J. Norman Emerson on excavation in the 1950’s
The Ontario Archaeological Society began in 1950 as the joint project of a group of enthusiastic amateurs whose interest in “buried history” had been sparked by the exciting lectures of John Norman Emerson, Professor of Anthropology at the University of Toronto. Though it is worth noting that an active interest and pursuit in Ontario’s archaeological record extends well back into the 1800s.
Publication of original and informative archaeological works has always been a major aim of the society, although shortage of funds made it difficult to achieve that goal in the early years. Some early mimeographed pieces set the stage, but the first printed issue of Ontario Archaeology appeared in 1958. The newsletter Arch Notes, which started as a one-pager, is now an established and substantial publication.
Growth of membership and support from the Ontario and federal governments finally made it possible for the OAS to get its very own office and staff.
The society’s continual growth in membership brings together professional archaeologists of all stripes (university, museum, government and private consultant), with students and avocational archaeologists, as well as enthusiasts, members of the public, descendant and First Nation community members, and the public from here in Ontario, and from across Canada and the United States. Collectively, this membership has made the OAS the voice of the archaeological community in Ontario – a responsibility and dedication our members continue to pursue today.