Navigate / search

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

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

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

Burial Investigations

An excerpt from Before and After: A Test of the Reliability of Surface Assessments of Mortuary Features by Michael W. Spence. KEWA Newsletter of the London Chapter, Ontario Archaeological Society. November & December 2013. 13-7 & 8. Page 17-23.**

There is a long history of burial investigation in Ontario. At present the discovery of possible human remains triggers a sequence of procedures required by the Coroner’s Act, the Cemeteries Act (Revised) of 1990, and the Funeral, Burial and Cremation Services Act of 2002 (see Carruthers 1999). The discovery must be reported to police and/or a coroner, who will initiate an investigation conducted by a forensic anthropologist. There are six individuals in Ontario currently approved to do these investigations. Each of us works with a Forensic Pathology Unit and a Supervising Coroner. Read more

Women Pioneers of Archaeology

During the 19th and early 20th centuries, archaeology was digging its roots as a scientific, methodological discipline. Historically, archaeology was mainly a male dominated career and women often did not stand at the forefront of archaeological discoveries. Often women who supported the work received little public recognition making the achievements of the following women stand out all the more.

Harriet Boyd Hawes

Harriet Boyd Hawes (1871-1945)

This well-educated American majored in Classical Studies and was fluent in Greek. After earning her degree, she rode around the island of Crete on the back of a mule (often alone) while looking for ancient sites. In 1901, she discovered Gournia, the first Minoan town site ever unearthed and she supervised excavations for three years. She was able to publish her findings in a highly illustrated report which is still consulted this day. She is noteworthy for her classification of artifacts and using ethnographic parallels of Cretan rural life during her time. Read more

Agatha Christie

This year’s Valentine’s Day blog is about the archaeology behind Mrs. Agatha Christie, a famous crime novelist with a strong and loving connection to archaeology.

Agatha Christie was born September 15, 1890 in the UK. In 1928, a visit to the excavation site of Ur (modern Iraq) sparked her interest in archaeology. She writes, ‘The lure of the past came up to grab me. To see a dagger slowly appearing, with its gold glint, through the sand was romantic. The carefulness of lifting pots and objects from the soil filled me with a longing to be an archaeologist myself.’ – A. Christie, An Autobiography (London, 1981), p. 389

www.allposters.com
www.allposters.com

It was during this time that she met archaeologist Max Mallowan, whom she married in 1930. Max Mallowan (1904-1978) was first an assistant to Sir Leonard Woolley at Ur and later a field director in Western Asia. He is known for conducting further excavations of the Nimrud ivories of the Assyrian kingdom 900-612 BC between 1949 and 1963 Read more

Lizard Pipes

In his 1914 archaeology report on Ontario Effigy Pipes in Stone, Col. Geo. E. Laidlaw writes about the unique Lizard Pipe specimens in Ontario, of which we have on display in our permanent exhibit with a unique provenance.

Lizard Pipes are ” nearly always a white or light-gray stone, [of] steatite and limestone.” Steatite pipes, being a stronger material, have held their carved features better than the softer limestone. Col. Laidlaw distinguishes two categories of effigy pipes:

“1st, Long slender stemmed pipes, with effigies, either human or lizard, clasping the front of the bowl, with head projecting above rim, and when the effigy is a lizard the tail extends along underside of stem. Sometimes only the human head is represented (in one case an animal) perched on edge of bowl.
2nd, Stemless bowls of an ovoid or vase type, with the effigies clasping, or crawling up the bowl on the opposite side of the stem hole. In this second division, so far as observed, the effigies are those of lizards, with one exception.” ** Read more

Staff Profile: Digital Content Creators

Meet MOA’s newest staff: Our Digital Content Creators

Hello, my name is Jordan T. Downey and I am working at MOA as an Archaeology Digital Content Creator.
Hello readers! My name is Katrina Pasierbek and I am thrilled to join the Museum of Ontario Archaeology staff as the Digital Content Creator for Education.

We are both creating some great digital content to enhance your online MOA experience.

Jordan Downey
Jordan Downey, MOA Archaeology Digital Content Creator 2015

Jordan:
Over the next few months I will be writing material for the museum’s website so that you can learn more about Ontario archaeology both before and after your visit to the museum. I plan to write a series of posts about how and why we do archaeology in Ontario and how people lived at the Lawson Site and other sites like it. I also plan to invite prominent and up-and-coming Ontario archaeologists to contribute to our website with some of their own projects and experiences. Read more

Four Excavation Stages you should know

Excavation stages for archaeology in Ontario:

In Ontario, Archaeology is regulated by the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport (MTCS). They maintain a provincial database of registered archaeological sites, issue licenses to archaeologists, and have Standards and Guidelines to follow within the province. Archaeological sites and activity are governed by the Ontario Heritage Act. All archaeological consulting work must be conducted by a licensed archaeologist.

Cultural Resource Management (CRM) is the process of conducting an archaeological assessment to determine if land development will impact sites of cultural heritage value or interest. Once a site has been destroyed, information on its past is lost forever. Sites can either be protected, or their information can be salvaged through excavation and documentation. Read more