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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

Battle of the Thames

The Battle of the Thames took place on October 5th, 1813 as part of the conflict of the war of 1812.

The war of 1812 began for various reasons including numerous attempted invasions from Americans into Canada. The efforts from this war helped shape Canadian independence from the United States. First Nation participants and our founding fathers were able to fight off invading American troops and establish a sense of Canadian nationalism. Between 1812 and 1813, Chief Tecumseh brought together First Nation tribes from across both sides of the border to defend native lands.

1812 Chippewa Experience

I was inspired by MOA’s new exhibit on the Chippewa’s involvement in the war of 1812 so I traveled westward to the location of the Battle of the Thames just outside of Chatham Ontario. At the site, there is a plaque citing both the battle significance and the accomplishments of Chief Tecumseh.  I was inspired to learn more about the Battle of the Thames and the circumstances leading up to it in the war. Read more

Wampum

Wampum belts 1812 exhibit

What are wampums?

Wampums are visual memory keepers that help record history and communicate ideas. Beaded patterns represent a person, nation, event, invitation, shared values and understandings/agreements between two or more parties.  Traditional wampum belts were used as covenants and petitions for understanding. Words spoken during an agreement are made into wampum to be used for ceremony, teaching, and reminders of law and values.

Who do they belong to? Read more

Gloves or no gloves?

Glove: Fact or Fiction

To wear gloves or not to wear gloves? This is a question archaeologist and historians have been debating for decades. Traditionally gloves were used when handling all artifacts, but new evidence suggests that wearing gloves might actually do more harm than good.

Read the following statements and try to determine whether they are  fact, or just a myth! Once you have your answer, scroll down to see if you are correct!

Good luck!

#1: People have oils in their skin that can be harmful to artifact(s) they handle.

#2: You don’t need to wear gloves when handling manuscripts, touching them is actually good!

#3:  You need to wear gloves when handling all textiles and furniture, the wood and fabric will decay if you touch it. Read more

Click on History

The Museum of Ontario Archaeology is proud to launch our new online catalogue. The Online Catalogue connects our collection to the community anytime and anywhere, enhancing our accessibility and promoting a shared knowledge. For the past two years, our curatorial staff have been working on digitizing our collection, a task that carries on today. Their hard work and dedication places objects into a searchable database based categories such as Object Name, Search Term, Accession #, and Collection.

Online collection screenshot

How to browse the collection: Click & Search or hit the Random Image button, however, if you are looking for a more specific object or image, use the Keyword Search or Advanced Search functions to find a range of similar objects relating to your search. Read more

Agents of Deterioration

Agent deterioration

An agent of deterioration is a term used to identify the nine major active agents that threaten museum collections. These active agents can be sudden and catastrophic or gradual over a period of time. Museums have employed and refined different strategies over the years to help mitigate these nine agents. However, these agents aren’t just confined to museums; take a look around your home or neighbourhood. How many of the agents can you identify? Read more

Nailing down Iron Artifacts

Iron is a common material used to create tools, weapons, and everyday equipment. It is distinguishable from other metals as it is magnetic and corrodes into rust. It is a very common find for archaeologists on historic sites in Ontario as it dates back to European contact. Iron was introduced from Europe in the 15th century.

Iron nails

The most common iron artifacts found on historical sites are nails. Nails have changed throughout the years as different processes have become available. By looking for different features, archaeologists are able to tell how old a building might be. Read more

Ceramic Identification

Ceramics artifacts have a long human history, dating back 27,000 years. Ceramics are a useful artifacts for archaeologist as they are hand made, durable, and can last thousands of years without changing from their original state.

Clay, in its natural form, is white in colour. impurities such as iron make it a different colour. When clay is heated, water evaporates and the minerals fuse to become a ceramic. This process is irreversible once the ceramic has been created, and is similar to making glass.

Identifying qualities of Historic Ontario Ceramics: Read more

Mammoths & Mastodons

mammothsvsmastadon

One of the largest mammals known to man is the elephant. What most people don’t know is that the elephant is a descendant from the mammoth and mastodon. After the dinosaurs died off, the mammoth roamed Asia, Europe as well as North America. They were known to be alive up until about 4,000 years ago. Unlike the dinosaurs, the mammoth lived amongst the humans. We know that the mammoth lived because of the drawings that were found in caves of the humans hunting the mammoth or simply drawings of the mammoths themselves. Read more

From the Archives: Real Photo Postcards

Real Photo Postcards 1899-1930s

Real Post Card and Cabinet card-2
Real Post Card and Cabinet card-3

MOA has a vast collection of hundreds of Jury Family personal photographs beginning in the 1890’s and ending in the 1960’s. Within the collection we see the unique shift of photography during the early 1900s, especially with the introduction of the real photo postcard.

The real photo postcard began after the development of the dry plate process and roll film in the 1880s. The introduction of roll film was integral to the shift of professional photography allowing for photos to be created by the ‘common man’. Many companies opened during this time in order to supply the public’s demand which in turn depressed the entire market. George Eastman, the man most responsible for the real photo postcard decided in order to survive the highly competitive market, he needed to create something unique. He created the new camera system Kodak with a highly recognized marketing campaign; you press the button, we do the rest.

Real Post Card and Cabinet card-4

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