2015 Louisiana Studies Conference Presentation Abstract

“Household Material Culture of the Late 18th and Early 19th Centuries in the Natchitoches Region: An Archaeological Look at the Rivière Aux Cannes and Bayou Pierre Communities”

Presented by Jeffrey S. Girard, Cane River National Heritage Area and Northwestern State University

 Profound economic changes took place in Louisiana following the transfer of the colony from France to Spain in the mid-1760s. Of considerable importance was the founding of ranching and farming communities beyond the confines of the town of Natchitoches. To the south, the Bayou Brevelle and Rivière Aux Cannes communities consisting of French and Creole families with varying numbers of enslaved African workers farmed and raised livestock in the Red River floodplain. North of town, settlers of French, Spanish, and Native American descent formed the dispersed communities of Campti and Bayou Pierre where ranching and trade were primary economic activities. Archaeological investigations provide considerable information about the household material culture of these peoples during the late 18th and early 19th centuries. This paper compares materials recovered from sites in the Bayou Pierre and Rivière Aux Cannes areas to examine economic and social relationships in these settlements.