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Ontario Archaeology – OA072, 2001

The Liberation of Wendake
Volume:  OA72
Year:  2001
Page Range:  3 – 14
Abstract:  This paper traces the history of archaeology relating to the Wendat (Huron) people and evaluates its accomplishments. The study of the Wendats is grounded in nineteenth-century efforts by the Jesuits to re-establish themselves in Canada and, more generally, in Euro-Canadian nationalism of the confederation era. Early archaeologists shared the general view that Indians were primitive and unprogressive. Since 1945, Ontario archaeologists have become leaders in the study of the prehistoric archaeology of eastern North America. Extensive archaeological research has revealed the dynamic, changing nature of Wendat society and culture in prehistoric and early historical times. At the same time, archaeologists and modern Wendats have established mutually beneficial relations. Over the years Ontario archaeologists have played a socially important role in dispelling colonial views about the Wendats, and indigenous people generally, in Canadian society and have made progress in overcoming their own estrangement from modern indigenous peoples. These developments have contributed to a sense of achievement and relevance among Ontario archaeologists.

Genoa Frilled Pottery and the Problem of the Identification of the Wenro in Huronia
Volume:  OA72
Year:  2001
Page Range:  15 – 37
Abstract:  This paper explores the possible link between an unusual pottery type found on mid-seventeenth century southern Ontario Iroquoian sites and a group of refugees reported to have arrived in Huronia in 1639. The primary means of examination are ceramic attribute analysis and Instrumental Neutron Activation Analysis (INAA). The core collections are from the Huron Ossossan site and the Neutral Freelton site, with additional data from several other sites in Ontario and New York State. Interpretation of the attribute analysis is that the unusual pottery from the Huron sites was made by a number of individuals, whereas one artisan could have decorated that from Freelton. Further, comparison with the New York pottery showed that although there were some basic similarities in style, the Ontario pottery is also stylistically different from the late Cayuga and Seneca pottery. INAA results indicate that the pottery from Huronia and Neutralia are basically indistinguishable on the basis of elements with short lived half-lives. However, pottery from New York shows differences from the Ontario vessels in the concentrations of several minor and trace elements. None of the Ontario pottery with unusual decoration had chemistry consistent with the New York State pottery. This suggests that the Ontario frilled pottery was made from local clays. Both the results of the attribute analysis and the results of INAA are consistent with what we would expect from pottery produced by a refugee population. An alternative interpretation is that frilling was a widely adopted ‘horizon marker’ of the mid-seventeenth century, possibly related to increased contacts and signalling of common identity in the mid-seventeenth century.

Mourning, Curing, Feasting or Industry? The Interpretation of the Quinte and Perch Lake Mounds
Volume:  OA72
Year:  2001
Page Range:  38 – 63
Abstract:  The Middle Woodland burnt stone mounds of Prince Edward County, Ontario, and Jefferson County, New York, form an unusual class of monuments that have defied satisfactory interpretation. They have been identified variously as ‘burial mounds’, ‘hut rings’, ‘sweat lodges’, and the remains of ‘fire rituals’. Some of this confusion may be attributed to the fact that few of these sites have been examined in great detail. More important, however, is the manner in which these interpretations have been formulated, as they have tended to rely on superficial similarities with other feature types and poorly developed analogy. Through consideration of sites that more closely resemble the burnt stone mounds of the eastern Lake Ontario basin, it is suggested that these mounds are more likely to be the remains of seasonally occupied large-scale cooking or food processing sites, although it is possible that in some cases they also acquired symbolic significance within the subsistence-settlement systems of local communities.