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Maple Syrup

Maple Syrup, a story of tapping the spring trees

Maple Tap, MOA collection
Maple Tap (one of two), MOA’s Jury collection from St. Marie II site.

 

Drip…drip…drip…

Chirpchirp…chirpchirp

The sounds of spring are all around you. The ice melting and falling from the trees, the trickle of water beneath the crunchy snow, the chirp of birds newly returned and looking for food. Read more

Work Study Profile: Kayley

Florida Sloth
Kayley in front of a giant sloth at the Southwest Florida Museum of History during a trip to Florida this Reading Week with family
MOApicture

My name is Kayley and I am a curatorial assistant here at the Museum of Ontario Archaeology. I got the position as part of the work-study program with Western University. I also split my work-study hours with Sustainable Archaeology. I have worked at the museum since September, and have worked with Nicole since she returned as our full-time curator! I love working at the museum because I have no prior experience in a museum setting, only in cultural resource management archaeology (CRM). CRM is very different from museum work because most of the artifacts that I have experience with aren’t nearly as pretty as those that are in the museum’s collection. Read more

Burial Investigations

An excerpt from Before and After: A Test of the Reliability of Surface Assessments of Mortuary Features by Michael W. Spence. KEWA Newsletter of the London Chapter, Ontario Archaeological Society. November & December 2013. 13-7 & 8. Page 17-23.**

There is a long history of burial investigation in Ontario. At present the discovery of possible human remains triggers a sequence of procedures required by the Coroner’s Act, the Cemeteries Act (Revised) of 1990, and the Funeral, Burial and Cremation Services Act of 2002 (see Carruthers 1999). The discovery must be reported to police and/or a coroner, who will initiate an investigation conducted by a forensic anthropologist. There are six individuals in Ontario currently approved to do these investigations. Each of us works with a Forensic Pathology Unit and a Supervising Coroner. Read more

Women Pioneers of Archaeology

During the 19th and early 20th centuries, archaeology was digging its roots as a scientific, methodological discipline. Historically, archaeology was mainly a male dominated career and women often did not stand at the forefront of archaeological discoveries. Often women who supported the work received little public recognition making the achievements of the following women stand out all the more.

Harriet Boyd Hawes

Harriet Boyd Hawes (1871-1945)

This well-educated American majored in Classical Studies and was fluent in Greek. After earning her degree, she rode around the island of Crete on the back of a mule (often alone) while looking for ancient sites. In 1901, she discovered Gournia, the first Minoan town site ever unearthed and she supervised excavations for three years. She was able to publish her findings in a highly illustrated report which is still consulted this day. She is noteworthy for her classification of artifacts and using ethnographic parallels of Cretan rural life during her time. Read more

Agatha Christie

This year’s Valentine’s Day blog is about the archaeology behind Mrs. Agatha Christie, a famous crime novelist with a strong and loving connection to archaeology.

Agatha Christie was born September 15, 1890 in the UK. In 1928, a visit to the excavation site of Ur (modern Iraq) sparked her interest in archaeology. She writes, ‘The lure of the past came up to grab me. To see a dagger slowly appearing, with its gold glint, through the sand was romantic. The carefulness of lifting pots and objects from the soil filled me with a longing to be an archaeologist myself.’ – A. Christie, An Autobiography (London, 1981), p. 389

www.allposters.com
www.allposters.com

It was during this time that she met archaeologist Max Mallowan, whom she married in 1930. Max Mallowan (1904-1978) was first an assistant to Sir Leonard Woolley at Ur and later a field director in Western Asia. He is known for conducting further excavations of the Nimrud ivories of the Assyrian kingdom 900-612 BC between 1949 and 1963 Read more

Battle of the Thames

The Battle of the Thames took place on October 5th, 1813 as part of the conflict of the war of 1812.

The war of 1812 began for various reasons including numerous attempted invasions from Americans into Canada. The efforts from this war helped shape Canadian independence from the United States. First Nation participants and our founding fathers were able to fight off invading American troops and establish a sense of Canadian nationalism. Between 1812 and 1813, Chief Tecumseh brought together First Nation tribes from across both sides of the border to defend native lands.

1812 Chippewa Experience

I was inspired by MOA’s new exhibit on the Chippewa’s involvement in the war of 1812 so I traveled westward to the location of the Battle of the Thames just outside of Chatham Ontario. At the site, there is a plaque citing both the battle significance and the accomplishments of Chief Tecumseh.  I was inspired to learn more about the Battle of the Thames and the circumstances leading up to it in the war. Read more

Wampum

Wampum belts 1812 exhibit

What are wampums?

Wampums are visual memory keepers that help record history and communicate ideas. Beaded patterns represent a person, nation, event, invitation, shared values and understandings/agreements between two or more parties.  Traditional wampum belts were used as covenants and petitions for understanding. Words spoken during an agreement are made into wampum to be used for ceremony, teaching, and reminders of law and values.

Who do they belong to? Read more

Lizard Pipes

In his 1914 archaeology report on Ontario Effigy Pipes in Stone, Col. Geo. E. Laidlaw writes about the unique Lizard Pipe specimens in Ontario, of which we have on display in our permanent exhibit with a unique provenance.

Lizard Pipes are ” nearly always a white or light-gray stone, [of] steatite and limestone.” Steatite pipes, being a stronger material, have held their carved features better than the softer limestone. Col. Laidlaw distinguishes two categories of effigy pipes:

“1st, Long slender stemmed pipes, with effigies, either human or lizard, clasping the front of the bowl, with head projecting above rim, and when the effigy is a lizard the tail extends along underside of stem. Sometimes only the human head is represented (in one case an animal) perched on edge of bowl.
2nd, Stemless bowls of an ovoid or vase type, with the effigies clasping, or crawling up the bowl on the opposite side of the stem hole. In this second division, so far as observed, the effigies are those of lizards, with one exception.” ** Read more

Gloves or no gloves?

Glove: Fact or Fiction

To wear gloves or not to wear gloves? This is a question archaeologist and historians have been debating for decades. Traditionally gloves were used when handling all artifacts, but new evidence suggests that wearing gloves might actually do more harm than good.

Read the following statements and try to determine whether they are  fact, or just a myth! Once you have your answer, scroll down to see if you are correct!

Good luck!

#1: People have oils in their skin that can be harmful to artifact(s) they handle.

#2: You don’t need to wear gloves when handling manuscripts, touching them is actually good!

#3:  You need to wear gloves when handling all textiles and furniture, the wood and fabric will decay if you touch it. Read more