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Year in Review

2015/2016 Year in Review

As seems to be the case every year, this year in review highlights how much has been happening at MOA. The museum has continued to improve over the past year. Plans for much needed repairs to the building are well underway, such as the repairs to the roof and HVAC system.  We have also planned exciting new exhibits, community partnerships, and better management of the Lawson Site.

Language_Exhibit_8
Oneida and Anishinaabe/Ojibwe Language Exhibit

The past year has seen tremendous growth in the museum’s reach through our social channels and community outreach. We’ve established a strong partnership with Huron College and First Nations studies at Western University that have resulted in major exhibits at the museum this past year. We’ve increased opportunities for students in various programs to complete internships and research projects at the museum. We’ve also begun building a partnership with the Huron-Wendat Nation and the Jesuits in English Canada to create a Community Memories exhibit about Ste. Marie II. This is an exciting partnership and the resulting on-line and physical exhibit will explore a story of struggle, sacrifice, and change during one of the most significant periods in early Canadian History. We have been able to more actively promote the work of Ontario Archaeological Society Chapters and look forward to working even more collaboratively with the OAS in the coming year. Read more

Southdale Site Longhouse

Long before the creation of this blog, and before the digital Palisade E-Post, the museum sent out paper newsletters. First published in February 1979 each Palisade Post issue is a snapshot of what was happening in Ontario archaeology during this time, and is the basis of our Look Back series.


The Southdale Site Longhouse

(1988 Volume 10, Number 1)

An intriguing page of the London area’s early history was unearthed in south London during July with the Museum’s salvage excavation of the Southdale site on Southdale Road.  Of particular interest to Museum archaeologists was the discovery of a 14th or 15th century Neutral longhouse that measured an incredible 53 metres (174 feet) in length.  While larger longhouses have been found in other parts of the province, the Southdale house becomes the largest prehistoric structure ever documented in the London area.  This unusual find has revealed a hitherto unknown aspect of prehistoric Neutral settlement patterns, yet as often happens in archaeology, we have come away with more questions than answers. Read more

Monica Norris Internship

In the collections storage room cataloguing
Monica In the collections storage room cataloguing.

Meet Monica who is completing an internship at MOA

Hello!  I am Monica Norris, and I began my Collections internship with the MOA in May.  I am completing my final semester of the Museum Management and Curatorship post graduate program at Fleming College.  The reason I chose to study at Fleming College is because the program is intensive and very hands-on.  A lot of material is covered, not only from an academic approach, but I also had many opportunities to apply concepts in a practical manner.  This has given me a more realistic experience than other programs might offer.  The skills and tools I acquired through the MMC Fleming program have prepared me for real life situations, and given me the ability to perform a wide variety of tasks that are common practice in medium to small sized museums.

I will be working in collections management this summer, helping to create, maintain and enhance the archaeological records in the database PastPerfect.  This has involved cataloguing artifacts that have not been entered into the system yet, as well as providing condition reports.  Along the way I have been repacking artifacts into archival bags.  I will also conduct research to help gather information to be used in the collections records and in museum blogs. Read more

Sir William Flinders Petrie

Sir Flinders Petrie, 1903
Sir Flinders Petrie, 1903

Sir William Mathews Flinders Petrie is responsible for making archaeology the scientific discipline it is today.

Archaeology in popular media is frequently portrayed as a treasure hunt. Many popular characters perpetuate this image, perhaps most famously Indiana Jones, a professor of archaeology who travels the globe in search of precious artifacts, which he obtains by any means necessary, and at anyone’s expense, with little regard for context beyond the value of the object. Although this is a misleading image of archaeology today, in its early years the discipline really was more like treasure hunting than science. Sir William Mathews Flinders Petrie is the man responsible for taking the first steps towards making archaeology the scientific discipline it is today. Read more

Beadwork with Dakota Ireland

Dakota Ireland

Shekoli/Hello, my name is Dakota (Kalo:loks) Ireland.

I do a lot of different beadwork, but mostly jewelry such as rings, bracelets, earrings, and necklaces/medallions. The main beading style that I use is peyote stitch (also known as gourd stitch) and it is a particular style of weaving.

I come from the Oneida Nation of the Thames and my clan is Bear. I have been working with the Museum of Ontario Archaeology for two and a half years now. I was the curator for The Story of Our Grandfathers: Our Original Medicine exhibition from May-August 2014 and the assistant curator for the On^yota’a:ka: ukwehuwenekha’ khale’/miinwaa Anishinaabemowin language exhibition that is currently on display at the museum. Read more

Ice Patch Archaeology

Many portrayals of archaeology in popular culture include travelling to remote locations in order to recover artifacts regarded as “treasure”, usually under dramatic and somewhat harrowing circumstances. For Greg Hare, the Yukon Territory’s site assessment archaeologist, ice patches are the equivalent of the treasure filled tombs in an Indiana Jones film.

Figure 1. Archaeologists Survey the Friday Ice Patch, Yukon Territory Photo courtesy of Yukon Cultural Services Branch
Figure 1. Archaeologists Survey the Friday Ice Patch, Yukon Territory. Photo courtesy of Yukon Cultural Services Branch

Ice Patch Archaeology began in the late 1990s through the Yukon Ice Patch Project (Hare 2011: 2). Ice patches are accumulated snow and ice from previous winters that does not melt in the summer. They are found in alpine regions around the world, including the southern Yukon. Unlike glaciers, they do not flow downhill or move over time (except for seasonal melting along the perimeter). When the Yukon Ice Patch project began, changing temperatures were resulting in massive melting of these ice patches, which revealed many archaeological artifacts that had previously been encased in the ice. Due to the extremely dry and cold conditions, as well as the sedentary state of the ice, these artifacts are  remarkably well preserved and can include sinew, hide, and feathers on objects up to 9,000 years old (Hare 2011: 22). Read more

Lawson Site Changes: Part 2

 The Lawson Site “Un” Field School

Picture of students learning about archaeology at the Lawson Site.
School group at the Lawson site in 2000.

As part of the long term management of the Lawson Village and partnership we have with the Department of Anthropology at Western University, the Museum’s Lawson Chair (Neal Ferris) will be running a field school on the site though the last half of May and early part of June. This course is not your typical field school because it’s not  focused on teaching students how to dig up a site. Instead, students will undertake field investigations that are designed to protect the heritage value of this important archaeological site while remaining consistent with our aim to preserve the site. In other words, students will be learning how not to dig up the Lawson site! Read more

Lawson Site Changes: Part 1

For the past number of years, visitors to the Lawson Site will have noted an ongoing state of deterioration.  Over the years, weather, animals, and time have not been kind to the interpretive signs, gardens, and buildings.  The process of remediating the site and developing an ongoing management plan are now underway and over the next few years, visitors will start to see ongoing improvements.

Small longhouse as it appeared in 2015.
Condition of small longhouse in 2015.

One of the first big changes at the Lawson Site was the removal of the small reconstructed longhouse adjacent to the forest.  Originally built in 2002, the small longhouse helped illustrated the variation in house sizes at the Lawson Site but was closed to the public about 5 years ago when it became unsafe Read more

Museum Governance Matters

governance

While you may be aware that MOA has a Board of Directors, have you ever considered what the Board does?  Or why museum governance matters?

By definition (Canadian Museums Association) museums are not-for-profit institutions created in the public interest.   While museums have operational functions that differ from other not-for-profit organizations, as institutions, they still operate within the same legal, ethical and business frameworks of any other not-for-profit organization. Read more

Look Back: The Pipe Site Pipe

Long before the creation of this blog, and before the digital Palisade E-Post, the museum sent out paper newsletters.  First published in February 1979 each Palisade Post issue is a snapshot of what was happening in Ontario archaeology during this time, and is the basis of our Look Back series.

The Pipe Site Pipe

(Spring 1993, Volume 15 No. 1)

“Of all the pits, in all the fields, you had to pop out of mine.”

No, it’s not a bad line from a great movie, it’s just my way of introducing this article, which deals with the experience of finding that one artifact, in one test pit, on one survey.

This happened in November, 1992, when the Contract Archaeology crew conducted an archaeological assessment of approximately 64.5 hectares (160 acres) of land in Flos Township, Simcoe County.  Only 30 percent of this property could be visually surveyed.  The rest of the property that had both natural and reforested woodlot had to be surveyed using a technique known as ‘test pitting’.  Using this method we were able to recover three isolated find spots and one undisturbed village.  After a brief description of the survey technique, I will discuss the find spot which produced the pipe pictured here. Read more