Ontario Archaeology

Thursday, May 3, 2018 - 1:30pm to 4:10pm
Ambassador G
01:30 PM: Fifth Time’s a Charm. Give and take between ceramic objects and craft producers in Ontario’s Late Woodland, seen through Micro Computed Tomography.
  • Amy St. John - Western University
Archaeologists who study craft production, communities of practice, and craft traditions have argued that the way things were done (e.g. repeated motions in potting) were as important to community and individual identities, as the appearance of a finished product was. However, craft producers worked in complex, distracting, and real-world environments, and were subject to the agency of materials and objects. Potential manufacturing mistakes visible in micro computed tomography (CT) scans of Late Woodland ceramic pipes and pots highlight how manufacture was not a step-by-step perfect process, but was sometimes messy, with interaction between materials and craft producers as a give and take relationship. These sorts of interactions between people and clay are difficult to access by examining the exterior of ceramic objects, but micro CT offers a new way to examine these hidden steps in clay manipulation. There is a wealth of anthropological literature on apprenticeship, learning, skill, and specialization, but when it comes to archaeological ceramic objects in Canada it is often only in “juvenile” or “learner” objects that these notions can really be accessed. Using micro CT, we can begin to examine the notion of “error fixing” by potters and pipe makers and question to what extent this was the norm.
01:50 PM: The Unexpected Finds at AhHa-317, a Late Woodland Habitation Site in Hamilton, Ontario
  • Rhiannon Fisher - Golder
AhHa-317 has been interpreted as a possible cabin or special use site with a Late Woodland Attawandaron (Neutral) Iroquoian affiliation.  Preliminary analysis of the pre-colonial Indigenous assemblage observed a large amount of chipping detritus, projectile points and other lithic tools indicative of hunting activities related to food acquisition on or near the site.  A large amount of pottery including decorated pieces dated the assemblage to c. AD 1400-1600 .  While the aforementioned artifact assemblage is typical to that of a Woodland site in the area what was distinct about AhHa-317 was the significant number of artifacts related to fishing instruments such as a bone harpoon, netsinker and fish scales.  A phallic stone, possibly an effigy used as a pestle, is another exceptional find from the excavations at AhHa-317.   This paper explores the frequency of and the relationship of fishing instruments to other artifacts found on Late Woodland sites within the region including sites of the Grand River Valley.  This paper also explores possible uses for the phallic effigy recovered during excavation at AhHa-317.
02:10 PM: Mush Hole Archaeology
  • Sarah Clarke - Archaeological Research Associates, Ltd.
  • Ayla Mykytey - ARA
  • Paul Racher - ARA
In the spring of 2017 an interesting and timely archaeological project began to unfold on the grounds of the former Mohawk Institute Residential School (aka the Mush Hole) at 184 Mohawk Street, Six Nations (Brantford). With limited funding and tight timelines, the volunteer-driven Reconciliation Project was born. Engagement and participation in the project by field liaisons representing the Six Nations Eco-Centre, Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation and Haudenosaunee Development Institute, coupled with the efforts of archaeological volunteers, has arguably produced an arena for a fulsome and meaningful collaboration devoid of the usual pressures arising from development-driven archaeology in the commercial realm. Sarah will reflect on the experience of doing archaeology at the Mush Hole thus far.
02:30 PM: Patterson Village: a 19th Century Company Town in Vaughan Township, York County, Ontario
  • William D. Finlayson - Adjunct Professor, Department of Archaeology and Heritage Studies, Wilfrid Laurier University
Peter Patterson was an American who emigrated to Ontario in about 1850 and set up a shop in Richmond Hill where he started to manufacture fanning mills.  By 1856 he had purchased land west of Richmond Hill, created Patterson Pond to provide water power to his newly constructed manufactory.  By the 1880’s his manufactory comprised more than a dozen buildings and Patterson & Bro. was one of the largest farm equipment manufacturers in Canada.  The factory was closed in 1886 and moved to Woodstock. Peter Patterson constructed a company town beside his manufactory.  Historical documents indicate the presence of 18 houses and a boarding house. Between the fall of 2012 and 2014, This Land Archaeology Inc. undertook the complete salvage excavation of this town.  This confirmed the presence of 18 houses, one of which was occupied by a seamstress and another by a shoemaker.  The boarding house was found to have five associated cisterns and three privies.  A church, a stable and a possible raised storage building were also excavated.  The discovery of 36 privies and several hundred other features in the subsoil provide new insights into life in a company town the latter half of the 19th century.This paper will review results of the excavation of 7.75 hectares of this site with a focus on settlements patterns.  It will also present information of a newly published book on the excavations.
  • Mike  McLeod - Boreal Heritage Consulting
This paper summarizes, to date, 44 years of research into the earliest recorded evidence of peoples in the Thunder Bay area. It is proposed that they were Caribou hunters moving north from the Minnesota/Ontario boundary waters area, to intercept caribou migrating to and along the glacial front of the Marquette Re-advance which stopped just south of Whitefish Lake c.a. 10,000 BP. This date is derived from an average of C14 dates from forests overridden by the re-advance. A collection of archaeological sites seem to indicate that as the ice margins retreated, caribou and crossing locations moved north with them. A possible three crossing locations, likely related, are suggested. Such crossing locations generally have a habitation area, close to, but slightly removed from the actual crossing. The crossings are usually associated with a body of water for ease of taking the animals where they were vulnerable. Based on artifact recoveries a general layout of one crossing location is proposed. It includes the crossing and possible butchering area. An adjacent habitation area with lookout, tent and work sites is suggested. The ease with which taconite, a local siliceous material used for tool making, was found suggests that the people were in the area in a pre-vegetation situation as the ground was exposed by the ice margin retreat.
  • Mike McLeod - Boreal Heritage Consulting
AT THE CARIBOU CROSSING PLACES Part 2HUNTING TECHNIQUESThis paper, with guidance from the National Film Board’s movie “At the Caribou Crossing Place” andthe interpretation of artifacts from the Crossing Place sites near Whitefish Lake proposes the methodology with which the Caribou were taken. Examination of the lithics indicates that may have been blunted so as to not put any holes in the hide as once prepared they would be used for boat construction, boots, tents and clothing. The people are followed down in time to the Minong shores at about 9,500 BP and artifacts along the way are examined to determine if this methodology holds. It appears that it does with exceptions whereanother method of taking the Caribou is also used. A brief discussion of butchering techniques is proposed and this could add to the interpretation of artifact usages from these sites.
  • Mike McLeod - Boreal Heritage Consulting
This paper follows the hunters in the Thunder Bay area as they respond to the changing environment when the glacial front and migrating Caribou move further north and the Boreal Forest closes in. It is suggested that the hunters adapted to local seasonal rounds close to those recorded in Historic times.  In particular early Jesuit records in the late 1600’s noted that in the summer the people came down (from the Interior) to the Lake (Superior) shore “to fish to trade and to socialize” suggesting that they had spent the winter on the Interior.One site in particular, on the Interior at Dog Lake northwest of Thunder Bay, could represent the earliest evidence of this adaptation to local seasonal rounds. It is suggested that in the fall the People moved to the Interior to take the spawning Whitefish at the mouth of the Dog River and then spent the winter in that area with a local dispersal to take rabbits for food and their warm winter fur for clothing and blankets. The Jesuit records note that rabbits were a mainstay and once an area had been trapped out the people would have to move on. They estimated that a family could need up to 500 square miles for their winter resources.The site appears to be uniquely Palaeo-Indian with that single cultural component as compared to other multi-component sites on the lake. A reason is proposed for this situation.