Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Digging at Fort de Chartres 2011

I thought I’d begin this blog with a bit of news. Last November, Dr Margaret Brown and I led a small crew to the site of what we now believe to have been the third of four incarnations of “Fort de Chartres”, constructed by the French near the Mississippi River (near the old French town of Prairie du Rocher, Illinois) in 1732. In just six days of digging, we managed to expose portions of the fort’s north east bastion –  deep trenches that supported the palisade walls, and two pit features containing a range of artifacts used inside the fort during the 1740s and early 1750s. The sample is one of our best glimpses into life at the fort (and the surrounding community of Chartres) during the heyday of the French colony in Illinois.

The site is located near the reconstructed remains of the fourth (and final) Fort de Chartres  - this one made of stone during the 1750s. It was abandoned in 1771, and was partially rebuilt as a state historic site during the mid 20th century.

I will feature some of the artifacts found at Fort III in upcoming posts. We also shot a little video of the November excavation: