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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

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

The Rosetta Stone

Rosetta Stone

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

MOA’s Edu-Kit

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.

edu-kit guide, teachers resource

Resource Guide

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

Vikings of L’Anse aux Meadows

Frequently Axed Questions About the Vikings of L’Anse aux Meadows

archaeology, Newfoundland, L_Anse_aux_Meadows, Vikings

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

Changing Landscapes: London Parks

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

London Parks - Springbank Park including Northern Hotel 1880
The Pumphouse complex, including the Northern Hotel, in 1880 before the flood in 1883.

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

Changing Landscapes: Kensal Park Norton Site

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

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

Family Day 2016

Family Day 2016 new

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.

FamilyMuseum07-180213-MMweb___Content

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

What’s in a Collection?

Help preserve our collection with the Adopt an Artifact program

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