Swinging through tombs, jumping into dark caves and discovering rare artifacts, Indiana Jones has a way with luck that surprises many people. Because of these characteristics, you’d expect someone like Indy to find something as culturally important as the Rosetta Stone. However, this Indy-worthy find was actually made by a French solider in 1799. Pierre Bouchard, who was simply trying to increase the size of a French fort in Rosetta, Egypt, stumbled upon the Rosetta Stone. It was located in an old wall that was being demolished for the expansion of the fort. Fortunately, the commanding officer recognized its importance and extracted the piece. At the time of its discovery, Napoleon, the emperor of the French, was invading Egypt, so the Rosetta Stone was claimed as French property until 1801. Soon after its discovery, the British defeated the French and claimed all of their important cultural artifacts. Since 1802, the stone is held in the British Museum for viewing. The ownership of the stone has caused a lot of controversy over the years. Many Egyptians feel that the stone belongs to their country and should be held in a museum on Egyptian soil. Read more
What’s an Edu-Kit you ask?
The MOA Educational Kit (“Edu-Kit” for short) is full of resources and artifacts that anyone can rent. Containing over 30 artifacts, a teacher’s guide, and reading resources, the Edu-Kit is an excellent tool for elementary school teachers, homeschooling groups, or youth groups with an interest in history and archaeology. It’s great for exploratory learning and is a way to bring the museum into your classroom.
Starting with the Resource Guide is the best way to get the most our of the Edu-Kit. The Guide provides a stress-free way to use the Edu-Kit materials in your group. Lesson plans on First Nations History and Archaeology are included along with customizable PowerPoint slides on a USB drive and artifact identification tools. The Guide also includes additional history information for grades 6-8 or advanced learners, worksheets, and activity pages, along with First Nations myths and legends, and project ideas Read more
Frequently Axed Questions About the Vikings of L’Anse aux Meadows
Did Vikings come to the New World? Yes. Are we talkin’ Ragnar and Lagertha? No. What’s a L’Anse aux Meadows? Newfoundland’s L’Anse aux Meadows is a Canadian National heritage site and it was also declared a world heritage site by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in 1972 (Kristensen & Curtis 2012, 70). It is marketed for archaeological tourism that focuses on the fact that it is the first and only pre-Colombian Norse settlement in North America. In addition to viewing the ruins and re-creations of Norse structures, visitors who make the 12hr drive north from St. John’s can participate in “traditional” Viking games, arts and crafts (Newfoundland and Labrador Tourism). The site is also notable for having been occupied by numerous Indigenous peoples for thousands of years (Kristensen & Curtis 2012, 71). Despite this, public interest in the Norse dominates the narrative of the site. Read more
Springbank and Victoria Parks are two well know London Parks. The archaeology of these parks reveals a history that stretches over 12,000 years in London that 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. Part of the Changing Landscapes exhibit at MOA, Springbank and Victoria Parks illustrate how our use of the land has changed over time.
Springbank Park, Byron Ontario
Located in Byron Ontario, Springbank Park is a multi-use park consisting of gardens, nature trails, bicycle paths, grassed and natural areas along the Thames River. Springbank park is part of the Springbank Cultural Heritage Landscape and is highly valued by Londoners since its history and memories weave the past with the present while contributing to the community’s sense of identity and rich cultural fabric. Through historical research and archaeological findings, we can piece together the history of Springbank Park and it’s changing landscape. Read more
Do you know why you do what you do? Mission does matter.
I am always amazed, when I sit back and think about it, how much goes on behind the scenes at the Museum of Ontario Archaeology. I like to compare museums to icebergs – because what you see when you visit is just a small part of everything that is going on. From working with the collection, researching exhibits, planning programs and events to the things we rarely consider as “museum work” but are critical to any business, like marketing, managing the finances, fundraising, and health and safety just to name a few – museums are busy places. It’s because museums are so busy that our mission matters.
For all of this activity to have meaning, everything we do must flow from a deep sense of purpose – our mission matters. It’s through our mission that we articulate our reason for existing. How we strive to serve our communities, meet our public trust responsibilities, and hopefully make a difference in the lives of the people we serve. Read more
The Creator gifted each human being with a voice and language to use. Indigenous languages are verb-based rather than noun-based. They tend to describe people, places, and things instead of labelling them. Within southern Ontario, Indigenous languages are no longer peoples’ mother tongue. However, more Indigenous people are revitalizing and preserving their languages. Indigenous languages carry a peoples’ culture and whole philosophy in life. This is why it is so crucial to keep Indigenous languages alive. Many Indigenous people have lost some of their ways and traditions, so the best approach to retaining knowledge and tradition is to relearn their language.
Shekoli/aanii/hello, the Museum of Ontario Archaeology will be incorporating a new exhibition focused on Indigenous languages. The Onʌyota’a·ká· (Oneida) and Anishinaabe (Ojibwe) languages will be highlighted within this new feature exhibition. The curator at the Museum of Ontario Archaeology, Nicole Aszalos, had approached me and asked if I could assist her in putting together an exhibition on Indigenous languages. I had agreed to help since it is in my line of work. I have a passion for our Indigenous languages because it is in my blood – it is a part of who I am. My primary focus is on Oneida language right now, and I thought it would be a great idea to include another Indigenous language since we are all so diverse. I asked Monty McGahey to do an Ojibwe language piece for the exhibition, since he is knowledgeable and works within his community, Chippewa of the Thames, on keeping the language alive Read more
Is your Young Explorer looking for a March Break Adventure?
A March Break Adventure is closer than you think at MOA’s Adventure through South America camp being offered from March 14-18, 2016. Campers will explore the people, environment, and animals of South America as they stamp their ‘passport’ with days of exploration!
March Break starts on Monday with a Welcome to South America party where we will explore the countries and geography of the region while playing some great games. On Tuesday, we’ll be checking out South America’s Food and Culture! Not only will our Explorers learn about South America foods, they will also become farmers and plant their own bean crop. We’ll be watching our beans grow throughout the week before our Explorers take their plants home. Read more
Imagine you are next up at bat on the ball diamond in Kensal Park. Did you know you are also standing on the remains of a 15th century Iroquoian village officially known as the Norton Site?
Kensal Park – Norton Site
The Norton site was brought to the attention of Canadian archaeologist William Wintemberg in the early 1920’s when he was conducting extensive surveys at the Lawson Site. Although he mentions this discovery in his report of the Lawson excavations, no fieldwork was attempted at the location. At the time, the Norton family had been continually farming the adjacent land since the 1800’s and had recently acquired the land where the site is located.Kensal Park finds, Changing Landscape Exhibit
The site was later rediscovered in 1987 in connection with a proposed water main being built in the north end of the park. The survey, conducted by Archaeological Services Inc. from Toronto recovered a sample of artifacts that were similar in time to that of the Lawson Site. Further investigation revealed nine longhouses, a palisade, and one midden dating 1400-1450AD. In addition to flaked stone projectile points, bifaces, ceramics, and groundstone tools, worked bone items such as awls, beads, and a perforated antler object were recovered. Based on the evidence, the people living on site are identified as Ancestral Neutral. Read more
Since the first Family Day was observed on February 18, 2008, many Ontarians have enjoyed taking advantage of the holiday to spend time with their family and explore their communities. Family Day 2016 falls on February 15th and you don’t have to look any further than MOA for something fun to do as we continue our tradition of hosting a Family Fun Day filled with wonderful indoor family activities.
Families will be able to listen to and share stories with Mi’kmaq storyteller Nina Antoine-Ogilvie as well as explore and shop at First Nation’s Craft Vendors throughout the day! Children can discover the secrets to archaeological digs by uncovering and mapping chocolate chips in our Cookie excavation and explore the importance of First Nation’s Wampum as a means of communication through our wampum activity. Read more
The recent discovery of Beatrix Potter’s Kitty in Boots in the Victoria & Albert Museum’s Potter archive highlights the tremendous challenge museums can face in managing their collection and the information about them. With often thousands of objects and documents held in trust within museum collections the task of knowing not only what’s in the boxes but where in the museum it’s located, often falls to a select few people.
Museums hold their collections in trust for the public and that responsibility includes not only caring for the collection but making the information and knowledge about it accessible. Having worked with, and for museums, for over 15 years, I’ve seen examples of extraordinary collections management processes as well as “We don’t know what we’ll do if (fill in name) retires. They’re the only person who knows where everything is.” Read more