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Ontario Archaeology – OA064, 1997

Guest Editorial: In Celebration Of……..
Volume:  OA64
Year:  1997
Page Range:  1 – 7
Abstract:  No Abstract

Among Marshes and Gneiss Mounds: The Archaeology of La Vase Island
Volume:  OA64
Year:  1997
Page Range:  8 – 38
Abstract:  In 1995, Archaeological Services Inc. carried out limited test excavations at the mouth of the La Vase River, on the eastern shore of Lake Nipissing in the City of North Bay. The primary objective of these investigations was to locate the remains of a small, circa 1800-1820 trade post operated by Eustache LaRonde at the terminus of a portage route, while at the same time providing hands-on volunteer opportunities in archaeology for the public. These investigations not only confirmed the presence of a late eighteenth to early nineteenth century habitation, but also yielded evidence for a long sequence of activity at the river mouth, one which began at least as early as circa A.D. 600.

“Weeds Upspring Where The Hearth Should Be”: Rural House Abandonment In Southern Ontario
Volume:  OA64
Year:  1997
Author:  IAN T. KENYON
Page Range:  39 – 55
Abstract:  A site type often encountered in the course of archaeological field surveys is the rural house abandoned in the nineteenth or early twentieth centuries. The creation of such sites is related to two phenomena well-recorded in contemporary documents. Initially most houses were built of logs, but as settlement progressed these were often replaced by ‘improved’ structures of frame, stone or brick construction. Later, in the half-century between 1880 and 1930, came a second phase of house abandonment, when much of rural Ontario underwent a general depopulation. This paper examines these two periods of house abandonment, and looks more specifically at the underlying factors. In particular, contemporary descriptions and statistical information from census records will be used to develop a framework for understanding the space-time dimensions of rural house abandonment and loss.

The Root of the Scatter: Nineteenth Century Artifact and Settlement Patterns in Rural Ontario
Volume:  OA64
Year:  1997
Page Range:  56 – 80
Abstract:  In southern Ontario, the most common historic period site type encountered during cultural resource management (CRM) work is the small rural farmstead. The fact that these sites are located most often within the plough-zone, however, can make their analysis challenging as little in the way of structural features has survived. This paper will discuss the documentary evidence, settlement pattern data, and the frequency variations within artifact groups on 15 sites excavated by the consulting firm Archaeological Services Inc. (ASI) between 1986 and 1995. Particular attention will be paid to the site formation processes, in addition to the contextual evidence of nineteenth century land use, in order to explain the variation observed within artefact groups and settlement patterns in this study. In particular, it will be suggested that the presence or absence of a root cellar, or other large subsurface features, would appear to have important implications for the interpretation of site formation processes that occurred after the farmstead was abandoned. Also important are the methods we choose as archaeologists to excavate these sites.

An Archaeological Narrative of York’s Cultural Landscape 1793-1998
Volume:  OA64
Year:  1997
Page Range:  81 – 111
Abstract:  Fort York, located in downtown Toronto, served as a British military garrison from 1793 to 1870. Over the last 12 years archaeological fieldwork conducted in advance of proposed restorations recovered substantial amounts of archaeological and stratigraphic information from virtually all areas of the fort grounds. By mapping the elevations of six major stratigraphic phases and using this data to interpolate two and three-dimensional surfaces, insights were discovered into both the physical and social elements that influenced the way the landscape was used and modified over time. These new insights go well beyond what was previously known about the landscape through the maps and drawings of the Royal Engineers. Furthermore, this research illustrates the capability historical archaeology has in not only documenting these landscape developments, but also correcting historical misconceptions of the cultural landscape as depicted by documentary sources and exploring the socio-cultural dimensions reflected in landscape use and modification.