Archeologist to Lecture at A&M International on Famed French Shipwreck

The fascinating story of the La Belle, a French ship which sank in 1686 off Texas' Matagorda Bay, will be part of a presentation by Texas Historical Commission (THC) archeologist Mike Davis at Texas A&M International University, Wednesday, April 7 at 7 p.m. in Pellegrino Hall 115.

The event is hosted by the Webb County Archeology Society and A&M International's College of Arts Humanities. There is no charge for admission and the public is encouraged to attend.

Davis' presentation is titled "La Belle, La Salle and Fort St. Louis." In addition to his first-hand experience with the La Belle excavation, his lecture will focus on the La Belle's owner, the French explorer La Salle and his doomed attempt to establish Fort St. Louis as a French post in Texas.

A&M International visiting instructor Jaclyn Jeffrey said the lecture will help to shed light on a little known part of Texas' history.

"Fort St. Louis, established in 1685 near present-day Victoria, was La Salle's attempt to establish a foothold for the French in Texas. The ill-fated fort, together with the ship-wrecked La Belle, adds a new dimension to our understanding of French history in Texas," she explained.

At the time of its sinking, the La Belle contained bronze cannons, more than 750,000 trade beads, muskets, and numerous other goods which La Salle intended to trade with the Indians in Texas and Mexico.

The THC has been excavating the ship from the bottom of the bay, using the most sophisticated marine archeological methods, for the past four years.

In addition to his 7 p.m. presentation, Davis will discuss archeology and cultural resources management, its role in the Texas economy and its potential as a career choice with students at 9 a.m. in Bullock Hall 206. Visitors are welcomed to join the student discussion.

For additional information, please contact the Office of Public Affairs and Information Services at 326.2180.

University office hours are from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday.

Journalists who need additional information or help with media requests and interviews should contact the Office of Public Affairs and Information Services at pais@tamiu.edu