Sunday, November 24, 2013


A FEW THINGS are clear for the chapter heading into 2014:

  • in August it is likely we will have more public archaeology days
  • in October the chapter will have another event in association with the National Archaeology Day
  • monthly meetings with guest speakers at many of them
  • we will continue communications efforts thru this blog, Facebook and out website, and our newsletter for members
  • provincial OAS Symposium in October...
The 2013 Chapter AGM is to take place on December 12th and is a good time to bring any new ideas for the plan for 2014.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

from the unpublished journal of Jehan Leblanc

November 20th 1613 – The company was formalized with Conde’s support and given the monopoly for trade on the great river and beyond for a period of 11 years.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

from the unpublished journal of Jehan Leblanc

November 17th 1613 – I found Champlain in conference with men of means and dreams. Champlain had their ears and I was to paint the picture for their eyes. He introduced me as his Aid and gave me a seat at the table. I was nervous but honoured to be there in support of Champlain’s grand plans. His enthusiasm was infectious and resistance was overcome by his charm and sound business sense.

By the end of the day these men were won over and agreed to his proposal. Some of these families I know from before as du Mont's and Champlain's silent supporters. They were the investors from Rouen and Sainte Malo by the names of Le Gendre, Poree and Boyer.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Orillia's oldest road to be widened

ORILLIA - Archeologists were digging at the side of Coldwater Road the past couple of weeks, looking for any remnants of graves or an old log church built in the 1850s.
St. Michael’s Catholic Cemetery exists on the south side of the road, where a rudimentary church stood facing southeast, named St. Michael’s.
“The parishioners were very poor and the church was constructed without nails, only wooden dowels and no pews. Worshippers either stood or knelt on the wooden floor,” reads the historic plaque in the cemetery.
“Many of these early pioneers and their descendants are buried in this cemetery,” it reads.
“When the church was too small, it was replaced in 1872 by the Church of Angels Guardian on West Street.”
The City of Orillia, as part of its transportation master plan, is looking at options for widening Coldwater Road from West Street to 200 metres southeast of Collegiate Drive.
Currently, that portion of the street is a two-lane road
“It was identified as having to be done because of the volume of traffic,” said Tracy Blanchard, project manager of technical services with the public works department.
The project is in the stage of getting the environmental assessment done as well as the creation of possible designs.
Part of the project included the hiring of Amick Consultants Ltd. to do an archeological look-see.
“It’s one of the locations of the earliest buildings and Coldwater Road is the oldest road in Orillia,” said Michael Henry, co-owner of the company based in Port McNicoll and London.
“We were trying to establish with the digging of squares if there was any remnants of that early church. It would be significant to the City of Orillia,” he said.
“Unfortunately, we didn’t find any evidence of this early church.”
While it’s a “disappointment,” Henry said it’s not surprising from a rudimentary building without a foundation or basement. Also, sacred items would have been removed.
Now that no archeology artifacts have been found, the Coldwater Road expansion project can continue.
Before year’s end, there will be a public meeting regarding the three best options, Blanchard said.

Friday, November 15, 2013

from the unpublished journal of Jehan Leblanc

November 15th 1613 – I received word that Champlain is organizing a meeting of investors and others for November 17th – he wishes me to attend if I can, as a witness to the adventures in New France.

Thursday, November 07, 2013

Nov. 14 Susan Jamieson

November 14 7:00 PM  
Susan M. Jamieson
Before Ontario:
The Archaeology of a Province
Edited. by Merritt K. Munson and Susan Jamieson, McGill-Queens University Press $39.95
copies of this book are available for sale at the museum gift shop or online at -

Huronia Museum
Meeting Details: Meeting held at Huronia Museum at 7 pm, presentation open to the public, chapter business meeting which follows the presentation is open only to OAS Huronia Chapter members. Huronia Museum 549 Little Lake Park Road. Midland, Ontario.  705.526.2844

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

Public Archaeology Day Workshop

On a sunny but cold third of November 2013, the Huronia Chapter of the OAS held its Public Archaeology Symposium at the Huronia Museum, Midland, Ontario, from 10 am to 4 pm. It was a wonderful opportunity to experience university-level tuition in the various archaeological disciplines, led by professional archaeologists such as Alicia Hawkins (Laurentian University, Sudbury campus), Holly Martelle of Timmins-Martelle Heritage Consultants (London, Ontario), and last but not least Jamie Hunter (Huronia Museum, Midland). The chapter was also delighted to have the services of Rudy Fecteau, a master in the arcane mysteries of archaeobotanical investigation.
Some people were so eager (and so challenged by clock changing mathematics) that they turned up an hour early ― well, okay, one member, me. I know, spring forward, fall back.

Jamie Hunter of Huronia museum pointing out archaeological sites in Huronia.

Stations (tables) were set up catering to the various areas of archaeological specialty:cataloging and categorizing (Kristin Thor ― she makes logical thinking seem easy, and remember, I was the one who was clock-challenged); ceramics (Holly Martelle, entrancing, in every way, but I am referring to what she knows ― she talked about pottery discoveries on the nearby Ball site and made shattered bits of pots seem like the most exciting mystery story ever); historical archaeology (Jamie Hunter, the only man I know who refers to St. Jean de Brébeuf as “Booboo,” but Jamie has been around so long they probably knew each other, so all is forgiven); John Raynor (the spider in his web, awaiting any and all questions on the archaeology of Simcoe County, accompanied by his famed Map of the Sites in Simcoe); lithics (stone cold, man, stone cold); osteology (Alicia Hawkins ― she makes CSI look like a bunch of hobbyists); and of course archaeobotany (Rudy Fecteau ― who could charm a seed out of its pod or sweet talk a microscope to tell all); and washing the recently excavated finds (our own Huronia Chapter OAS member, Stephanie “Hockey Gurl.”

The real thrill for those of us who had excavated at the Allen Tract this last summer was that many of the things we were examining had been found there at good old BeGx-76. It was like coming home.

Recent finds from our public dig. 

Stephanie Duffy & Marg Raynor washing artifacts

Even CTV from Barrie arrived, getting in on the action. You know you are doingsomething right when 400-year-old archaeology features as news. 

Rumour had it that CTV actually came along for Marg Raynor’s soup and delectable edibles, which served as our midday break; let’s say one of the three sisters featured and sat very well on the digestion.

I hope this becomes an annual event. I have lots to learn: maybe a special station on

“Clocks, the setting and using of” might be considered in future. ― Peter Davis (November 2013)

Monday, November 04, 2013

Before Ontario

Use the dropdown to select a format.
$39.95 CAD

A lively and accessible introduction to Ontario's Aboriginal past, from the province’s leading archaeologists.

Before Ontario there was ice. As the last ice age came to an end, land began to emerge from the melting glaciers. With time, plants and animals moved into the new landscape and people followed. For almost 15,000 years, the land that is now Ontario has provided a home for their descendants: hundreds of generations of First Peoples.