Reconstitution des environnements holocènes et historiques dans le cours inférieur de la rivière Saint-Charles, Québec

Authors: Querrec, Lydia
Advisor: Auger, RéginaldFilion, Louise
Abstract: This dissertation documents the environmental history of Québec City, preceding and after the first European establishments in New France. Archaeological excavations at the Intendant Palace’s site, in Lower Town, has revealed an undisturbed sedimentary sequence and a section of a wooden palisade. This research is based on environmental and historical analyses and includes three sections. The first chapter describes a paleoecological reconstruction at two sites (Intendant’s Palace: PDI and Chateauguay: CHAT) located on the lower course of the Saint-Charles River, and dating as far back as the mid-Holocene up to the beginning of the European settlement of Quebec City. Geomorphological and macrofossil data along with a chronological framework established by using radiocarbon dating, suggest that the former river floodplain was influenced by two marine transgressions (Laurentian and Mitis). Macrofossil assemblages at the two sites indicate that the late-Holocene vegetation consisted of a mosaic of plant communities largely influenced by the local topography and proximity to the river bank. In the second chapter, we document the ecological and historical contexts of palisade construction at PDI. White cedar (Thuja occidentalis L.) posts were used to erect this defensive structure, a species which was probably common in the site’s vicinity. Based on tree-ring data from archeological wood, we conclud that the palisade was quickly assembled in 1690 and 1691, for protection against enemy attacks. A long regional tree-ring chronology for white cedar, called the Saint-Laurent chronology (1489-2001), was constructed from the posts analysed. In the third chapter, we synthesize historical data in order to identify the environmental perceptions of the first european occupants of the Quebec City region and, to a broader scale, of New France. During the 17th and 18th centuries, Europeans experienced their new environment often through contacts with indigenous populations. Human settlement was possible through human adaptation to this new territory with the aim of exploiting its resources. Discovery of New France reflects the learned society’s passion for sciences and a sensitivity to nature.
Document Type: Thèse de doctorat
Issue Date: 2012
Open Access Date: 18 April 2018
Grantor: Université Laval
Collection:Thèses et mémoires

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