Date of Award


Document Type

Campus Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Historical Archaeology

First Advisor

Stephen A. Mrozowski

Second Advisor

Stephen W. Silliman

Third Advisor

David Landon


This thesis examines maritime firearms curation practices in the Atlantic world in the late seventeenth and early eighteenth century, using assemblages from six shipwreck sites dating between 1686-1718. Binford's (1979) original construction of the curation concept ,later critiques and revisions are reviewed and Shott's (1996) definition is adopted for this study. Binford's original five categories of curation practices are adapted for use with late seventeenth- and early eighteenth-century firearms users. An overview is provided of the nature of shipwreck sites and their ability to provide fine-grained assemblages for study, and the reason for using them to study firearms curation practices are presented in terms of Martin's (2001) call to combine generalist and particularist approached in historical archaeological studies. A detailed analysis of six sites is conducted, focusing on the firearms in each, along with other gun-related artifacts. The sites are: the 1686 French colony ship La Belle from Texas, the 1690 New England militia transport Elizabeth and Mary from Quebec, the presumed 1691 Spanish merchantmen Pedro Bank V site from Jamaica, the 1697 Portuguese frigate Santo Antonio de Tanna from Kenya, the 1704 French privateer La Dauphine from France, and the presumed 1718 pirate ship Beaufort Inlet site from North Carolina. Evidence to support the broad adoption of three of these categories is presented and recommendations are made for future work.


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