The historical archaeology of a French fortification in the colony of Plaisance : the vieux fort site (ChAl-04), Placentia, Newfoundland

Crompton, Amanda J. (2012) The historical archaeology of a French fortification in the colony of Plaisance : the vieux fort site (ChAl-04), Placentia, Newfoundland. Doctoral (PhD) thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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Abstract

This is an archaeological and historical study of the Vieux Fort archaeological site (ChAl-04) in Placentia (formerly Plaisance), Newfoundland. Plaisance was the location of the only official French colony in Newfoundland. The French held the colony until it was ceded to the English under the terms of the Treaty of Utrecht in 1713. The Vieux Fort was, between 1662 and 1690, the only fortification in Plaisance, and was the first garrisoned fortification in Newfoundland. -- The artifacts and features unearthed at the Vieux Fort site have allowed a reconstruction of the Vieux Fort, which is not well-documented historically. The Vieux Fort was a substantial fortification; it was reasonably large, with some considerable effort expended on constructing stone buildings inside the fort. Four years of archaeological investigation at the barracks building permit a detailed analysis of the daily lives of the soldiers and officers posted to the fort. The half-company of soldiers who lived at the barracks only had their basic needs partially met by the state; soldiers spent a portion of their time working as fishing servants for Plaisance's colonists to augment their pay and their rations. The artifacts from the Vieux Fort are representative of the world of goods that circulated in the early colony. The analysis of the artifacts, coupled with a detailed investigation of archival documents, allows the trade networks that supported the colony to be explored. The colony of Plaisance was firmly embedded in the French Atlantic world; from its earliest years, the colony was well-connected to France and to other settlements in North America. -- The Vieux Fort was occupied only until 1690, when it was destroyed during an English raid on the colony. The fort was never rebuilt, and the land remained largely unoccupied. Unlike the other French forts, dwellings or infrastructure in the colony, the Vieux Fort was never re-used by the English after 1714. The French contexts are thus undisturbed, and date to a period which is relatively poorly understood from historic documents. The Vieux Fort site thus provides an important new perspective on the formative years of the French colony at Plaisance.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral (PhD))
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/9656
Item ID: 9656
Department(s): Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of > Anthropology
Date: 2012
Date Type: Submission
Geographic Location: Canada--Newfoundland and Labrador--Placentia
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Fortification -- Newfoundland and Labrador -- Placentia; Colonization -- Newfoundland and Labrador -- Placentia; Excavations (Archaeology) -- Newfoundland and Labrador -- Placentia; Placentia (N.L.) -- Antiquities; Placentia (N.L.) -- History -- 17th century

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