My name is Kylie Kelly. I have been working as student assistant curator at the Museum of Ontario Archaeology since September 2013. I am fortunate that with my position I get to experience every aspect of the museum, from cataloguing artifacts, organizing exhibits, to assisting with the education programs. I am currently attending Western University for Classical and Medieval studies; I wish to pursue a career in Roman or Egyptian archaeology, specifically in museum and conservation, after I am done my undergrad. My passion for history is what initially drew me to work at the museum. I love everything old. Along with my love of history I am also of Native American descent, so working here has also given me a unique chance to see my own heritage and culture. Read more
My name is Nicole Aszalos and I have been part of the MOA team since May 2014. Although I am now the Curator, when I started my official job title was a curatorial intern, but as in any smaller institution, that takes on a broad meaning since I am diving into something new and exciting everyday. My first project was to redesign the interpretive panels of both the Lawson site and the permanent gallery in order to make them more accessible and engaging to the public. Currently I am standardizing MOA’s cataloguing database, creating digital records of the collection, rehousing archaeological artefacts, and conducting research. Read more
War of 1812 Artifacts Archaeological excavations conducted by Timmins Martelle Heritage Consultants Inc. (TMHC) uncovered a small number of artifacts from the War of 1812. These included a musket ball, two buck shot and a caltrop. Click here to see image examples. The musket ball measured between 16.5 mm (0.65 inch) and 17.0 mm (0.67 inch) in diameter, and both buck shot measured in the double naught size range, that is, between 8.4 mm (0.33 inch) and 8.9 mm (0.35 inch) in diameter. These sizes were consistent with the buck and ball load American troops employed during the War of 1812. Buck and ball was a paper cartridge containing one musket ball and two or three buck shot. The purpose was to increase the chance of hitting a target with the bonus possibility of hitting multiple targets with one shot. The smaller buck shot might not kill a target but could cause enough injury to remove a soldier from battle.
Fugitive Slave Chapel Artifacts
Objects found at an archaeological site tell us a lot about the people who lived there. After all, archaeology is the study of material evidence left behind by humans in order to understand their behaviour.
We cannot yet tell you a lot about life at the Fugitive Slave Chapel because analysis of the artifacts has only just begun. The artifacts were excavated in May to July 2013 and were washed and processed in January 2014. The research that has been found was collected thanks to volunteer efforts. The Museum of Ontario Archaeology is lucky to have the chance to display these artifacts to the public before they are analysed and researched by the archaeological team, Timmins Martelle Heritage Consultants.
Out of 41 excavated units, a total of 8 potential cultural features were identified on the site. One may have been a grey water pit and others were likely small refuse pits which explains the wide assortment of ceramics, glassware, and buttons.
Selected artifacts from the Fugitive Slave Chapel Site
Work study profile: Erik Skouris
How long have you worked at MOA?
I have been at the Museum of Ontario Archaeology for 6 months.
What is your job title and what do you do?
I am a Curatorial Assistant. I assist Joan Kanigan, the Executive Director, with various assigned and ongoing projects. This includes processing the Museum’s collections and registering, accessing, cataloguing, and shelving the museum’s existing objects. I also maintain inventory and documentation according to Ontario curatorial standards. I have prepared various reports regarding collection activities and conditions of archival objects as well. Currently, I am assisting in an exhibit design. The exhibition is titled, “What Archaeologists Do In The Winter”. Read more
Photographing Fugitive Slave Chapel Artifacts
Larry has volunteered to take photograph some of the important artifacts from the Fugitive Slave Chapel site. In the early afternoon, he was taking pictures of important bottles for future research. We caught him photographing a medicine bottle with the words “pain killer” and “vegetable”. Researchers will find a date and more details about the product.
You can do a quick search for “pain killer vegetable bottle” on Google and see what you find! Who knows, the artifact featured in this video could be Perry Davis’ vegetable pain killer…
Photography and archaeology:
The attached videos feature Rebecca who is working on the “in between” step to help the cataloguer. She is using an Excel spreadsheet to keep track of the items found in the field bags. If any interesting items are found or notes need to be made associated with the unit items being cleaned, they are documented. This will help the cataloguer and make it easy to access certain artifacts when all items are put into storage.
Artifacts are also sorted into smaller bags within the larger field bag. For example, ceramic patterns are sorted and matched if possible and bones might be put together.
Some of the coolest things that have been found are bottles with embossed writing. A lot of information can be gained from these bottles. One item was found to be from a quack doctor’s “miracle medicine” concoction. Read more
Artifact Washing Process:
Small groups of 6-8 people work to help wash artifacts from the Fugitive Slave Chapel site. In the summer, 1 meter square units were excavated on the site and any materials found in that space were documented and kept together in “field bags” with attached provenience information: site number, unit coordinates, level, date, and excavator’s initials. Each bag is given a separate number for the site. Artifacts from the completed units are taken to a lab for processing.
At the Museum of Ontario Archaeology, volunteers are taking items out of the field bags to wash. Read more