Date of Award

Spring 2017

Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Dr. Michael S. Nassaney

Second Advisor

Dr. Jose Antonio Brandão

Third Advisor

Dr. Britt Hartenberger


Fort St. Joseph, architecture, 18th century, New France, ldentity

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access


Throughout New France, Native and non-Native peoples frequently interacted as a result of French colonialism. These prolonged relationships affected the ways in which people identified themselves and others around them. To explore this dynamic process, historical archaeologists can examine the material culture left behind. Architectural remains are particularly informative because inhabitants construct their buildings in accordance to their needs and cultural values. Fort St. Joseph, an eighteenth-century mission, garrison, and trading post, is utilized as a case study to examine architecture and how it was employed to express identity. Daily interaction between Native and French peoples in the fur trade provides scholars with an opportunity to explore the varying effects of cultural interaction on identity. Architectural elements discovered through excavation at the fort offer insights on the techniques and materials used in the construction of its buildings. Historic documents reveal little information on the fort’s built environment, highlighting the importance of archaeological evidence. This study examines the architectural remains of Fort St. Joseph in order to determine the types of construction techniques and materials used by the fort’s occupants. Knowledge gleaned about the techniques and materials employed will provide evidence for how occupants were choosing to express their identity through architecture at an important frontier outpost on the edge of empire.