Tracing dietary practices at the Fortress of Louisbourg, Nova Scotia, Canada (1713-1758)

The present system of globalisation and the increasing interdependence of disparate human populations is rooted in the mass migration of people, non-human animals, crops and cultural beliefs from Eurasia to the Americas, Asia, Africa and Australia. In some regions, culinary traditions were easily superimposed onto a new landscape, while in other environmental contexts it was necessary to adapt dietary practices to align with available food resources. The Fortress of Louisbourg, in Nova Scotia, Canada, flourished in the first half of the 18th-century, protecting French cod fishing interests in the North Atlantic. The fortress drew residents, migratory fishers, and soldiers from Newfoundland, France, New France, and, after 1745, from the New England colonies of Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island. With such a diverse population, the Fortress of Louisbourg presents an intriguing example of the persistence and adaptability of food systems on the rocky coast of Cape Breton. This project uses stable isotope analysis of bone, dentine collagen and amino acids, human osteology, and statistical modelling to explore the fluidity and resilience of dietary systems in an increasingly connected Atlantic world.

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