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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

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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

What is a longhouse

longhouse MOA

Longhouses were built with a frame of saplings supported by large posts in the house interior, typical longhouses were covered with sheets of bark such as elm bark and birch. Openings at either end were used as doors, while openings in the roof acted like chimneys, letting the smoke from the fires out. Fireplaces or hearths were spaced down the length of a central corridor in the house (an average of 1-6 fires), and were flanked with two platforms: the lower for sleeping, and the upper for food and storage.

The historic record shows that each hearth was shared by two families; one family lived on either side of the longhouse. On average, families had six to eight members. A medium sized longhouse like the one reconstructed at the Lawson site, would have been occupied by 38-40 people, all related through the female line. When a couple got married, the husband would move into his wife’s family longhouse. Read more

From the Archives: Real Photo Postcards

Real Photo Postcards 1899-1930s

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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

Read more

Staff Only: Behind Scenes Part 2

As the saying goes, Rome wasn’t built in a day. I believe the same can be said for exhibits and the design process from its initiation to the final grand opening.  Museum exhibits focus on two areas, the permanent and the temporary. We often have temporary exhibits planned months if not years in advance because it allows better scheduling and team management since exhibits require a lot of preparation and work. I think the best way to talk about it is to divide it into three main stages.

The Planning

Roots Nation (3)

Every exhibit starts with an idea and a goal. For the Museum of Ontario Archaeology, our goal is to share knowledge through visual stories that engage the public and connects us with one another. Recently, the curatorial staff reimagined our permanent exhibit, Roots of a Nation, to include ethnographic items from all over Canada. Previously, Roots of a Nation talked about plants and its uses to Indigenous peoples. We thought that Roots of a Nation can take on a wider meaning, it can mean beginnings, the beginnings of clothes, the beginnings of baskets, and of all essential daily life items and how it has grown and prospered into what the items we recognize today. To facilitate this idea we create text panels for the exhibit and every artifact in order to explore deeper meanings and create connections between the artifacts and people.

The Preparation Read more

Work Study Profile: Nicole

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I have been at the Museum for two months as the Archaeological Interpreter and I instruct groups of school children activities that are offered by the Museum. As well as providing demonstrations that better explain archaeology to children. I became involved with the Museum through volunteer work that began in 2013 which provided me with experience with the collection of artifacts and how the Museum operated. I am in my fourth year of the Honors Specialization Program of Anthropology at the University of Western Ontario. The Archaeological position offered at the Museum allowed for me to transfer my knowledge acquired through my education to be applied to a practical workplace environment.

The atmosphere at the Museum is welcoming and the staff members are all wonderful. They make working at the Museum an absolute pleasure. The Museum of Ontario Archaeology allows for children as well as adults to learn about a group of people that not everyone knows existed and that the City of London was previously occupied hundreds of years ago by the Attawandaron people. Read more

Work study Profile: Samantha

Samantha_Keller

My name is Samantha Keller and this summer I am working as an Education Assistant at the Museum of Ontario Archaeology. I just finished my undergraduate degree at the University of Western Ontario with an Honours Specialization in Archaeological Anthropology and a Minor in History. I am very excited to be working at the Museum this summer with the excellent summer staff!

In June, my job mostly consisted of running programs for the visiting school groups who came to see the Museum. Once school was over at the end of July, I began working on developing a new program. The program I am working on is called “Context in Archaeology”. This program has to do with looking at the artifacts we find at a dig site as “clues” to understand what a room or area was used for. It also has to do with understanding how the different layers in the soil can give us some idea about how old an artifact or a site is. Read more

Journey Across Canada Camp

For this week’s summer camp theme, the campers will embark on a journey across Canada starting from the West Coast.

On Monday, we will learn all about Canada’s westernmost province, British Columbia, and explore this beautiful, mountainous area replete with sparkling lakes and volcanoes. Since northern BC is rich in Aboriginal culture and home to several ancient village sites, the kids will also be crafting their very own miniature totem poles. They will get a chance to practice the symbolism commonly used in Aboriginal culture and choose animal totems that they believe best represent them. There are various cool symbols such as horses for freedom, a sun for energy, and wolves for leadership. Another cool activity for this day will be examining ancient woodland art, and striving to replicate the styles and imagery with our own woodland paintings.

Canada
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Tuesday is when the campers will travel eastbound into the flat land of the Prairies. Consisting of Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba, this region is also known as Canada’s “bread basket” as the Prairies are a major source of wheat for Canadians. We will largely focus on the furry residents of the Prairies, such as the prairie dog, owl, fox, and bison. The kids will have the opportunity to learn more about the prairie food chain through a fun, interactive game, and even construct their own prairie dog as a craft. Read more

August Palisade Newsletter

In this August 2014 newsletter:

  • Camp fun at MOA
  • Story of Our Grandfathers – Exhibit ends August 25th
  • New feature exhibit coming this September
  • What’s new: Interactive exhibit, summer guided tours, new birthday party theme
  • Behind the Scenes: promotional videos, blog: MOA’s mission
  • Pow Wow: September 13 & 14, 2014
  • Wilfrid Jury Day recap

Join our Palisade E-Post Newsletter to get MOA news, events, and stories right to your inbox!

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Work Study Profile: Jonathan

Jonathan_English

Hello! My name is Jonathan English, and I work as one of the Education Assistant at the Museum of Ontario Archaeology. My role over the summer at the museum is to facilitate tours in the gallery and the Attawandaron village; plan the senior camps; and revise and expand educational programming.

I was raised in Northern Ontario along the north shore of Lake Superior, and was exposed to many Aboriginal traditions and less common veins of early Canadian history. This kindled my passion for history, and has led me to pursue a degree in History at Western University. I enjoy writing, reading, and spending copious amounts of time exploring the history of the world through various mediums.

I am most excited to rethink and expand several preexisting activities to incorporate a greater variety of learning styles, and encourage a passion for history amongst students. One of my focuses this summer has been re-examining our Early Societies/Ancient Civilizations workshops. I also immensely enjoy providing tours of the Attawandaron village, and the surrounding rivers and forest. My favourite part of the Museum of Ontario Archaeology is the recreated village and the Iroquoian longhouse.