We encourage the practice of ethical archaeology in the discovery of the history of Huronia (northern Simcoe County) through archaeological research and discussion of the historic record and oral tradition. Please feel free to comment and or join and post on the blog. Blog contents do not necessarily reflect the opinion of the Ontario Archaeological Society or the Huronia chapter.
In recognition of Black History Month and Simcoe County’s own Black Heritage, the Huronia chapter is pleased welcome Dr. Karolyn Smardz Frost to speak at our February 27th members meeting.
Our meeting will be held at the North Simcoe Sports and Recreation Centre, Midland starting at 7: PM.
Our meetings are open to the general public at no charge.
Black church in Oro township
Karolyn Smardz Frost
an archaeologist and an historian, Karolyn Smardz Frost explores North
America's rich African American and African Canadian heritage and specializes
in studying and teaching the Underground Railroad in the Great Lakes basin. She
is an adjunct professor at both Acadia and Dalhousie Universities, and is
consulting historical archaeologist for the Cataract House hotel excavations in
Niagara Falls, New York.
is also an accomplished author of lively and intriguing narrative non-fiction.
In 2007 Karolyn won the Governor General's Award for I've Got a Home in Glory Land: A Lost
Tale of the Underground Railroad. Her co-edited A Fluid Frontier:
Slavery, Resistance, and the Underground Railroad in the Detroit River
Borderland (2016), won the Historical Society of Michigan Book Award.
newest volume, Steal Away Home (HarperCollins Canada 2016) tells the
story of Cecelia Jane Reynolds, who at the age of fifteen fled her Kentucky by
way of the Cataract House hotel at Niagara Falls NY. Reaching Toronto she learned
to write and began a correspondence with Fanny, the woman who had once owned
her body, asking the price of her own family's freedom. Thus began a
twenty-year correspondence between a freedom-seeker and her former mistress
that has no parallel in the annals of American slavery.
A finalist for the Atlantic Book and
Heritage Toronto Awards, Steal Away Home won
the Speaker's Award for the Legislative Assembly of Ontario and the J.J. Talman
Award for the best book in Ontario history over the past three years. The most
exciting news yet is that Steal Away Home
has been optioned for a five-part mini-series by Conquering Lion Pictures,
which produced the Book of Negroes
for television! Karolyn will speak about the archaeology of the Underground
Railroad, and tell the tale of not one but two excavations illuminating the
life of freedom-seeker Cecelia Jane Reynolds.
Beginning the year 2019 in fine style,
on Wednesday, 9 January, 7 p.m. at the
Thompson Room of the North Simcoe Recreation Centre in Midland, our speaker
will be Janet Turner, and her topic will be titled “The Molson Site: A
Proto-Historic First Nations Settlement, Barrie, Ontario.”
Janet Turner, a secondary school
Teacher, was given the unique opportunity to run a Summer School Co-op
Education programme under the direction of Paul Lennox and Gary Warrick in 1985
at the Molson Site in Barrie. Co-op Education was in its infancy at this time,
so 22 chosen students from the five Barrie secondary schools (grades
9-12) received two Grade 11 credits in “Archaeology” for the instruction
they got over a five-week period from the archaeological crew. This was
considered to be a salvage dig as major development was imminent.
Janet was raised on a farm in
Innisfil Township and has always been intensely interested in the history of
the area. The fact that The Molson Site, being located off Harvey Road and in
Innisfil and not yet annexed by Barrie at the time, increased her enthusiasm
for the project.
Janet had been trained by Dr. Dean
Knight and Isobel Ball earlier at the Ball Site off Mount St. Louis Road and
had subsequently written a Grade 12 Curriculum based on her experiences, which
a Twin Lakes Secondary School teacher and other educators used.
Janet would like to share with others
her experiences at the Molson Site as well as the conclusions drawn by Paul Lennox
in his Archaeological Report, mindful of the spirit of Reconciliation.
John ToddThis is the English translation of an introduction to Mr. Gros-Louis' book, 'Les Hurons-Wendats:regards nouveaux':
"This book deals with the history of the Huron-Wendat nation from 1534 to the present day, the culture that this nation shares with the other Iroquoian nations, and the language that is now extinguished, but which is a testimony to the occupation. of the territory. We will see how the legend supports the hypothesis of their occupation of the shores of the St. Lawrence at the time of Jacques Cartier and how this hypothesis is reinforced by linguistic data. It will also be noted that the toponymic data testify to the Wendat's occupation of the north shore of Lake Ontario even after the dispersal of 1650. The Huron language has not been spoken for about 90 years, but it has been well documented by the missionaries, especially the Jesuit Potter, which makes revitalization possible today."
We are very fortunate to have Dr. Debra
Foran, Assistant Professor, Department of Archaeology and Heritage Studies at
Laurier University, coming to speak at our upcoming March 14 Huronia OAS
Dr. Foran has worked with the
Tell Madaba Archaeological Project (Nebo) since 1998. She became Assistant
Director of the project in 2001 and Director in 2006. She has more than 20
years of field experience in the Middle East and has participated on numerous
projects in Jordan, Syria, and Tunisia.
Dr. Foran will speak about her
ongoing research in Jordan at the ancient Town of Nebo. The site
overlooks the Jordan Valley and the Dead Sea and was an important strategic,
trade and cultural site from the Bronze Age to the 7th century CE
when it was apparently abandoned until the 18th century.
In recognition of Black History Month in Ontario the Huronia Chapter of the OAS is pleased to present the Archaeology of the Oro African Church by Ms Sarah Clarke from the firm of Archaeological Research Associates.Over the last two years the Historical Committee of Oro-Medonte undertook a study for the restoration and refurbishment of this building thought to have been constructed circa 1849 by the Black community members of Oro. They did this project on a pro bono basis and Sarah will lead a discussion of this work completed last year in concert with the restoration project of the church.
The event takes place at the Midland Public Library at 7 pm on Wednesday February 14 th. For those that love heritage we'll see you there.
Have you every tried to imagine what it would have been like to live in a longhouse during a winter like we are currently experiencing in Huronia?
I posted this photo and question to the Huronia chapter's Facebook group (www.facebook.com/groups/Huronia.chapter/) and there were a number of interesting comments and additional questions.
To address these questions I used what I could remember from various primary source documents such as the Champlain's journals, Sagard's Histoire du Canada and the Jesuit Relations.
One of the best descriptions of a longhouse that I found was in Sagard's Histoire chapter XI. It reads as follows:
"Their lodges, which they call Ganonchia, are constructed, as I have said, like arcades or garden
arbours covered with tree-bark, twenty-five or thirty fathoms long, more or
less (for they are not all of equal length), and six in breadth, with a passage
down the middle ten or twelve feet wide running from one end to the other.At the two sides there is a kind of bench,
called Endicha, of the same length
[as the lodge] and four or five feet high; on this they sleep in summer to
escape the annoyance of the fleas, of which they have many, and in winter they
lie below on mats before the fire, packed close together for greater warmth,
the children in the most comfortable place and the parents next them; and there
is no space between them nor separation either at the foot or at the pillow, no
more above than below, and they make no other preparation for sleeping than to
stretch themselves out in the same place where they were sitting and to wrap up
their head in their blanket, without any other covering or bed.This is an easy way of going to bed and it
can be carried out at small cost.The
whole space underneath these benches they fill with dry wood for burning in
winter, but the great logs called Ancincuny,91
which are used for keeping the fire in by having one end on the ground and the
other raised on a stone or at the end of a billet, are piled up in front of
their lodges or packed into the porches, which are called Aque.All the women help one
another in providing this wood; they do so in the months of March and April,
and by this arrangement every household is supplied with what it needs in a
short time.They use only very good
wood, preferring to go far in search of it rather than to take less trouble and
get bad wood, or that which makes smoke, on account of which they always keep
up a clear well made fire with a small quantity of fuel.And if they do not find trees as dry as they
like then they fell those which have dry branches, breaking the branches into
splinters and cutting them to an equal length, like the faggots in Paris.They do not make up faggots of twigs at all,
nor use the trunks of the trees felled; they leave them to rot on the ground,
because they have no saw for sawing them up, nor the means of breaking them to
pieces unless they are dried and rotten.We were not so particular, we used the first wood that came to hand, so
as not to spend our whole time in going to look for it; for we ourselves and
the women savages had to provide it.They
used to give us some, out of politeness merely, or as gifts in return for other
presents of equal value, except when we were living in their lodges.In a single lodge there are many fires, and
at each fire there are two families, one on one side, the other on the other;
some lodges will
91 Aneincuny in the Grand Voyage and the
have as many as eight, ten, or twelve fires, which means
twenty-four families, others fewer, according as they are long or short. There is smoke in them in good earnest, and
this causes many to have very serious trouble with their eyes, as there is
neither window nor any opening, except the one in the roof of the lodge,
through which the smoke escapes. These
lodges have no partition or division to hinder you from looking from one end to
the other and seeing what is going on.
Yet all remain at peace and without any confusion or clamour, each
household in its own division with all its belongings, which are neither put
away not locked up with keys or iron bolts.
At each end there is a porch, and the principal use of these porches is
to hold the large vats or casks of tree-bark in which they store their Indian
corn after it has been well dried and shelled.
In the midst of each lodge are suspended two big poles which they call Ouaronta; on them they hang their pots,
and put their furs, provisions, and other objects, for fear of mice and to keep
the things dry. But the fish, of which
they lay in a supply for winter after it is smoked and well dried, they store
in casks of tree-bark, which they call Acha,
except Leinchataon; they do not clean
this fish and they hang it with cords in the roof of the lodge, on account of
mice and of the vile smell which it gives out in warm weather, so bad that
nobody here could endure it.
of fire, to which they are very liable, they usually put away their most
precious possessions in casks of tree-bark, which they bury in deep holes dug
in the corner of their fireside, covering them up with the same earth, and in
this way these possessions are preserved not only from fire but also from the
hands of thieves, because they have no chest or cupboard in their whole
establishment except these little casks.
It is true that they rarely wrong one another, but still there might be
rascals there who would do you an injury if they found the opportunity; for the
object arouses the capacity to deal with it, said the philosopher, and
opportunity creates the thief."
This blog post from ASI is also an interesting read. - http://asiheritage.ca/winter-longhouse-project-1979/
AGM and social to be held at the Midland Public Library (upstairs boardroom) Wednesday December 13th - 7 PM to 8:45 PM.
An AGM is typically a profoundly tedious event. This year we will try to break that mould. Here is what we have planned: • Coffee and cookies to ease into the meeting. • A short presentation by Alicia Hawkins on the OAS strategic plan. • Election of officers. Jamie Hunter, Kristin Thor and Peter Thor have agreed to stand again next year for President, Treasurer and Secretary respectively. We will welcome nominations from the floor for any of these positions. • Come to the meeting with any ideas for archaeological projects and speakers for 2018 • A multiple choice quiz of your knowledge of Huronia archaeology led by Kristin Thor. Here is a sample question you can research so you will get at least one question correct. o Who has found more archaeological sites in Ontario than anyone else and published them? At the meeting you will have three choices to select from. o There is a prize for the person with the most correct answers, a 500ml flask of maple syrup. That would not be particularly interesting but for the fact that it was made by Kristin Thor's own hands by the same methods used in Huronia in Wendat times and in pioneer times; over an open hardwood fire in an open pan. You may not have tasted anything quite like it before. A social time will follow to wrap up by 9 pm when the Library closes.
Members Meeting - Wednesday
January 11th 2017 at 7PM
AGM and election of executive.
We are going to try once again to have our AGM and invite our
members to elect our upcoming executive that will guide the chapter's activities over the next year. Nominations
for executive positions of President, Vice President, Secretary and Treasurer
are invited and are open up to the time that the meeting is called to order.
The agenda for the meeting will be brief and include a succinct report from our
president, treasurer and secretary followed by any nominations, the election of
officers followed by consultation with the membership for direction and plans
for the upcoming year.
Please note that our current President will not be standing for
election this year.
Our venue for the meeting will be in the assembly room on the lower
floor of the Midland Public Library. 320 King St, Midland, ON L4R 3M6