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Unearthing A French-Canadian Mystery

Lindenwood University

Archaeological research has turned up some interesting finds in St. Charles, Missouri. 

Old living floors for two buildings have been identified and one of the buildings is believed to be associated with the town's founder, Louis Blanchette. The site dates back to around 1770.

Dr. Steve Dasovich, Director of the Department of Anthropology and Sociology at Lindenwood University, his students and volunteers have been doing the research. 

"When we first announced we had possibly found his homestead site, it made headlines across Canada.  The headlines went something like 'French Canadian Done Good In Missouri', and that's how they worded it up there," Dasovich said.

Credit Lindenwood University
Steve Dasovich

He adds that Blanchette was born about an hour south of Quebec City.  He came to Missouri as an explorer and wound up staying. 

The discovery of the earth floors, still about 3 feet under the ground's surface, could result in learning more about Blanchette and the period in which he lived.  But the dramatic sloping of one floor has resulted in more questions than answers.

"It's definitely odd," Dasovich said. "It slopes upward to the east.  And it's the east (side) that has no evidence of  having a wall there. It looks like it was open air on that side of the building."

"Which means if it rains, water is running in from that direction.  I don't have any explanation for that right now.  We're certainly doing some research in other French Colonial archaeological sites across North America to see if other people have similar types of buildings.  So far, nobody has told me they have a similar situation."

Dasovich will speak more on their work during the next Illinois State Museum Science Series lecture, Wednesday in Springfield. It's part of the Illinois State Museum's Paul Mickey Science Lecture Series.  The event takes place at the Museum's Research and Collections Center at 1011 East Ash Street.  It begins at 7 Wednesday night and it's free to attend.

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