La Belle: The Archaeology of a Seventeenth-Century Ship of New World Colonization

Author(s): Jim Bruseth

Year: 2016

Summary

La Belle was a ship used by the seventeenth-century French explorer Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle in his effort to establish a French colony along the northern Gulf of Mexico.  Ultimately La Belle wrecked along today’s Texas Gulf Coast in 1686.  The wreck was discovered in 1995 and resulted in a multi-year year program of excavation, conservation, interpretation, reporting, and exhibition. This paper will present the results of all these phases of  analysis and reporting by summarizing the progression from excavation of the wreck inside a steel cofferdam in 1996-1997 to the planned major exhibition of the ship at the Bullock Texas State History Museum.  The paper will also discuss what has been learned from La Belle.  The wrecking of the ship doomed La Salle’s effort to establish a French colony along the northern Gulf of Mexico but compelled Spain to explore the region and to occupy the land.

Cite this Record

La Belle: The Archaeology of a Seventeenth-Century Ship of New World Colonization. Jim Bruseth. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, Washington, D.C. 2016 ( tDAR id: 435050)

Keywords

Temporal Keywords
Seventeenth Century

Spatial Coverage

min long: -129.199; min lat: 24.495 ; max long: -66.973; max lat: 49.359 ;

Record Identifiers

PaperId(s): 142