Every archaeologist knows when you have a trowel hang on to it, because you never know when it will get mixed up with someone elses onsite. We often mark our trowels with a symbol or name etc.to break the cycle of confusion but alas, trowels still go missing. Developed as a hobby by an archaeologist for other archaeologists, Hermit Woodworking designs custom trowels that you can buy online or custom order with specific colours or inlays (Harry Potter themed anyone?!)
Archaeologists such as Lewis Binford working in the 1960s developed the theory of New Archaeology. This theory tries to understand the forces that cause cultural change. This is where New Archaeology gets its other name: Processual Archaeology.
Lewis Binford and archaeologists like him realized that Archaeology had unused resources. These new archaeologists argued that they should look at the populations of today to understand more about the populations of the past.
For example, Binford conducted an ethnographic study among the Nunamiut of Alaska. He lived with, ate with, and learned about the Nunamiut better understand how hunter-gatherers lived in ancient France. Binford observed the waste materials created by knapping stone and found similar waste materials in the archaeological record. By linking modern understandings with archaeology, Binford learned more about past technologies and learned why stone fragments appear the way they do in the archaeological record.
Archaeologists now answer questions by combining understandings of many disciplines. Before this change, archaeologists could only describe sites, or ask questions about what the artifact was and how old it was. To understand the ‘why’, archaeologists take an inter-disciplinary approach by working with people such as sociologists, chemists, biologists, and geophysicists just to name a few. Sharing knowledge between these disciplines allows archaeologists to develop their understanding of material culture better than ever before.
Binford, L. (1972). An Archaeological Perspective. New York: Seminar Press.
Renfrew, C., & Bahn, P. (2008). Archaeology: Theories, Methods, and Practice (5 ed.). London: Thames & Hudson.
Willey, G., & Sabloff, J. (1974). A History of American Archaeology. London: Thames and Hudson.
Out of the known materials that were made by the First Nations, the copper materials that have been unearthed over the years are indeed fascinating. But where did these materials originate? How were these objects created? And what were copper objects used for? When journeying through the archaeology of these copper materials, even professionals in modern blacksmithing and Indiana Jones himself can marvel at the brilliant copper manufacturing skills of the First Nations.
On October 21st, hundreds of organizations across the world will be holding workshops, fairs, and lectures for International Archaeology Day.
“International Archaeology Day is a celebration of archaeology and the thrill of discovery. Every October the AIA and archaeological organisations across the United States, Canada, and abroad present archaeological programs and activities for people of all ages and interests. Whether it is a family-friendly archaeology fair, a guided tour of a local archaeological site, a simulated dig, a lecture or a classroom visit from an archaeologist, the interactive, hands-on International Archaeology Day programs provide the chance to indulge your inner Indiana Jones.”
Imagine that you are an archaeologist working shortly after the First World War. It’s your first excavation and you have found small fragment of pottery. What questions would you ask?
Was one of your questions how old is it? This is a core question that can be tricky to answer. From 1914 to 1940 archaeologists refined stratigraphy, seriation, and typology in an effort to better understand the age of an object, and of the site as a whole. Read more
MOA had the opportunity to sit down with Dr. Andrew Nelson, an Associate Professor in Anthropology at Western University, to discuss some of his more recent work including his contribution to the Art Gallery of Ontario Small Wonders exhibition that includes a Virtual Reality Medieval Prayer Bead, now available at MOA.
Andrew’s research interest are focused in two major subfields of anthropology; biological anthropology and archaeology. When he is not scanning artifacts in Sustainable Archaeology or on the many research projects at Western University, Andrew can be found navigating the complexities of archaeological sites both local and abroad. Read more
What do you think of when you think “archaeologist?” Don’t try to be too correct. Have some fun. When I think of an archaeologist I cannot help but imagine an Indiana Jones-like figure: someone exploring jungles and deserts in search of mysteries from the ancient world. This isn’t what archaeology is today but it is part of the undeniable charm and romance of archaeology. Read more
Remember that scene in Indiana Jones when you weren’t quite sure if Indy and Marion were going to escape from the snake filled temple in the Well of Souls? Well, there’s an archaeological site a little closer to home with the same secrets, surprises and religious past. While a visit to the Colony of Avalon at Ferryland, Newfoundland, might be a little shorter on action than an Indiana Jones movie, it’s got excitement and interest of its own.
When people think of archaeology, they often think of box office hits like Indiana Jones and Lara Croft Tomb Raider. These movies suggest that archaeological “treasures” can only be discovered in far away lands such as the pyramids of Peru or the tombs of Cambodia, when in fact archaeological artifacts can be found right outside your back door here in Ontario!
About an hour north of Toronto are a series of archaeological sites near Wilcox Lake, on the Oak Ridges Moraine, located in Richmond Hill, that span most of the human history of Ontario. The TRCA (Toronto and Region Conservation Authority) began initial excavation of the Lost Brant site in 1992 and intensive excavations took place from 1999 – 2002, uncovering almost 10, 000 artifacts, including chert points and pieces of ceramic vessels.
Guest Blog By: Joel Wodhams, Exhibit Intern Summer 2017
Canada’s 150th birthday is fast approaching, but did you know there is over 150 years of archaeology at the Lawson site? From its humble origins in the mid 1800s, to its current day affiliation with the Museum of Ontario Archaeology and the University of Western Ontario, Lawson has captured the imagination of generations.
Archaeology evolves from the underlying human interest in the past. Archaeology is a modern practice, evolving since the 1800’s, but interest in the human past spans back hundreds of years.
Sometimes called the “Speculative Period” early collectors created their own understandings of the past. The famous example in North America of this speculative period is the Moundbuilder myth: that the large burial mounds in the United States must have been built by an ancient civilization totally unrelated to the indigenous population.