Ottawa Chapter's 2021 Virtual Lectures

Dundurn Park (AhGx-26) – A Landscape with a View
With Jacqueline Fisher President, Fisher Archaeological Consulting

This virtual zoom talk held on January 21, 2021 is now available on Youtube :


Dundurn ParkDundurrn ParkDundurn Park

Historic Horizon Inc. (HHI) was retained in 2014 to 2015 by the City of Hamilton to undertake a Cultural Resources Management project (Stages 2 to 4) as part of Dundurn Park’s due diligence in preparation for landscaping tasks, and construction with the parking lot. The Dundurn property is located at the top of a bluff overlooking Burlington Bay at the west end of Lake Ontario, in the northwest corner of the City of Hamilton.

The Stage 2 and 3 work conducted by HHI in 2014 had identified the area west of the parking lot as requiring Stage 4 excavation of a multi-component Indigenous Middle Woodland and 19th century Euro-Canadian site that would be impacted by the proposed construction of the new driveway. The Stage 4 excavation took place during the late summer of 2015 into December of that year.

This presentation provides an overview of the Dundurn estate and park which as a whole is a registered archaeological site, with a focus on the results of the Stage 4 Excavation of the western end of the parking lot. The Indigenous material is of particular note as it was possible to delineate two intense lithic reduction areas, and what can be learned by using different excavation methodologies.
Jacqueline Fisher
I have long been fascinated with archaeology, and with everything of the natural world, and it was of no surprise to my parents that I ended up knee deep in mud excavating various sites. I did my undergraduate degree at the University of Waterloo, as I had basically been raised on campus (Dad worked there in geology), and then moved to Hamilton when I went to grad school at McMaster. I stayed in Hamilton where I run my own small, archaeological company FAC. We collaborate a lot with Heather Henderson of HHI, and have run excavations for her at various "big houses" in Hamilton and surrounding areas. While my focus has always been on Indigenous lithic sites, I also find historic sites quite fascinating. 

Freedom Seekers: Archaeology at Uncle Tom’s Cabin Historic Site, Canada
With Dena Doroszenko, Ontario Heritage Trust

This virtual zoom talk held on February 18, 2021 is now available on Youtube :

Tom's cabin1Tom's cabin2

Located in Dresden, Ontario, this talk will focus on past and current research into the Life of Josiah Henson and the Dawn Settlement. Josiah Henson, a National Historic Figure, came to upper Canada seeking freedom in 1830. As a co-founder of the Dawn Settlement and a conductor on the Underground Railroad, his legacy resonates across borders partially due to the influence of his autobiography as well as Harriet Beecher Stowe’s novel, Uncle Tom’s Cabin. The archaeological work in Dresden to date will be discussed as well as our links to a sister site in Maryland, USA.

Dena Doroszenko has worked for a series of public and private agencies resulting in her involvement with a wide variety of historic sites across the Province of Ontario. Experience with professional and avocational archaeological societies, public archaeology programs and directing excavations have provided opportunities to be directly involved in policy development, public education, promotion and advocacy. As the Senior Archaeologist for the Ontario Heritage Trust, her responsibilities include the design and implementation of historical and archaeological research programs and collections management, focussing on the wide range of provincially significant sites that fall under the purview of the Trust.

Alphabet Soup (LA-ICP-MS, Micro-CT and Petrography): New Tools to look at Old Pots
Guest speakers: 
Dr. Gregory Braun, McMaster University
Dr. Alicia Hawkins, Laurentian University 
Dr. Louis Lesage, Huron-Wendat Nation 
Dr. Amy St. John, Western University

This virtual zoom talk held on Thursday April 15, 2021 is now available on Youtube :

In this presentation, we describe an on-going project initiated by and co-conceived with the Huron-Wendat Nation, and which takes an alternative, multi-method approach to analysis of ceramics. We use the framework of communities of practice to examine the ways in which high-collared pottery was made in three broad geographic regions during the 15th and 16th centuries. Rather than focusing on decoration (either attributes or types), we look to how potters selected and processed raw materials for making pots, and the gestures they employed to form rims. We employ materials science approaches – petrography, micro-computed tomography, and laser ablation inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry – to infer technological choices made by Indigenous potters in Ontario and Quebec, with the aim of describing, generally, trends that could arise from different communities of practice across the region.


Alicia Hawkins
Dr. Alicia Hawkins is the program coordinator for archaeology at Laurentian University. She has had the privilege of working on Huron-Wendat sites since 2006 and is a co-lead on this collaborative project to examine ceramics using a community of practice approach. Her current research projects examine past technologies and environments, frequently using a materials science approach. Archaeological methodology and quality assurance are never far from her mind. She is grateful to work with representatives of Indigenous communities, including the Huron-Wendat Nation.

Louis Lesage 
Dr. Lesage is a member of the Huron-Wendat Nation residing in Wendake. He is the Director of the Nionwentsio Office, Council of the Huron-Wendat Nation. Louis Lesage has also served as Forestry & Wildlife Coordinator to the Band Council of the Huron-Wendat Nation. Previously, he worked for the Canadian Wildlife Service (CWS) as Aboriginal Liaison Biologist (Québec region). Since 2018, he is member of the National Aboriginal Committee on Species at Risk. He also currently sits on the Rouge National Urban Park First Nations Advisory Circle as a representative of the Huron-Wendat FN. He is also working on the future protection of a natural forest where Huron-Wendat cultural heritage is present. He earned his MSc and PhD in Biology from Université Laval.

Gregory Braun
Dr. Gregory Braun is currently a Research Fellow at the Laboratory for Interdisciplinary Research on Archaeological Ceramics at McMaster University, and a post-doctoral fellow at the University of Toronto. His research uses materials science analyses of ceramic and lithic objects in order to examine technology and materiality – the ways in which the manufacture, use, and discard of objects articulated with social and religious rituals.  While his primary focus is Iroquoian society in the lower Great Lakes region, he has also conducted research on materials from South Asia, the Mediterranean, and the Near East.  In the past, he has held various CRM positions in both the public and private sectors.

Amy St. John
Dr. Amy St. John completed her PhD in 2020 at Western University in the Department of  Anthropology. Her PhD research explored the use of innovative non-destructive micro computed  tomography (CT) technology, to examine the craft of Indigenous ceramic manufacture. Building  on expertise in micro-CT her current research includes community-initiated work with the Huron-Wendat Nation using micro-CT to study techniques and gestures used by Indigenous potters throughout Ontario and Québec. She is particularly interested in in archaeological  ceramics research that incorporates both Indigenous knowledge and materials sciences techniques to further understandings of past ways of life.

The Davidson Site, A Late Archaic (ca. 2500-1000 BC) Settlement
on the Ausable River, Southwestern Ontario

With Dr. Christopher Ellis

This virtual zoom talk held on September 16, 2021 is now available on Youtube :

Chris Ellis

Dr. Chris Ellis is Professor Emeritus with the Department of Anthropology at the University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario and is a Research Associate with the Sustainable Archaeology Facility, Museum of Ontario Archaeology, London, Ontario

He is an archaeologist with major theoretical interests in explaining variation amongst peoples who subsisted by hunting and gathering and in improving means of extracting information about past societies from their stone tool assemblages. He has been involved in Ontario Archaeology, and more broadly, Great Lakes archaeology, for over 40 years and has focused temporally on the earliest evidence for human occupation dating in excess of 2500 years ago. He has published extensively on that work in several monographs and many papers. He is originally from Oshawa, Ontario and has an Honours BA from the University of Waterloo and an MA from McMaster, both in Anthropology, but his PhD is in archaeology from Simon Fraser University.

Although retired, he still does research and his current primary focus is on the understanding of variation in settlement and subsistence practices among southern Ontario "Late Archaic" peoples of ca. 2500-1000 BC, notably through his work at the Davidson site near southern Lake Huron. However, he also continues to work on much earlier Paleo site material dating to ca. 11,000 BC, notably most recently through detailed analyses of surface collections recovered by a non-professional from the Rogers fluted point site in the Niagara Peninsula region.

Jim Kerron and Nancy Van Sas  at BKC
Nancy - Jim
Post Under House

Archaeology in Paradise (Park, Jamaica): Investigating Jamaica's two pre-Columbian Cultures
With Guest Speaker  Dr. William Keegan

This virtual zoom talk held on November 18, 2021 is now available on Youtube :
Archaeology in Paradise (Park, Jamaica): Investigating Jamaica's two Pre-Columbian Cultures - YouTube

JNHT field team working on the analysis
of clamshells from the Sweetwater site
Bill Keegan explaining our project to school children from the local elementary school

Bill Keegan recording strata at a site in The Bahamas

Paradise Park offered a unique opportunity to investigate two archaeological sites representing both Redware and White Marl occupations. The sites are separated by about 250 m in distance and 500 years in time. This research documented differences in cultural practices in the same environmental setting, and was among the first to identify large-scale environmental changes resulting from pre-Columbian land use practices. This presentation explores the data generated during five field seasons of research at the sites.

Dr. Bill Keegan is Curator of Caribbean Archaeology at the Florida Museum of Natural History and Professor of Anthropology at the University of Florida. Over the past 40 years he has directed research on Jamaica, Cuba, Grand Cayman, Haiti, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, St. Thomas, Turks & Caicos Islands, The Bahamas, Dominica, Saint Lucia, Grenada, and Trinidad. His publications include the Oxford Handbook of Caribbean Archaeology (Edited with C.L. Hofman and R. Rodriguez Ramos, 2013) and The Caribbean before Columbus (with C.L. Hofman, OUP 2017).

This page was launched on June 6, 2021 and updated on January 26, 2021
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