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Discover Archaeology

The goal of archaeology should be to put the ‘story’ into pre-history” – Wilfrid Jury

Archaeology in Canada is an exciting field of study. Here at the Museum of Ontario Archaeology, we bring history to life through exhibits, educational programs, museum tours, collections, and events.

Archaeology on the Lawson Site

The first detailed scientific excavations of the Lawson Site were begun in the early 1920s by William J. Wintemberg. Wilfrid and Amos Jury later excavated portions of the site in the 1930s and 1940s. A modern excavation was conducted by William D. Finlayson with UWO’s archaeological field school in 1976. Annual excavations were done up to the year 2000 and have contributed to our understanding of this complex site.

Visit the first archaeological site in Canada to be placed on the Canadian Register of Historic Places. Learn more about the Lawson Site here.

Archaeological Research Sites

The Museum became a major centre for archaeological research and Cultural Resource Management consultation service for sites in Ontario during the late 1970s and 1980s such as:

  • Crawford Lake
  • Toronto International Airport (Draper & White Sites)
    • Draper Site: 16th c. Prehistoric Huron Village 3.5 acres.
  • Keffer Site
  • Christian Island Reserve
  • Southwold Earthworks Site (St.Thomas)
  • Talbot Creek & Catfish Creek (drainages near St.Thomas)
  • Archaic Period camp sites: London, Fort Erie, Niagara Falls, Missisauga, Kitchener-Waterloo, Princeton
  • City of London: Middle Woodland sites, Matthew’s Woods
  • Pioneer log cabins and homesteads in London and GTA

Discover Archaeology in Canada at the MOA:

International Archaeology Day: Held each October, MOA comes alive with demonstrations, artifact identifications, and family friendly activities to engage and inspire the archaeologist in everyone.

Dig-It Camp: Youth ages 10 – 14 spend three days learning about a day in the life of an archaeologist. Hands-on activities focusing on the science of archaeology, Ontario Archaeology, and World Archaeology inspire teens to get dirty and have fun!

Dig-It Archaeology Birthday Parties: Kids of all ages can dig into a fun-filled party with their friends. Following in the footsteps of real life archaeologists, guests will take part in a simulated dig on the Lawson Site and identify their discoveries to uncover the mysteries of the past. During the winter months, we bring archaeology indoors for some great cookie excavations and more! Visit the Diggin’ Your Birthday page for more information.

Archaeology Programming: Classes and tour groups are invited to sign up for archaeology-focused educational programming. Our Archaeology In Ontario tour and Archaeologist for a Day program helps you discover what it’s like to be an archaeologist! Visitors are trained in archaeological methods, learn to identify artifacts, and participate in simulated digs or explore underwater archaeology. View our Educational Programs page for details.