When the Ahrendarrhonon territory map was first considered we were looking at a potential of 260 archaeological sites that were situated within Oro-Medonte, Severn township and the City of Orillia. By first defining our search area to sites that were east of the Coldwater River and west of Lake Simcoe and Couchiching the number of candidate sites dropped to just under 200. When we apply a filtering based on size and dating the number drops to under 60.
When the map is now viewed with only those 60 sites highlighted it becomes clear that we have 7 clusters of archaeological sites that for the most part include one or more village sites that have been dated to the 1600s by the existence of European items, one or more ossuaries and other sites of interest that are as of yet undefined by size or date.
Moving roughly from east to west starting at the Narrows our first cluster shows up in the Mt Slavan Creek area within the City of Orillia. Next we have a cluster on Sliver Creek northwest of Orillia about 3 km west of Lake Couchiching. The is another cluster at the southeast corner of Bass Lake and one just south of Bass Lake north of the Old Barrie Rd. Moving further west we find a cluster northwest of Bass Lake on a creek that feeds the lake south of where that creek crosses Hwy 12. Further inland still we find an interesting cluster in the Sugarbush development area just south of Horseshoe Valley Rd. Our last cluster is clearly note in the vicinity of Hwy 12 and Mt St Louie Rd west of Warminster. This cluster includes both the Ball site and the purported site of Cahiague as defined by the late Norman Emerson of the U of T. which is the subject of our April 8th meeting. This presentation will be given by Dr Marti Latta on the artifacts from the Cahiague site currently held by the U of T. This presentation will compliment the one last season by Isobel Ball on the Ball site that is part of the same cluster.
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.
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
Filtering results in 7 distinct clusters
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I have started to look a little more closely at the clusters and Marg and I hit the road to get a closer look at the Mt Slaven area and other sites in the Orillia area.
As a result of this visit I wrote to the Orillia Historical committee with some observations as noted below.
My wife and I spent a pleasant afternoon on an attempt at a self guided tour of the archaeological sites in Orillia. We started at the Mt Slaven site, proceeded up the hill to the Peter St, Borland and YMCA area. We then proceeded to the Orchard Park School area and then down to Orchard Point and over to the Narrows. From there we went back to the downtown including the Market Square Block and the burial grounds between Albert and Wyendot north of Barrie Rd. Once on Barrie Rd we ventured to find an important site at the Old Barrie Rd and 15th line. There we found the beginnings of a nice new trail and park system but the native village site and mill pond is now the home of Champlain Ready Mix.
With the exception of the Champlain monument and a plaque at the narrows we saw no plaques or signage anywhere else to commemorate or recognize the rich Huron and Algonquin communities that once occupied your town.
As you are aware from your familiarity with the Ministry’s programs it is possible to deal with more than just the designation of built heritage. Beyond the designation and preservation of individual sites one can also designate cultural heritage landscapes and heritage districts.
Upon our return home we looked up your website to see if archaeological sites were part of your inventory of heritage properties and saw none. With your history page we saw a brief reference to Champlain but nothing on the Huron/Algonquin occupation of much of the town site that is now the City of Orillia. Although most of these sites have most likely been looted or otherwise destroyed by development their general or specific locations are known and might be worth identifying with plaques or other suitable markers. We are now 5 years from the 400th anniversary of Champlain’s travel through your city and it would be nice to honour the people who invited him here by giving more recognition to their ancient communities and burial grounds at the same time that we acknowledge Champlain. A simple plaque program could do that with or without property designation.
It is interesting to note that at the French River crossing at Hwy 69 there is a $6,000,000 interpretive centre that was built by the province and Champlain only just paddled by that place. How nice would it be to have such a centre in Orillia at the Narrows commemorating not only Champlain but the probably 4000 year history of the native people who once lived here.
BTW – this fall is the 400th anniversary of your first tourist by way of an 18 year old youth named Etienne Brule. It was his kind words to Champlain about this district and its people that encouraged Champlain to accept the invitation to come and visit here some 5 years latter.
We hope to come back soon to visit your museum.
John & Marg Raynor
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