Latest Posts from William D. Finlayson

Revitalizing Wilfrid Jury’s Museum of Indian Archaeology and Pioneer Life – Phase 1

Revitalizing Wilfrid Jury’s Museum of Indian Archaeology and Pioneer Life – Phase 1

The first phase in revitalizing Wilfrid Jury’s museum involved changing reporting responsibility for the museum as a non-academic unit of The University of Western Ontario … With the appropriate research and exploration, we decided to establish the museum as a UWO research centre which would accomplish what we had learned through Professor Ames, in that it would be a separate company with its own charitable registration.

Wilfrid Jury’s Museum of Indian Archaeology and Pioneer Life in 1976

Wilfrid Jury’s Museum of Indian Archaeology and Pioneer Life in 1976

This was state of affairs at the museum at that time. I assumed the position of Executive Director in February 1976 and began the challenge of its revitalization as an archaeological research centre committed to field work, analysis, and reporting of sites in southwestern and southcentral Ontario. It was a daunting task, but one which was rewarding and productive for more than 20 years.

My Early Years at The University of Western Ontario

My Early Years at The University of Western Ontario

It was with this background knowledge that I took on the job to dig the Draper site, which was a vital component in the revitalization of Wilfrid’s Museum, in part because it demonstrated the ability of archaeology to continue to attract large contracts to the university. It is also part of the narrative in understanding how the opportunity arose for me to become Executive Director of the Museum without a university salary.

Draper Site Excavations – Trials and Tribulations

Draper Site Excavations – Trials and Tribulations

One of the challenges in undertaking the excavations at the Draper site in 1975 and 1978 was ensuring the safe operation of the dig, the security of the excavations, and providing accommodations and meals for our crews which at times numbered up to 60 people. These are just a few of the more memorable events at Draper, which remind me of the challenges of directing the size of crews we needed to complete the largest and most significant excavations of an Iroquoian village ever undertaken in the province. Still, one of the highlights of my career I feel fortunate to share and contribute to our archaeological history.

Draper Site Field Laboratories and Crew Accommodations

Draper Site Field Laboratories and Crew Accommodations

One of the advantages of our field work at the New Toronto International Airport from 1975 to 1979 was that we had the use of some of the buildings which had been expropriated by the Federal Government. Most important was the two-room Glasgow schoolhouse a few km north of Draper. This became our headquarters for the large crews in 1975 and 1978 . . . By undertaking major portions of the processing of the artifacts and information recovered in the field, we were able reduce the amount of such work to be handled back at the laboratories at the University.

About the Author
William Finlayson

William D. (Bill) Finlayson, Ph.D., F.R.S.C., is the senior-most archaeologist in Ontario archaeology with well over 50 years of experience in the field. Since 2006, he has undertaken the salvage excavation of more than 60 19th century homesteads and farmsteads, culminating in the total excavation of Patterson Village, the largest excavation of a 19th century Euro-Canadian site in Ontario.

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