Date of Award


Level of Access Assigned by Author

Open-Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




Alaric Faulkner

Second Committee Member

Richard Judd

Third Committee Member

Warren Riess


Settled on the often disputed border of New England and Acadia during the last quarter of the 17th century, the Baron Jean Vincent de l’Abbadie de St. Castin operated a trading post at the confluence of the Penobscot and Bagaduce Rivers near the modem town of Castin, Maine. Castin was an entrepreneur who traded with the Abenaki Indians of Acadia and Maine for peltry. Although he was French, Castin exchanged this peltry with Massachusetts merchants in order to get the European trade items necessary to supply his Abenaki clientele. Castin preferred trade to warfare, nevertheless, he was often embroiled in violent disputes between New England and Acadia, as well as conflicts between the Abenaki Indians and New Englanders.

Using 17th-century maps in conjunction with subsurface testing, the site of St. Castin’s Habitation was located in 1983. Excavations followed in 1984 and 1990-1993. Because it was a place where French, English, and Indian cultures converged, St. Castin’s Habitation provides a unique opportunity to study the way Europeans and Indians interacted on the Acadian frontier. Analysis of the thousands of artifacts recovered from the site, especially those associated with trade, show how cultural boundaries were readily crossed in order to survive, and in Castin’s case, prosper.

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