Friday, September 30, 2011

A Student's View of Archaeological Field Investigations

                                      The Ellery Site (BdGx -8), and The Dorion Site (BeGw-9)                                                                                                                           May 24 to June 30, 2011

            Under the direction of instructor, Alicia Hawkins, of Laurentian University, and three teaching assistants (T.A.s), twelve students attended the field school for five weeks, then we moved to the university to start lab analysis and take tests on skills learned.  The purposes of the course were to teach practical field procedures, as well as to investigate a potential 15th century Wendat site close by a known 17th century Wendat site, dug in 2008 by Laurentian students under Hawkins's  direction.   It was speculated that this location was the former Jesuit site of Saint Michel. 

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Old Print into Searchable Text

I will add a brief post here and leave the heavy lifting for John Raynor to detail a few small projects in progress by some chapter members....

  • there is a lot of information that was printed on paper in the past on archaeology, typeset and typewritten, and in some cases later photocopied
  • more value and wider use of this information becomes readily available once it moves into a searchable digital character-based form
Ways to move it that we are experimenting with:
  • OCR scan
  • retyping
OCR Scan: Last year I bought a $50 four in one wireless printer which had a software bundle which included a Optical Character Recognition software capability.  How this works is quite simple,  Put your printed page on the glass of the scanner.  Select the function scan to text file. Press Scan start.  And the scanner printer sends the digital file to your wireless connected PC and opens a WordPad file inserts the text.   Takes about three seconds.  The caveat is it is not one hundred per cent accurate.   It can get confused by smudged copier quality, or uneven typewriter letter blackness, etc.    My particular testing which is just prelimary was an old piece of my writing that was printed out of either a daisy wheel printer or dedicated word processor printer from around 1985.  In three pages of text it missed about five characters and created homonyms, which need to get caught by proofreading ("hail" mistaken for "hall").

Thursday, September 22, 2011

More from the Powell Collection

Bill Gibson was kind enough to enhance the photo of the beads that are part of the Powell Collection found in the Ossossane district of Old Huronia. The blue glass cut glass beads are of particular interest to me. I assume that they are Rosary beads, not trade beads like the coloured tube bead also included in the photo but I would like some additional input from those with more knowledge of trade beads and or Rosary beads than I have.
What do you think these blue cut glass beads are from?

BTW - It would appear that the Bell Cell tower that was proposed for the lot where this collection  was found is on hold and will most likely now become part of a new Rogers tower that has been erected 4 km to the south of this site. Good news for the archaeology of Ossossane and the cultural landscape of the district.

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

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Ontario Historical Society Launches
Online Heritage Directory

Andrea Izzo, Coordinator of Communications, OHS
Originally appeared in OHS Bulletin Summer 2011 (No. 179)

For Immediate Release | September 6, 2011 | Willowdale, Ontario

The Ontario Historical Society (OHS) is excited to announce a new online service: The Ontario Heritage Directory Online,
a free database resource that will connect Ontario’s heritage community, tourists and researchers at

The Ontario Heritage Directory Online features a database of over 1,600 heritage organizations, heritage sites, museums, archives,
First Nations Councils and Municipal Heritage Committees in Ontario. The Society encourages you to explore your local heritage sites to learn more!

In preparation for the bicentennial of the War of 1812-14, any organizations, historic sites and museums
celebrating bicentennial-related events, exhibits or publications will be highlighted with a War of 1812 icon.

The online Ontario Heritage Directory features an updating tool that allows organizations to keep their contact information current.
Users of the directory can select the “Keep this record up to date” feature and submit any change of address, email address, etc.

The Society would like to acknowledge the support and contribution of The Ontario Heritage Connection Society (OHC)
and its Board of Directors. The OHC was established in 2002 with a mandate to serve as a network for the exchange of information about Ontario’s culture, history,
built heritage, archaeology and natural environment.  It launched its website, featuring a Heritage Connections database soon after. The OHC excelled in fulfilling its
mandate and in March 2011, signed a mutual agreement transferring the assets of the OHC to The Ontario Historical Society.

The Ontario Historical Society would also like to acknowledge the support of the Ministry of Tourism and Culture through the Museum and Technology Fund.

The Ontario Historical Society34 Parkview Ave. Willowdale, ON  M2N 3Y2 | 416.226.9011|
Copyright © 2011 Ontario Historical Society, All rights reserved.
Provincial Heritage Organizations
Our mailing address is:
Ontario Historical Society
34 Parkview
Willowdale, Ontario m2n 3y2

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Saturday, September 03, 2011

They Don't Make them Like They Used To

                                                                       Marg and I visited the D'aoust farm on lot 15 Con 7 Tiny (one farm east of the Powell farm on lot 16) in order to view their collection of artifacts and talk to them about what else might be of interest on their property. Mr D'aoust proudly brought out his "tomahawks". As can be seen, the trade axe with the handle is still in use and has been sharpened recently. This axe has also been used as a hammer and the back of the collar is now flat. both of these axes have markings similar to those in the "Powell Collection". 350 years + and still in use.
We are looking forward to going back for a visit and exploring the property a little further.

Friday, September 02, 2011

A Search for Ossossane and its Environs,

I am looking for a copy of Frank Ridley's 1947 paper "A Search for Ossossane and its Environs" (preferably in an electronic - searcable format). I have a referance to an archaeological site on the S 1/2 of lot 15 Con 7 Tiny twp with a notation that it was found during a surface survey that Ridley made in 1947. I am hoping to find this reference in this paper - I read it somewhere or perhaps made a typo error when entering the info into my database. Any help here would be appreciated as the current property owner wants to meet an talk about his collection and the potential for archaeological resources on his property.

National Historic Sites open to destruction.

When investigating a proposal to erect a cell tower in the vicinity of Ossossane and attempting to encourage Bell Mobility to do an archaeological assessment prior to going ahead with this project they were advised that the Ossossane sites are designated as a National Historic Site. What is interesting to note here is that designation as a National Historic Site affords no protection to the site and that Industry Canada, the federal agency that regulates cell tower installations does not require archaeological assessments as part of their policy.
Best keep an eye out for cell tower proposals, they can be as destructive to a site as any other development. They require fencing and service access roads all of which impact on sites.
I think that the OAS and or the Ministry needs to consult with the federal government to block this loophole before more sites have holes poked in them.
BTW - Bell has now agreed to do an assessment even though not required to. - Sometimes advocacy works!

"Powell Collection" - Ossossane

I went to view the “Powell” collection that is now in the possession of Trish (Powell) and John Hartman at their home in north Tiny. Bill Gibson came with me to photograph the collection (some inserted below) and John Hartman was kind enough to forward me his photos (overview attached). While we were there John Powell showed me an axe collar that he had recently found on the property and gave me a property survey that shows where some of these items where reported found by Mr. Powell Sr. between the late 60s and 1980s. The Powell farm is located on the N ½ of lot 16 Con 7 Tiny township and is now divided in 2 (upper and lower lands primarily) and owned by Mary and Joan Powell respectively along with their spouses.

It is on the upper lands above the ridge that a Bell communications tower has been proposed and this is the same part of the farm that most if not all the artifacts were found by Mr. Powell Sr.
Although numerous finds have been reported on this lot and those adjoining it by people like A F Hunter, Ken Kidd, Frank Ridley, J Hunter, A Hawkins etc. no systemic archaeological study has been done to my knowledge that sheds sufficient light on the chronological migration of the village population of Ossossane over these acreages. We know that various generations of these villages were visited by such figures as Champlain (1615-16), Segard (1623-24), and Brebeuf (1635-39) as recorded in the primary source documentation left behind by Champlain, Sagard and the Jesuits.
What lead me to view the “Powell” collection was the concern raised when I was advised that a communications tower was proposed for this lot and that Industry Canada (the federal oversight body) did not require that an archaeological assessment be carried out by Bell nor does the local municipality have a consultative process put in place that might have involved more stakeholders than those indicated by Industry Canada whose default possession is properties with 90 m of the tower base. Bell has since agreed to do an archaeological assessment but I am not yet sure just how much ground will be covered or what the outcome of the assessment will be but I am sure that this land can yield far more historical evidence than it has to date and I would hope that once this assessment is complete and the results known the archaeological community will make further efforts to map out the district of Ossossane’s place in history.

September 8th Chapter Meeting - The Narrows

Thursday September 8th 2011 – 7PM.

Huronia Museum & Native Village

549 Little Lake Park Rd

Midland, Ont.

(705) 526 2844

Presentation – Janet Turner, Past President; - Mnjikaning Fish Fence Circle.

Purpose of group is the conservancy and preservation of the fish weirs at the Atherley Narrows. Group has speakers that will speak on native history as well as the preservation of the fish weirs. A cross cultural group that welcomes ideas from everyone.

Janet will present on the past, present and future plans (including an interpretive centre) for the National Historic Site that we may best know as the Narrows of Orillia first recorded in the works of Samuel De Champlain in September of 1615.

The presentation will be followed by our regular business meeting including member’s activity reports and upcoming events.

Committee Chairs please be prepared to give updates, if any, on committee activities since our last meeting.

Members and guests are encouraged to attend.