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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?


Ontario Doug examining artifacts in surface collections.
Ontario Doug examining artifacts in surface collections.

Our goal on this trip was to document three clusters of Late Archaic materials on a ploughed field surface by mapping and collecting all fire cracked rock and other artifacts. All day the archaeology crew conducted surface collections by 5×5 meter squares; we lost Dusty and Teabiscuit in them a few times! You wouldn’t believe how many artifacts we found, such as projectile points, bifaces, and tools. I found some fire cracked rock and chert flakes with Nicole and Dr. Lucy in our squares.

The team mapped items that they found, grid by grid, using a Total Station while picking up more items, such as fire cracked rock and Kettle Point chert. Nicole let me use the Total Station for the first time, and boy was that fun! A total station helps archaeologists create a map of the site, and can help future archaeologists plot where the team found artifacts on a map.

Ontario Doug and Dr. Lucy Troweler check out a recent find while helping Dr. Chris Ellis at the Parkhill site.
Ontario Doug and Dr. Lucy Troweler check out a recent
find while helping Dr. Chris Ellis at the Parkhill site.

Dusty helped us bag up and label the artifacts very carefully so we can wash and analyse them later, this helps us and future archaeologists identify the hundreds of objects we found! Some of the grid squares had plenty of objects, while some of them had very few. By the end of the day, the amount of objects the team collected made for some very weighty walks back to the vehicle. Good thing we had horse power!

We had great weather as well, sunny and hot! We were very lucky as Nicole says digging through mud is much harder. But after a hard days’ work, we were ready for some ice cream! We stopped at the “Lickity Split” ice cream parlour, and I was super excited to DIG IN!

Can’t wait to share more of my adventures with you all!

Ontario Doug

To learn more about Davidson Site, CLICK HERE

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