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Seriation

Next time you go to the mall take a look at the cars around you. Can you tell which ones are newer and which ones are older? You probably have a good idea of which ones are older even if you don’t know anything about cars. Take a look at the image below. Chances are, you can tell the 1981 Honda Accord apart from the 2014 model just by looking at them!

And what about clothes? If you saw someone wearing a baggy neon sweater you can be sure they bought it in the 1970s. That’s because the things that people make and use change in appearance over time. One fashion style might be new and unpopular at first, but soon everyone is wearing it. Then, one day, the baggy neon sweater you used to love is no longer trendy and gets replaced by shoulder pads! Read more

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

Pow Wow Celebration

Pow Wow drum

Pulsating drums, multi-coloured regalia and the rhythmic steps of the dancers are the trademark of the pow-wow.  Today, these special gatherings are held by Indigenous peoples across North America.  As an inter-tribal celebration pow-wows take the form of either a competition in which dancers and drum groups compete for prizes or as a traditional pow-wow.   The traditional pow-wow is a ceremony for the purpose of honouring the Creator, Mother Earth or phases in the seasons. Read more

Collection Storage Project

Non-archival boxes previously used.
Non-archival boxes previously used.

This summer, MOA’s curatorial team began its next big project to repack ethnographic artefacts and maps in our collection storage area. Thanks to a grant from the London Community Foundation, MOA was able to purchase archival quality storage materials which will allow us to preserve our remarkable collection for many more generations to come. While it sounds like an easy project, repacking artifacts isn’t as simple as taking things out of one box and putting them in another.  So how are we going about this?

MOA’s ethnographic and map collection consists of more than 3000 objects.  Due to the size of this project, the curatorial team used this opportunity to inventory the entire collection by going through each box one by one.  For every object found in a box, the curatorial team updated its catalogue record, location, condition report, and took digital pictures.  After a box was complete, all objects were re-wrapped in acid free tissue with a new object barcode placed on the tissue surrounding each object. Read more

Miggs Morris’s Return to the Drum honoured in Deline NWT

 Miggs Morris, acclaimed author, who has been part of the Museum of Ontario Archaeology for 15 years, had her book honoured at the UNESCO Biosphere Conference in Deline NWT the last week of July. At this conference Morris’s Return to the Drum was presented to keynote speaker David Suzuki and other delegates by Leonard Kenny, the Chief of Deline.

return to the drum cover

The Tudze, or Water Heart Conference, is named after a Dene legend about a living, breathing heart at the bottom of Great Bear Lake, on whose shores Deline is located. David Suzuki mentioned that he was “blown away” by the community’s connection to their natural environment and their commitment to its preservation.

Here, Miggs shares her experiences that led to her writing Return to the Drum (RTTD) Read more

Meet the Staff: Education Intern Nicoletta Michienzi

How long have I been with  MOA?  I started my internship  July 2015.

nikki

How did I begin? I am a Masters student at Western, and as part of our program we a
re required to do an internship. I decided that I would split my time over the summer between Eldon House, a historic home in downtown London, and the Museum of Ontario Archaeology. MOA really interested me because I was involved with archaeology during my undergrad, and in my masters program we learned about museum policies. Read more