Should "Indigenous Archaeology" be Different from "Canadian Archaeology"?, Toronto, 2006
– Robert McGhee
The growing interest and involvement of indigenous Canadians in archaeology is a development that is undoubtedly beneficial to the continued growth of historical knowledge. The specific interests brought to the field by aboriginal scholars have encouraged a welcome shift in emphasis towards historical explanation and an appreciation for the role of the individual in history. However it is argued that claims or assumptions that indigenous people have special responsibilities for, or special knowledge of, archaeological materials relating to the indigenous history of the continent, are based on faulty premises. These derive from a concept of "Aboriginality" developed by the science of Anthropology as a boundary-marker and unique subject of the discipline. The acceptance of this flawed concept by science, the general public and indigenous people themselves, has led to problematic assumptions that have negative consequences not only for the practice of archaeology, but for the social, cultural and political lives of indigenous people.
Reconciling the Complexity of Social Life and Shell Midden Deposits at a Coastal Village in Barkley Sound, British Columbia, Toronto, 2006
– Iain McKechnie
Archaeological evidence of resource use is often overwhelmingly ubiquitous in Northwest Coast shell midden sites but it is difficult to relate these data to the complex social dynamics observed in aboriginal village communities at contact. Just how interpretively meaningful are shell midden faunal assemblages given the enormity of these sites and the vagaries of sampling, recovery, and taphonomy? How is it possible to distinguish cultural practices of resource use occurring over time and in separate areas of these large human settlements? I address these issues using zooarchaeological data from an ethnographically identified village on the west coast of Vancouver Island (Ts'ishaa, DfSi-16). I discuss how patterning in the use of the most commonly occurring marine fish taxa shows similar temporal and spatial trends throughout the site. I argue this demonstrates that fishing was an aspect of village life that was collectively practiced at a community-level and reveals social interaction and coordination among village inhabitants spanning the past several millennia.
Sea-Level Changes and Archaeological Site Locations in the Dundas Islands, Toronto, 2006
– Duncan McLaren
Archaeological research in the Hecate Lowlands region has been some of the most extensive on the Northwest Coast, particularly in Prince Rupert Harbour. This research has focussed exclusively on components associated with the late Holocene. To date, earlier sites are unknown, most likely as shorelines have changed making such sites less visible from the current and inventory-convenient coastline. Sea level changes along the Northwest Coast, since the last major glaciation, have been highly localized as the result of the complex interplay between eustatic, isostatic, and tectonic factors. To find a long-term representation of archaeological sites on the coast, the construction of a localized sea-level curve is instrumental. This paper presents the results of an isolation basin coring and palaeo-environmental research project undertaken on the Dundas Islands to identify relict shoreline for the purpose of narrowing the search for associated archaeological sites. This reconstruction of sea-level changes reveals that during the late Pleistocene and early Holocene shorelines were higher, up to 13 metres, than the present shoreline. Concurrent archaeological inventory in the region has identified early and mid Holocene archaeological sites associated with raised marine features. This data has been drawn upon to create an archaeological site prediction model aimed at identifying areas where late Pleistocene and early Holocene are most likely to be found. The model will be presented as a hypothesis that will be tested in the coming field season.
Of Boundlessness and Sitelessness: Nonsite Archaeological Patterning of the Stave Reservoir Inundation Zone, Toronto, 2006
– Duncan McLaren
Site boundaries have been made an essential part of archaeological inventory work as a result of government oriented land management strategies in British Columbia. The creation of rigid geographical boundaries is an essential means through which the province asserts jurisdiction, control, and power over resources upon that land. Historically, this is reflected in the creation of such things as bounded private property, tree farm licences, Indian reserves, or archaeological sites. As an extension of this process, archaeological interpretation in British Columbia focuses on the site as a major unit of analysis. In contrast to this, an alternative interpretive approach is presented in this paper. This approach disregards archaeological site boundaries in an analysis of past land use patterns. These patterns are derived from artifacts found during archaeological inventory work in the inundation zone of Stave Reservoir. The results of this study are unique for inland lakeshore areas of the Northwest Coast as a result of the patterning, densities, and distributions of lithic materials across the landscape.
Hwmet'utsum - A Coast Salish Cultural Landscape: An Archaeological Reconnaissance of Mt. Maxwell, Salt Spring Island, British Columbia, Toronto, 2006
– Eric McLay
In 2001, British Columbia created a new provincial park and ecological reserve at Mount Maxwell and Burgoyne Bay to publicly resolve a high-profile environmental land-use conflict on Salt Spring Island. In the shadow of Mount Maxwell's environment, the great cultural significance of preserving this mountain, known as Hwmet'utsum, from a Coast Salish First Nation worldview has yet to enlighten equal public attention and respect. In Coast Salish oral traditions, Hwmet'utsum, or ' Bent Over Place', is commemorated as an important character in creation narratives, and as a powerful wilderness spirit place used for ceremonial practices. A complex of sixteen rock shelters discovered amongst the colossal boulder fall beneath the slopes of Hwmet'utsum provide archaeological evidence for an antiquity of aboriginal land use dating from the Middle Pacific Period (4000-1500 BP) into the historical, if not modern, era. In this paper, it is presented that First Nation heritage site conservation at Mount Maxwell Provincial Park and Ecological Reserve involves not only the protection, interpretation and stewardship of archaeological heritage sites determined by direct observation of physical evidence, but the recognition of intangible, symbolic heritage sites and heritage values identified through the study of oral traditions. The mountain of Hwmet'utsum is introduced as part of a larger Coast Salish 'aboriginal cultural landscape' - a broadly-defined national heritage designation that attempts to integrate both these tangible and intangible elements of aboriginal land use in Canada.
Post-Glacial Landscape and Agate Basin Colonization, Toronto, 2006
– David Meyer, and Andrea Freeman
Two assemblages of Agate Basin artifacts have been collected from fields adjacent to the South Saskatchewan River valley in central Saskatchewan. The bases of several Agate Basin points, end scrapers and other unifaces have been recovered from the Fenton Ferry site (near the town of Birch Hills). Agate Basin point bases have also been recovered from the Zarry I site in the Fish Creek area, some 60 km to the southwest. The Fenton Ferry site approaches the northern limit of the occurrence of Agate Basin in Saskatchewan. Indeed, a pro-glacial lake to the immediate northeast formed a barrier to the movement of people in that direction, until approximately 10,000 rcya. This Agate Basin occupation reflects the first significant human colonization of this newly deglaciated region. This paper, therefore will attempt to construct aspects of the palaeo-environmental setting in which these people lived, as well as their lifeways in this region.
Integrating Archaeological Science and Social Theory to Gain a New Insight into Iroquoian Ceramics, Toronto, 2006
– Kostalena Michelaki
Ceramics have always played a central role in Iroquoian archaeology. They have been used to develop local and regional chronologies, and to define ethnic groups and their movements across space. The idea that ceramic taxa can explain the actions of ethnic groups has come under attack as inappropriate. This paper argues that it is also limited. Iroquoian ceramic making as a technology, revealing people's knowledge and skill about their natural environment, the mechanical properties of their materials, the performance characteristics of their vessels, their identities as skillful craftspeople and their perceptions of 'right' and 'wrong' ways of doing things, is an exciting field of study. The combination of theoretical advancements in the anthropology of materiality, of powerful archaeometric techniques available to archaeologists, and the chronologically well defined Iroquoian ceramic material record can enhance Iroquoian archaeology and bring it to the foreground of anthropological discussions of agency and material culture
Trade and Travel in a Globalizing Economy: South Asian Caravanserai Networks of the Medieval & Late Historic Period (ca. AD 1000-1900), Toronto, 2006
– Heather M. - L. Miller
Caravanserais and other travel amenities are found throughout the historic Islamic world, from Africa to South Asia and beyond. They are one of the markers of the increasing economic and cultural connections worldwide. The Caravanserai Networks Project is a new joint endeavour of the University of Toronto, Canada, the NWFP Directorate of Archaeology & Museums, Peshawar, Pakistan, and scholars from a number of other institutions. The initial stages of the project are using historical and archaeological records to examine the urban and non-urban travel amenities of the historic period in northwestern Pakistan and beyond, to see what groups are encouraging and participating in travel and communication - traders, pilgrims, government officials, and others. The long-term goals of the project are: (1) to document changing exchange and communication patterns between South & Central Asia over time, and (2) to examine cultural change in relation to changing contact with other people, through communication and transportation changes. In the future, the project will use regional field survey to check and extend knowledge of travel patterns; at present U of T project members are assisting in analysis of materials from recent excavations and architectural surveys in the Old City of Peshawar, Pakistan, by the NWFP Directorate.
Pre-Dorset Foragers? New Insights on Pre-Dorset Subsistence Strategies from the Interior of Southern Baffin Island, Toronto, 2006
– Brooke S. Milne, Lisa M. Hodgetts, and Steven T. A. Timmermans
Binford's forager/collector model is frequently used by Arctic archaeologists to infer Pre-Dorset land use and resource exploitation strategies. Despite an absence of preserved faunal remains in many Low Arctic sites, Pre-Dorset are classified as foragers and are presumed to have used an encounter strategy for subsistence. This implies that the Pre-Dorset were less familiar with their landscape and more opportunistic in their subsistence pursuits than subsequent Dorset populations. Faunal remains from several Pre-Dorset sites located in the interior of southern Baffin Island appear to challenge these inferences. These sites indicate that the Pre-Dorset were familiar with the location of seasonally optimal prey species and scheduled their hunting pursuits accordingly. Early radiocarbon dates for these sites suggest that landscape learning occurred rapidly upon entry into this pristine area. These data, while preliminary, challenge existing interpretations of Pre-Dorset lifeways as less sophisticated than those identified for the Dorset period.
Salmon and Rockfish Utilization at T'ukw'aa (DfSj-23A), Western Vancouver Island, Toronto, 2006
– Gregory G. Monks
The history of intensive salmon exploitation on the Northwest Coast has been the subject of research and debate because of the central role attributed to salmon in the emergence of cultural complexity of hunter-fisher-gatherer groups in this culture area. A longstanding view holds that intensive salmon harvesting began very early and that the development of salmon storage was instrumental throughout the area in the emergence of cultural complexity. Recent research suggests that intensive salmon utilization occurred only relatively recently in some regions, and the question of storage in these regions has not yet been addressed. This paper presents preliminary results of fish identifications from T'ukw'aa Village (DfSj-23A) in terms of the relationship between salmon and rockfish. These results are compared to equivalent results from other sites in the Nuu'chah'nulth region and beyond, and the implications of these findings for the emergence of cultural complexity are discussed.
Leadership in Early States: Variation and Implications, Toronto, 2006
– Matthew Mosher
The role of centralised leadership as the main authoritative structure in ancient state-level societies is one aspect upon which most scholars in the field agree. However, just what leadership entails, an under-appreciation of its diversity, and the ambiguity of its manifestation in the archaeological record has hampered serious exploration of the full range of authority in ancient states and has obstructed a broadly applicable definition of "state-level" society. This paper represents an attempt to move beyond viewing centralised leadership as simply a necessary criterion for such societies through an analysis of its (archaeological and historical) variability, specifically utilising the interpretive frameworks of Richard Blanton and Gary Feinman. The implications of such analyses for how we conceive of and define ancient states will be addressed.
Is the East Holland River Site the Lower Landing?, Toronto, 2006
– Andrew Murray
The East Holland River site, BaGv-42, is a large multi-component site located 50 kilometres north of Toronto. Because of its position along the East Branch of the Holland River, the site is part of an important prehistoric and historic transportation route connecting Lake Ontario via Lake Simcoe to Georgina Bay. The results of the Stage 3 test excavation are compared with historic documentation including written records, maps, and an 1815 painting in order to determine past site use. The comparison illustrates some of the difficulties in using archaeology to determine specific events and the limitations of documentary research.
Acculturation in the Aegean Bronze Age: The Adoption and Adaptation of Minoan Religious Symbols by Helladic People, Toronto, 2006
– Derek Newman-Stille
Though the Minoan and Helladic cultures were distinct, as illustrated by differences in their material remains such as variation in their burial styles and the types of religious buildings being constructed by these two groups, the Helladic civilization incorporated many aspects of earlier Minoan religious iconography into its own religious representations on seals. These similarities in seal engravings have lead many Aegean Bronze Age scholars to assume that the Helladic people adopted Minoan religious representations entirely and with little reflection. By applying current theories of acculturation, I intend to demonstrate that although the Helladic people borrowed many religious symbols of Minoan origin, they adapted these symbols to a distinctly Helladic system of representation. Variations in the way that symbols were used by Helladic people indicate that they viewed these symbols differently than the Minoans had and attempted to fit these symbols into a pre-existing Helladic religious system.
Second and Third Wave Indigenous Archaeology, Toronto, 2006
– George P. Nicholas
That approach to, philosophy of archaeology known as Indigenous Archaeology continues to evolve in response to changes within and outside of the discipline. This realm shares much with both Feminist Archaeology (and feminist theory and practice), given their mutual concern with the disempowered and disenfranchised and their goals of establishing a more equitable and representative understanding of the lives of ancient peoples and the sociopolitics of contemporary archaeology. In this paper, I explore aspects of the development of Indigenous Archaeology and the degree of which they parallel (or not) so-called Second and Third Wave feminism, and what the implications of this may be.
Theory and Practice: Exploring the Advantages of an Indigenous Approach to Archaeology, Toronto, 2006
– Gerald Oetelaar
My journey into Indigenous archaeology began in 1995 when I sought the advice of Bruce Starlight on how to excavate a precontact site in northwest Calgary. My primary objective was to increase Indigenous enrolment in the archaeological field school because this course dealt with their history and offered them a unique opportunity to fulfill their science requirements. Although the journey began with a simple quest for the "Indian behind the artifact", some ten years later, this trek has prompted me to question many of the cherished traditions in archaeology. I find myself looking at the archaeological record with a new set of eyes and a theoretical framework based on Indigenous knowledge. Using examples from my own research on the history of the Niitsitapi, I will illustrate how an Indigenous archaeology impacts all aspect of our research from the analysis of artifacts to the interpretation of landscapes.
Between Stories and the Landscape, Toronto, 2006
– Jeff M. Oliver
Amongst the non-literate cultures of the Northwest Coast, there is a profound relationship between oral history and worldview. Narrated by respected storytellers in contexts such as gatherings at the winter village, oral history acted as a vehicle to inform people about origins, distinguishing insiders from outsiders by 'placing' them within the wider context of historical and geographical relations. These traditions are said to be most strongly evoked by the landscape itself; indeed, to use Keith Basso's words, the 'storied landscape' could be 'read' like a book, each mountain, river and stone were like 'mnemonic pegs' on which hung the stories of the mythical past. However, if the landscape became meaningful to people in the conspicuous times and spaces of storytelling, what did people make of it when they returned to the routine activities of the seasonal round 'out on the land'? Drawing on oral history, ethnography as well as the landscape itself, this paper suggests that there is a significant gap between the meaning of the landscape mediated by 'tribal' discourse and that created through situated experiences of place. The implications of this are significant insofar that they suggest a degree of nuance to often monolithic interpretations of proto-historic power relations and concepts of identity.
The Coming of the Iron People and the Importance of the Sea Otter: Haida Economic Changes During the Maritime Fur Trade Period, Toronto, 2006
– Trevor J. Orchard
The late 18th and early 19th century maritime fur trade on the Northwest Coast encouraged a increased focus on sea otter hunting by the Haida and other coastal First Nations, and rapidly led to the extirpation of sea otters from much of the coast. The loss of this ecological keystone species had myriad effects, and resulted in further changes in Haida subsistence adaptations. The excavation and analysis of zooarchaeological and artifactual assemblages from eight late precontact and early contact period Haida village sites in Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve and Haida Heritage Site provides insight into this dynamic period in Haida history. This paper will provide an overview of the results of these analyses and examine the changes that occurred in Haida economic adaptations resulting from European contact and the maritime fur trade.
Was Salmon Specialization a Northwest Coast Universal?: Intensification and Generalization of Prehistoric Northwest Coast Economies, Toronto, 2006
– Trevor J. Orchard, and Terence Clark
Recent applications of multidimensional scaling (MDS) have demonstrated the applicability of the technique to the analysis and interpretation of zooarchaeological faunal assemblages. Building on these previous applications, we apply MDS to the analysis of 84 faunal assemblages from 49 sites that span the geographic range of the Northwest Coast. The results of this analysis provide new insight into geographic and temporal trends in prehistoric First Nations economies across the culture area. Specifically, temporal patterns suggest that the earliest known economies in most parts of the coast are characterized by moderately generalized adaptations. Later patterns point to a variable shift to even more generalized adaptations in some parts of the coast while other regions became more highly specialized. The results of this analysis provide new insight into pan-coastal patterns in economic development, and highlight the high degree of variability that existed in Northwest Coast economies in relatively recent times.
Early Plank House Architecture in Prince Rupert Harbour, B.C.: Evidence from a 2000-2500 Year Old Village Site, Toronto, 2006
– Katherine(University Toronto) of Patton
Plank houses have been inferred from surface depressions and a handful of architectural remains at many northern NWC sites. Comparing architectural features on the ground to information gleaned from ethnographic sources indicates that both historic and prehistoric houses often do not meet our expectations. Using recently excavated data, I will attempt to reconstruct an early plank house (Circa 2500 B.P.) from a small village site in Prince Rupert Harbour, B.C. This will assist me in understanding how domestic architecture may be related to social organization at this site.
Archaeology and Maliseet / Wolastoqiyik in New Brunswick: Partnership and Co-Management Through the Efforts of Chris Turnbull, Toronto, 2006
– Karen PERLEY
'In 1996 the largest archaeological excavation that ever took place in Wolastoqiyik territory in New Brunswick was spear headed by Provincial Archaeologist Chris Turnbull. His success in working cooperatively with Wolastoqiyik advanced to post Jemseg projects which eventually led to the successful compilation of the most comprehensive data ever collected on Wolastoqiyik. I will be presenting a summary of these projects.
Placing Boundaries on the Aspen Parkland: Understanding the Implications, Toronto, 2006
– Tomasin PLAYFORD
Placing human activity within an ecological context has become standard practice in archaeology because understanding the biological and physical environments is a necessary first step in the interpretation of cultural activity. The Aspen Parkland of the Canadian Northeastern Plains provides an excellent opportunity to examine how environmental reconstruction influences interpretation. The Parkland is most often considered a transitional zone between the northern Boreal Forest and the southern Grasslands, and species of each are found within the Parkland. The identification, delineation and classification of these three areas however have not been consistent, and the placement of their boundaries is vital to the interpretation of the archaeological record. Previous researchers have modelled Late Precontact human population movements within the Canadian Northeastern Plains based on the seasonal occupation of the Grasslands, Parklands and/or Boreal Forest. In order to employ or evaluate these existing models, it is necessary to understand how each model interpreted the landscape, and realize the implications of the environmental reconstructions.
Faunal Analysis of the Ospennia Site, FeNq-11, A Doukhobor Farming Community, Toronto, 2006
– Cara Pollio, and Meagan Brooks
The Ospennia site, FeNq-11, is a Doukhobor settlement site north of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan that has provided an unusual faunal assemblage. Its relatively young age of around 100 years and the sandy soils have produced a superbly preserved and undisturbed assemblage. The content of the collection is uncommon as it is comprised of several essentially complete individuals in full articulation, including a horse (Equus caballus), a lamb (Ovis aries), and several chickens (Gallus gallus). In addition, it is evident that the animals were not butchered, coinciding with Doukhobor vegetarianism, suggesting the site was periodically used as a burial area for animals as opposed to a kitchen midden. This site presents an opportunity to consider the lifeways of the Doukhobor settlers and their reliance on non-food animals for their livelihood and survival. In addition, we are able to study the possible histories of the animals themselves through the examination of pathologies.
Recognizing Hearth Features, Toronto, 2006
– Elena PONOMARENKO
Clusters of charcoal in soil can be produced either by natural processes (such as fire), or as a result of human activity (burning of logging slash, domestic fires, hearth use, etc.). Features created by the two groups of processes are not readily distinguishable, which in archaeological sites leads to misidentification of charcoal clusters, associated with tree uprooting, as hearth features. As a result, radiocarbon dating of charcoal from the hearth-like features does not reflect the time of human occupation. In this paper, the qualitative diagnostic features that allow for a reliable distinction between the combustion products of natural fires and hearths contents are discussed. The diagnostic features were formulated by the author based on analysis of charcoal assemblages from hearth contents, burned piles of logging slash, and tree uprooting structures associated with wild fires.
Community Archaeology and the Maritime Cultural Landscape of Newfoundland's Petit Nord, Toronto, 2006
– Peter E. Pope
Local sponsorship of archaeological research is an unusual model in North America, but economic and political realities in Newfoundland and Labrador mean that archaeology here is now driven by the heritage interests of local communities, as well as by academic research agendas. Between 2000 and 2005, SSHRC sponsored the Newfoundland Archaeological Heritage Outreach Program as a positive response to this situation. One major success was organization of the French Shores Working Group, of communities interested in archaeological interpretation of the historic French fishery. In 2004, the French Shore Historical Society co-sponsored an archaeological survey of the Petit Nord, the Atlantic coast of Newfoundland's Great Northern Peninsula. Our research strategy is to look at the Petit Nord at several different scales, ranging from a specific fishing establishment; to the array of fishing rooms around major harbours, like Crouse or Croque; to the choice of harbours along the whole coast.
Military Life on a Victorian Frontier: The Framed Infantry Barracks in London, Ontario, Toronto, 2006
– Dana R. Poulton, and Christine F. Dodd
This paper describes the results of ongoing investigations in Victoria Park, a 132-year-old public park in the City of London, Ontario. The property contains the site of a 10-acre British infantry barracks that formed the heart of the 73-acre military reserve in London. The garrison was established following the Rebellion of 1837 to serve as the headquarters for all British fortifications in southwestern Ontario. The barracks stood for 36 years, until 1874 when it was raised to make way for Victoria Park. Throughout its short history, this garrison played a vital role in the defense of southwestern Ontario, and in the social life and economic growth of the community. Since 1995, the property has been the focus of a multi-year study to identify and mitigate archaeological resources subject to threat of impact by the implementation of the Victoria Park Restoration Master Plan. Although improvements to the infrastructure are only affecting a small proportion of the six-hectare park, they have afforded an opportunity to investigate a wide variety of structures within the historic barracks. To date, the excavations have included portions of the two largest buildings, the soldiers' quarters and the officers' quarters. Other structures excavated in whole or in part include the palisade, soldiers' privies in the northeast and northwest bastions, officers' privies in the southeast and southwest bastions, a root cellar associated with the officers' quarters, and part of the hospital and its associated privy and root cellar. The excavations have recovered a wealth of artifacts from each of these structures.