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Threads across the Ocean: Investigating European Cloth in New France through Lead Seal Analysis

Author(s): Cathrine M. Davis

Year: 2017

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This presentation will seek to highlight the use of lead seals ("bale seals") as documentary artifacts that reveal pertinent information relative to the varieties of cloth and merchant networks once connected with archaeological sites. Used in the 17-18th centuries to mark merchandise, especially cloth, these metal tags are found in Europe and at European colonial sites, where they remain as silent witnesses to the markets and consumers of the past. Their markings and imprints give us a glimpse into textile trade in the French Atlantic world. Included in this presentation will be a discussion of ongoing comparative research concerning seal collections from three French colonial sites (Fort Saint-Joseph, Fort Carillon, Fortress Louisbourg) that differ in function, location, occupation dates, and cultural environment. The steps in the analysis of seals and the way in which the collected evidence reflects differences and similarities in textile consumption between these sites will be considered. 

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Threads across the Ocean: Investigating European Cloth in New France through Lead Seal Analysis. Cathrine M. Davis. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, Fort Worth, TX. 2017 ( tDAR id: 435400)


documentary artifacts French Textiles

Geographic Keywords
Canada North America

Temporal Keywords
17-18th centuries

Spatial Coverage

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

Record Identifiers

PaperId(s): 272

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