Droulers/Tsiionhiakwatha Archaeological Site Interpretation Center
Virtual Museum of Canada

Introduction

 

View from inside a longhouse, with its central alley, vertical and horizontal structural posts, drying and smoking fish, and hearth.

Inside a longhouse

At Saint-Anicet, in the Upper St. Lawrence, a small river called La Guerre flows down to the St. Lawrence River. Over time, its meanders have created a little valley, where, long before the French arrived, Iroquoian populations came to establish villages towards the end of the Late Woodland period (1000 to 1534 of our era).

Archaeologists attribute the material remains of these villages to people they have named the St. Lawrence Iroquoians. The designation includes Amerindian groups related linguistically and culturally to the populations encountered by Jacques Cartier. Recent archaeological research in the Upper St. Lawrence has identified numerous sites on which their characteristic longhouses were built between 1300 and 1534.

The most important event marking the history of eastern Canada before the arrival of Samuel de Champlain in 1603 was the disappearance of the St. Lawrence Iroquoians. What happened to them? There are many hypotheses, but the dispersion of these peoples remains enigmatic for archaeologists and historians.

These nations may have disappeared, but they left behind indelible traces of their presence in the St. Lawrence Valley. Based on major archaeological discoveries made on the Droulers site over the past fifteen years, the story of these Iroquoian people is recounted here.