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Can you dig it? Ontario Doug on an archaeological adventure!

Ontario Doug
Ontario Doug

Hi everybody! Ontario Doug here with exciting news about a recent excavation I went on with MOA’s curator Nicole Aszalos. We visited the Davidson Site near Parkhill this past June, and they even let me help with the excavations. It’s great to learn about history up close and I was eager to get my hands dirty!
The Davidson site is inland from Lake Huron on the Ausable River, and we got to work with Dr. Chris Ellis, Ontario Archaeologist and Professor at the University of Western Ontario. Dr. Ellis and his crew were looking at an old First Nations Site dating between the Late Archaic and Early Woodland period in Ontario. Did you know Dr. Ellis’ specialty focuses on the Late Archaic time period of about 3000-4500 years ago? Read more

What’s this Point?

Identifying a Fluted Point Donated to MOA

Paleo point recently donated to MOA.
Paleo point recently donated to MOA.

 

A couple months ago, a beautiful Paleo Period projectile point was donated to MOA. MOA’s curatorial team conducted further research and would like to share why this point is so interesting to us.

Projectile points from the Paleo Period are hard to come by in comparison to points from the later Archaic and Woodland Periods. This is due, in part, to the living conditions and resources available to people during this time. During the Paleo period, people lived in small bands following a nomadic lifestyle which means they were continually moving from place to place, often following the migration of their food. Read more

Beadwork

Shell Beads

What did First Nations people wear for fashion? Or for ritual purposes? What did the decoration on their cloths and these objects look like? How were they made? These can be some of the questions one might ask when referring to the objects that First Nations made through beadwork. Read more

Ontario Doug – The Adventure Begins

There are many things Ontario Doug and Dr. Lucy Troweler want to explore while at the Museum of Ontario Archaeology.  In addition to the various exhibits and Lawson Village, there are a lot of different activities happening at the museum this summer.

Ontario Doug with Poetter
Checking out the pottery activity.

Dr. Lucy is really interested in what’s happening behind the scenes and has already started exploring the museum’s on-line collection to find out more about the museum’s artifacts and how they can be used to inspire an appreciation for Ontario’s cultural diversity.Dusty and Seabiscuit are really looking forward to checking out all the fun stuff our future archaeologists are doing at the museum during Summer Camp and Ontario Doug can’t wait to help out during the Youth Dig-It Campin August. Read more

Emergency Treatment for your Collectables

Collections: Emergency Treatments for your Collectables

If we could prevent disasters we would never have to worry about the safety and housing of our collection. In reality, disasters are unexpected and can cause irreversible damage to some of our most precious objects. (For example take a look at the video of the sinkhole at the Corvette Museum). Some artifacts, can be salvaged with the work of experts. A local example was the 2004 flood in Peterborough, Ontario in which 1 meter of water seeped into the vault of the Peterborough Centennial Museum Association (PCMA), affecting many of the Roy Studio photographic materials. (You can read about the restoration initiative here.) Read more

Context in Archaeology

Context in Archaeology or where did it come from? is one of the most important questions archaeologists ask.  One of the primary philosophies in archaeology is reconstructing daily life of human history and prehistory through material remains. Although one artifact can outline the potential age of a site and its trade relations between communities, it cannot tell you the bigger picture of how the object is understood and what it means to the daily life of the people unless you look at its association with the environment and material remains that surround it.

So how do we look at context in archaeology? The stratigraphy (the layering of soils and remains) of a site and the objects within each layer are examined in order to understand the meaning of the object and its association to the site. Soils layer over time therefore objects found in one layer are considered to be related and date to a similar time of use while objects found in another layer, either above or below, are deposited at an alternate time and indicate a different period of use. Read more

Meerschaum Pipes

Meerschaum Pipes

The Origin of Meerschaum

Meerschaum, also known by its technical name sepiolite, is a hydrous magnesium silicate formed from the shells and bones of prehistoric sea creatures. Meerschaum originates from Turkey and can vary in colour from white to light grey or even yellow. It is very porous and light, ranked as a 2 in hardness on the Mohs scale.  Meerschaum is mainly found in veins mined as deep as 400 feet below the surface but it can also naturally occur as lumps that look similar to sea foam floating atop the surface of the Black Sea.

Mainly used to create pipes, the first pipe recorded using meerschaum was created in 1723 by a shoemaker in Budapest. He discovered meerschaum is highly absorbent and he repeatedly dosed it in water to make it more pliable while carving. The experiment proved successful and the first meerschaum pipe was created. Currently, it housed at the Hungarian National Museum in Budapest. Read more

Caring for Family Heirlooms

Like the family heirlooms you have at home, museums are responsible for protecting a community’s cultural heritage for future generations. Caring for these unique and meaningful objects until they can be shared with children and grandchildren is not difficult, and we’d like to share some simple things you can do to ensure your heirlooms are protected.

Museums care for and preserve many different types of artifacts.  One area critical to long term preservation is how they are stored. Proper artifact storage is not as hard as it seems and is one of the easiest ways to prevent physical and environmental damage. Read more

Tin Type Photographs

Although not exactly like pictures we encounter today, tintype photographs set the stage for photography in our era. Tintypes began in 1856 when an Ohio chemistry professor Hamilton Smith patented the tintype image. While not a new concept, the tintype was a combination of earlier experiments in imaging and existing commercial processes. Even though these photographs are known as a ‘tintype’, they are not actually made from tin. During their production in the 1800’s these pictures were were called ferrotype, in reference to the material they were created on; ferrous (AKA iron).

Jury Collection Tintype
Jury Collection Tintype

 

Before tintypes existed, the two main types of photographic images, the daguerreotype and the ambrotype, were created by treating glass with light sensitive collodin. Read more