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date: 06 June 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter provides a brief review of the archaeology of French colonial Louisiana, covering the period of nominal French control over the Lower Mississippi Valley and Gulf Coast between 1699 and 1768. The authors situate major archaeological findings from Lower Louisiana within a framework that questions the territorial and material sovereignty of empire. It is not simply that ‘the French’ failed to execute a master plan, but rather that colonialism on the ground never conformed to the spatial imaginaries of mapmakers. The classic heuristic division of ‘Native American’, ‘French’, and ‘African’ as the three hearths of Louisiana’s creole culture breaks down almost immediately upon studying the lived practices of specific village, fort, and plantation sites. Colonial zones were spatially porous, temporally undulant, and materially hybrid.

Keywords: French colonial, Louisiana, New Orleans, Lower Mississippi Valley, Gulf South, colonialism, plantation, slavery, urban archaeology

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