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The Law of Superposition

Superposition is a relative dating method that looks at the layers of soil beneath the Earth’s surface. Layers of soil that are younger are found on top of layers of soil that are older.  The Law of Superposition isn’t only used by archaeologists though, it is also very important to other scientists like paleontologists and geologists.

At first superposition might seem pretty simple, older things on the bottom, newer things on the top—but what happens if something moves the soil around, like a farmer’s plow or an animal burrowing into the earth?  That is when things can get a little tricky.

A good way to think about superposition is to imagine a messy desk, full of four weeks of mail!  Say one day you need to find a letter from three weeks ago in those layers of envelopes, how will you know about where to look in the pile when there are two weeks of newer mail? To get to the letter from three weeks ago you will have to dig and sift through the other two weeks before you can find the one you are looking for.  When you’ve found it there will still be about a week of even older mail left in the desk. Read more

Five Ways to Date Old Things: An Introduction to Archaeological Dating Methods

When archaeologists talk about dating, they aren’t talking about who they took out to dinner last night. Instead archaeologists are talking about how they find out the age of the artifacts and sites they study.

How do you think archaeologists date artifacts and sites? You may have answered “carbon dating.” And you’re right! Carbon dating, or radiocarbon dating, is one very common method that archaeologists use, but it’s not the only one.

In Archaeology there are two types of dating: Absolute Dating and Relative Dating Read more

We’re Hooked on Archaeology

For International Archaeology Day the staff at MOA wanted to share how we became hooked on archaeology.  We would love to hear how you got hooked on archaeology too, so please leave us your story in the comment section below!

 

Joan, Executive Director

Gilmore
Gilmore

Some of my earliest memories as a child are the many family visits we took to the Royal Saskatchewan Museum and the RCMP Museum.  I can still clearly visualize many of the exhibits that fascinated me as I imagined what life must have been like so many years ago.  My interest in people and cultures led me to Anthropology in university, but it was my first field course in archaeology that set me on my career path.  We were excavating a bison pound site and the experience of uncovering the bone bed and tools needed to hunt these massive animals and survive on the prairies was exciting. Read more

Changing Landscapes: Unearthing London’s Past

Bird's Eye of Victoria Park
Birds Eye View sketch of the Barracks.
Courtesy of D.R. Poulton & Associates

 

Our changing landscapes can reveal much about how communities develop and we can learn much about London’s past by studying how our landscape has changed.

Did you know that London Ontario contains hundreds of archaeological sites scattered throughout the city? Some of these sites might even be located in your neighborhood.  A new exhibit at the Museum of Ontario Archaeology will explore London’s Changing Landscapes and provide insight on how archaeology is conducted.  The early history of London includes aboriginal, pioneer, and early military functions. With new development and reuse of our landscape,  London’s history can be studied through excavated archaeological sites, archived stories, maps, and photographs. Read more

Exhibit Redevelopment

MOA is seeking input to guide plans for exhibit redevelopment and renewal.

Gallery (2)

As most OAS members know, many Ontario archaeologists can trace the beginnings of their working lives to the Museum of Ontario Archaeology (MOA) at Western University. The Museum continues to offer programs in archaeology to southwestern Ontario students and to the public at large, and the London Chapter of the Society still holds its meetings at the Museum.

Sustainable Archaeology is now adjoined to the Museum although it will operate independently for several more years. The innovative technologies at Sustainable Archaeology present exciting opportunities for the Museum to refresh its public programming and exhibits, both inside and outside in the Lawson village. – Read more