Community Blog

Send us your blog entry submission regarding anything about archaeology and have your voice heard! Submissions should be sent to info@ontarioarchaeology.org as a .doc file. Blog entries should be read in a legible manner and formatting should be kept to a minimum. Please reference all photos appropriately. 

  • June 07, 2018 9:35 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    This is the first in a series of blog posts we're running in the lead-up to this year's Ontario Archaeological Symposium. The theme of this year’s symposium is “Connections and Pathways through the Past”. We're going to be asking OAS members from all walks of life some questions around that theme to showcase the pathways they've taken and how they connect to Ontario's past. We’ve even found a fun way to connect each interview to the one that came before...

    Our first guest is Jonathan Micon, a graduate student at the University of Georgia in the US.We're looking for OAS members with all backgrounds and kinds of experience to participate, so if you'd be willing to be interviewed for a future post, please contact Megan Anne Conger at megan.conger25@uga.edu. We'd love to hear from you!

    First, thank you so much for participating in this! Please tell us your name, who you are, and how you’re involved in Ontario archaeology.

    My name is Jonathan Micon. I am a graduate student at the University of Georgia entering my third year of study. My research deals with themes related to polity formation, mobility, and identity among Iroquoian-speaking groups. Specifically, I study sixteenth century dynamics in the upper St. Lawrence valley, located in southeastern Ontario. Though I have done archaeology in the U.S. for a few years now, I did not explicitly focus on Ontario archaeology until I started graduate school two years ago. Last summer was my first experience conducting fieldwork in Ontario.  

    Describe your own pathway to becoming involved in Ontario archaeology. How or why do you feel connected with Ontario’s past?

    My interest in Ontario archaeology developed not in Ontario, but rather near my childhood home in North-Central Indiana. During a visit to an eighteenth century French trading post, I was confronted by a display of artifacts – namely Jesuit rings, English flintlocks, and Iroquoian-styled pottery - that demonstrated the close relationship between the “Pays d’en Haute” (i.e. Midwestern United States) and the region of present-day Ontario. I became fascinated by the entangled history of these two regions and continually sought out more information. My interest in Lower Great Lakes history was further fueled by my family’s annual visits to relatives in Niagara Falls, New York where I would venture to nearby historic sites, such as Fort Niagara and Lundy’s Lane Battlefield. The history of the Great Lakes region is the history of where I grew up and the friends and family that I have made over the course of my life. It is this connection that makes me so passionate about Ontario archaeology and motivates me to share it with others.

    Jon enthusiastically trowels a unit at the Ellery site (BdGx-8) as part of Laurentian University's 2017 field school

    The theme of this year’s OAS symposium is “Connections and Pathways through the Past”. The organizers have highlighted a number of interesting connections that warrant exploration— “between the past and present, regional centers, archaeologists and the public, archaeology and history, Canada and the United States”. Are any of these connections especially important to you? How?

    In the previous question I touched on my interest in connecting Ontario and Midwestern archaeology, however another connection that I feel warrants attention is the relationship between archaeologists and the public. Archaeology demonstrates that many contemporary issues are not recent isolated phenomena, but rather a modern variation to recurring themes in society. It is for this reason that archaeologists can provide a unique perspective to important issues, such as migration, climate change, and inequality among others. Providing the public with more opportunities to access peer-reviewed archaeological knowledge and combating instances of pseudo-archaeology is an issue that I feel is crucial to archaeology today. A topic that goes along with this is ensuring that archaeology reaches younger audiences. I personally did not learn about archaeology (as a career at least… thank you Indiana Jones) until my second year of university. Exposing children to archaeology at a younger age is a crucial part of connecting archaeologists with the public and in my opinion should be pursued incessantly by archaeologists.

    We’ve invited a lot of reflection on the past, but it’s hard not to consider the future of Ontario archaeology as well. Is there any one question about Ontario’s past you’d love to have answered in the future? Or any one theme you think needs more exploration?

    Ontario archaeology has come a long way in working to collaborate with descendant communities and to confirm that our interpretations and claims are beneficial to all groups involved. Still, this relationship is far from perfect and there is much work that needs to be done. Ontario archaeologists need to continue to incorporate Indigenous perspectives and knowledge into all aspects of research in an on-going attempt to decolonize archaeology and recognize its utility in the efforts of descendant communities attempting to reclaim their own histories. Collaboration between descendant communities and archaeologists is not always easy and can be complicated by competing views and perspectives on the proper role of archaeology in today’s world. However, the only way forward is to continue to discuss these issues and to keep all avenues of communication open. I think that a greater focus on developing the relationship between archaeologists and descendant communities will ultimately prove beneficial for both groups.

    Okay, so, I'm going to end every interview by asking the interviewee to come up with one interesting question, which the next person I interview will have to answer. It doesn’t have to be related to the theme of connections and pathways, but should be related to Ontario archaeology in some way. So, what one question would you like to ask the next person?

    Who in Ontario archaeology has been a role model in your life and made a major contribution to the field and/or your own work?                                

    Finally, to be fair, I’m going to ask you a question to get things started. What was the first archaeological dig you ever participated in in Ontario?

    My first excavation in Ontario was last summer at a duel-component Wendat site located in Simcoe County, Ontario. This excavation was part of an archaeological field school put on by Dr. Alicia Hawkins at Laurentian University. I volunteered to acquire hands-on experience working in Ontario as well as to better familiarize myself with material culture from the region; I was not disappointed. This experience was challenging, informative, and just plain fun. During the excavation, I learned about various aspects of Ontario archaeology through regular museum visits and talks by various speakers representing CRM companies, academic institutions, and descendant communities. As with any field excavation, however, it was the friends and fellow archaeologists excavating alongside me that made the experience truly memorable. I look forward to excavating in Ontario more in the future and building the relationships and knowledge established during this experience.

    Great! Thank you for sharing your experiences with us. If any readers are interested in being featured in a post like this, please email Megan Anne Conger at megan.conger25@uga.

  • January 02, 2018 3:51 PM | Anonymous member

    I am sorry to report that our chapter's founding Treasurer and good friend Harry Johnson has passed away after an extended illness. Always known for his enthusiasm and good cheer, he will be missed. Our condolences go out to his wife, Carol, and his extended family. Details follow...

    JOHNSON, Harry
    Uxbridge Chapel

    Peacefully at home with his family by his side, on Wednesday, December 27, 2017 at the age of 80. Beloved husband of Carol for over 58 years. Loving father of Diane, David (Alexandra) and foster dad to Ashley. Cherished Grampa of Kevin, Tyler and Casey. Harry was a dedicated volunteer in the community and was always willing to lend a hand to someone in need.

    Funeral service will be held at the Low and Low Funeral Home, 23 Main Street South, Uxbridge (905-852-3073) on Saturday, January 13, 2018 at 10am with visitation for one hour prior. A reception will follow on the lower level.

    Image may contain: 1 person, smiling, sitting

  • August 17, 2015 3:59 PM | Deleted user

    As the work for the project winds down for the summer, the time has come for another blog post. This summer has been a very productive time for us and we were able to make a great start with the collection.

    Personally, this has been a very rewarding project to be involved in. Being exposed to such an amazing and rich collection is really a dream come true for any archaeology student. My knowledge of Petun cultural artifacts has expanded immensely over the course of the summer.

    One of my favourite things about archaeology is the exhilaration that occurs when you find something that no one has touched for hundreds of years. This project definitely evoked the same feelings in me. Whenever I would start on a new site, and open a new box, I had no idea what I would encounter and I would inevitably come across some really amazing artifacts.

    For me the most interesting aspect of the collection is the evidence of localized production. Artifacts such as pre-form stone pipes, stone bead blanks, or a ceramic pipe stem with marks in the interior. For example, a pipe stem from the collection was broken in half at some point, and because of that we can see the impression of braided grass or twine which was used to form the stem. Aspects like this really let us visualize the way the pipe was made and even who had made it. 

    The project is almost halfway completed and I am very happy that I was able to work on it for 6 weeks. We will also be posting some photos of interesting artifacts from the collection, so be sure to keep an eye out for those!

    -Katie Anderson




  • August 13, 2015 10:26 AM | Deleted user

    From the Charles Garrad collection, which is currently being organized and examined by OAS summer student Katie Anderson. Other pieces from Charles' collection will soon be up on the OAS website, so stay tuned! 


    This beautiful example of a human effigy pipe comes from the Connor-Rolling site, a contact era Tionontate (Petun) village from the‪ Collingwood‬ area. These types of pipes are called “pinch-face” pipes, and some scholars believe they represent shamans, or shamanistic power. The pipes are very standardized in their form and were made by Iroquoian speaking peoples across the Great Lakes region in the early 17th century.

    The distinctive shape of the mouth has been interpreted by some as representing the practice of sucking or blowing that were a part of healing ceremonies; ceremonial sucking tubes are often found on sites from this era. The increase in shamanic pipes coincides with, and was perhaps caused by, the influx of disease and societal changes brought on by European contact.

    (Thanks to Caitlin for the blurb and Katie for all your hard work this summer!) 


  • July 24, 2015 11:24 AM | Deleted user
    The Toronto Chapter hosted a wonderful barbeque for their members and the executive board of the OAS. It was held on July 19th at the OAS head office, located at the Ashbridge Estate.

    Forecasts warned those who were outside that the day would be extremely hot, with temperatures reaching a high of 30 degrees Celsius. Fortunately, the trees surrounding the estate provided everyone with full coverage from the heat along with a refreshing breeze to keep cool. 

    (Centre, waving: Christine Caroppo, Past OAS President, Right, waving: Rob Macdonald, OAS President)

    Tables were lined with various types of delicious food, ranging from salads to desserts and then to burgers and hot dogs! They were brought in by members and shared--eliciting hearty conversation and laughter. The OAS Executive Board also provided fruit and veggie trays to the event.

    (Neil Gray, Chef Master, Toronto Chapter Executive)




    Marti Latta gave a small tour, explaining the archaeological activity done on the property and the history of the location. A trench was dug towards the edge of the property and a well was discovered before it collapsed. According to historical documentation, the lake’s shore reached what is known to be the current Queen Street which borders one end of the property, providing some insight into the little boathouse located behind the Ashbridge family’s estate. Several members present at the event had participated in the excavation as well!

    Overall, it was a successful social filled with great food and interesting talks. It wouldn’t have been possible without Sylvia Teaves, the Clarence family, and the Gray family for organizing the event and helping the day run smoothly. Thank you to Lorie Harris who applied for permission to have the event on the property. Thank you to Mary Kapches of Bosley Real Estate who acquired the rental of the BBQ. Lastly, thank you to everyone who came out to have a good time! I know the Toronto Chapter is looking forward to hosting the same event next year!

    (Left: Chris Dalton, OAS Director of Chapter Services, Middle: Rob Macdonald, OAS President, Right: Abbey Flower, OAS Director of Member Services)

    (Left: Margie Kenedy, OAS Director of Heritage Advocacy, Middle: Rob Macdonald, OAS President, Right: Lorie Harris, OAS Executive Director)

    View our gallery for more pictures from the event.

     

     

     

     

     

  • July 06, 2015 3:43 PM | Deleted user

    My name is Katie Anderson and I am one of the two summer students working for the Ontario Archaeology Society this summer. I graduated this month from Wilfrid Laurier University with a bachelors degree in North American Archaeology. In the fall I will be attending the University of York in England taking a Masters in Historical Archaeology.

    This summer my project is working on the Charles Garrad collection. This collection is made up of the assembled material that Garrad has excavated and collected over his career. The collection is made of Petun artifacts. The main goal of the project is to organize the collection, and the long-term goal is to transfer the collection to a museum, as the quality of the collections, and their significance to Ontario, is well-deserving of a permanent place that would benefit the pubic immensely. Garrad has been instrumental over the years in providing this material to researchers, and we want to help continue making these collections accessible, as there is much potential for future research.

    The collections are in excellent condition with the provenience information intact. The main focus of the project is updating the material to reflect current archival standards, including the use of non-gassing polyethylene bags. We are going through each site and removing the artifacts from their current means of storage and then putting them into new bags. As we are going through the collections we are also separating out the unique and interesting artifacts and photographing them so we have a record of the material that is easily accessible.

    I am really looking forward to carrying out this project this summer and cant wait to see what else I will encounter and learn as I progress further into the collection.

    -       Katie Anderson

  • June 19, 2015 2:51 PM | Deleted user

    Through a grant program, the Ontario Archaeological Society was able to successfully hire two students to work on OAS related projects this summer. I was lucky to be invited again to continue the tasks from last year: developing the website, maximizing/updating social media platforms for archaeological outreach and aid in administration at the OAS head office. 

    One of our accomplishments this year was to create a French version of the website. Viewers are able to click on the English/French buttons at the top of the page, and switch between either languages. With new pages being built constantly, some of the French pages are still undergoing translations but will soon be fully functional. 


    Claire, the Director of Public Outreach, and I started exploring numerous design elements we felt could brighten the appeal of the website. The flashing images on the homepage were replaced with a slideshow of archaeological pictures, and the page now features colourful tables that update the vistiors on forums, blogs posts, and events! Many of the interactive elements on the website are now live such as: the forums, photo galleries, and OAS blog for the community. The OAS encourages you to participate in these new features where you’ll be able to meet others, and contribute to the ever-growing archaeological discipline in Ontario! 



    Finally, as you may have noticed, when you try to go on the old website, it will redirect you here! This signifies the official closing of the old domain - now the OAS can fully utilize Wild Apricot and tackle the old and new challenges. There are still a great number of updates to complete before the end of summer. Hopefully, we’ll be able to finish the website by then so everyone can navigate with no difficulties! 

    Similarly, work at the head office has been just as busy. One of the major projects the past few weeks is preparing a compilation of stats for the PHO Grant; with the deadline in the upcoming week. Unfortunately, we keep running into problems, so Lorie (the Executive Director) and I have been pulling all our hair out, mostly due to the amount of math our brains are not used to doing! However, I’m happy to report that at least 85% of it is now completed, and the week of the grant work won’t be as stressful for us. Whenever we want to de-stress, we would have a nice chat while filing or updating documents. 

    All in all, I’m glad to be back for another great summer at both the head offices of the OAS and ASI. I am excited for what surprises the OAS will bring this summer for the board, its members, the general public, and me!

    Until next time,
    Lynna

Contact us
Address: P.O. Box 62066, Victoria Terrace | Toronto | M4A 2W1

Phone: +1 (416) 406-5959


Email: info@ontarioarchaeology.org

Join us 

The Ontario Archaeological Society is a registered charitable organization that promotes the ethical practice of archaeology. The general public, students and professional alike are encouraged to become members of the Society and to support its co-ordinating role in helping to record and preserve our non-renewable cultural heritage. Click here to view membership details.

 © The Ontario Archaeology Society
P.O. Box 62066Victoria Terrace Post Office, Toronto, ON M4A 2W1
Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software