Glass Beads from Champlain's Habitation on Saint Croix Island, Maine, 1604-1613


One of the earliest French attempts at settlement in northeastern North America occurred on a small island in the St. Croix River along the Maine/New Brunswick border. Built under the auspices of Pierre Dugua, Sieur de Mons, and his young lieutenant, Samuel de Champlain, this settlement barely survived the winter of 1604-1605 and was abandoned the following summer. Given its clear historical association and brief occupation, the glass beads from St. Croix Island are an important archaeological marker for reconstructing French influence during the first decades of the 17th century. Knowing who used these beads in trade, however, does not indicate where they were made. Current evidence suggests that many, and perhaps most, of these beads were produced at the Carel-Soop glasshouse in Amsterdam (1601-1624) and are a material expression of the culturally diverse partnerships that sponsored many of the early-17th- century voyages to Terra Nova.