For the longest time, our knowledge of the ancient history of the Ottawa Valley depended, to a very large extent, not on the work of professionally trained archaeologists but on the sustained efforts of keen avocational archaeologists such as T.W. Edwin Sowter, Clyde Kennedy, Gordon Watson and Barry Mitchell. In addition to their discoveries and publications, people out on hikes or picnics, walking their fields or enjoying a warm summer evening's stroll down an early 20th century downtown Ottawa street, came across objects that they recognized as both beautiful and valuable to society. They brought these pieces to museums which happily added them to their collections. There they sat for decades before any attention was paid to them. While lacking in contextual information many still bear intrinsic qualities which can add texture to reconstructions of the past now being proposed on the basis of more rigorous investigations.
The CAA/ACA 2017 organizing committee wished to share with conference attendees one of these unique specimens which both feeds the eye and stimulates new questions for future research.
Institution: Canadian Museum of History
Description: steatite pipe bowl in the shape of a bird, possibly a woodcock
Catalogue Number: VIII-F:8577
Collector: Godfrey B. Greene
Year of collection: 1902
Place of collection: South shore of the Ottawa River, opposite Aylmer Québec, March Township, Carleton County, Ontario
Age estimate: A.D. 1300-1600