receive confessions day and night, people are returning to the Church and Native Americans are converting to Christianity for weeks on end. This presentation will discuss the traces of this earthquake possibly encountered at the Intendant’s Palace site in Quebec City (CeEt-30), as well as the various impacts the event has had on the landscape of the region it affected. 

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The Archaeology of God’s Wrath – A Major Earthquake on the East Coast in 1663. Melanie Rousseau. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, Seattle, Washington. 2015 ( tDAR id: 433928)


Temporal Keywords
French Regime

Spatial Coverage

min long: -141.003; min lat: 41.684 ; max long: -52.617; max lat: 83.113 ;

Record Identifiers

PaperId(s): 43

Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America