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Du Luth and Hennepin among the Dakota: The Archaeology of Initial French Exploration West of Lake Superior

Author(s): David Mather

Year: 2014

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Summary

In the late seventeenth century, the area that is now the State of Minnesota was the frontier of exploration for New France. At the western edge of Lake Superior, Minnesota offered passage into the then-unknown extent of the Mississippi River watershed, and establishment of trade with the Dakota (Sioux) Indians. Daniel Greysolon Sieur du Luth traveled across the Great Lakes and overland to the Dakota communities at Mille Lacs Lake in 1679. Father Louis Hennepin resided at Mille Lacs among the Dakota in 1680. The writings of Du Luth and Hennepin prompted early archaeological research at Mille Lacs in the late nineteenth century, with discoveries that eventually led to designation of the Kathio National Historic Landmark District in 1964. Later work allowed development of a local archaeological chronology, arguably reflecting millennia of Dakota history. This paper examines the brief period of Dakota and French contact at Mille Lacs (locally designated the Bradbury Phase) through mortuary, household and environmental archaeology, as well as the ‘Du Luth Stone’ in Pine County, a possible survey marker from Du Luth’’s overland exploration in 1679.


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Du Luth and Hennepin among the Dakota: The Archaeology of Initial French Exploration West of Lake Superior. David Mather. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, Quebec City, Quebec, Canada. 2014 ( tDAR id: 437084)


Record Identifiers

PaperId(s): SYM-54,06

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