Latest Posts from William D. Finlayson

Early Engagement with Indigenous People

Early Engagement with Indigenous People

This early program of incorporating Huron-Wendat students from Wendake, Quebec was one of the first examples of sharing the process of archaeological investigations with 20th century Indigenous peoples. One of the fondest memories I have of this pioneering program was being presented with a smoking pipe and stone bowl and a wooden stem made and signed by Regent Sioui for my role in facilitating this program. We continue to look back to move forward.

Evidence for Indigenous Warfare at the Draper Village Site Part 2

Evidence for Indigenous Warfare at the Draper Village Site Part 2

As we continue this sensitive topic from Evidence for Indigenous Warfare at the Draper Village Site Part 1, we reiterate that although this isn’t an easy part of any country’s history to explore, let alone read about or appreciate, it does help to understand the past in a way that gives clarity to the present and future generations of its people. The more research we do into the Late Woodland occupation of southern Ontario by Iroquoian and Anishinabek peoples, the more we realize how little we know and how much more can be learned.

Evidence for Indigenous Warfare at the Draper Village Site Part 1

Evidence for Indigenous Warfare at the Draper Village Site Part 1

This isn’t an easy part of any country’s history to explore let alone read about or appreciate, however, it does help to understand the past in a way that gives clarity to the present and future generations of its people. As archaeologists, we don’t always know what we’re going to come across in our work. As such, we take great care and respect in excavating and preserving our findings. Some of our evaluations may be considered professional interpretations due to missing data, yet others present with such clear fact as indicated here that there is no other side but a single truth. Please note: part of this post contains graphic details which may be uncomfortable for some readers.

Draper Village Site Defensive Structures Part 2

Draper Village Site Defensive Structures Part 2

Here, we look at the additional planning that the Iroquoians—who lived at Draper and who moved into Draper—undertook as the various expansions of the village were constructed. As you will see, there was significant planning and I believe that much of this was of a strategic nature. Its specific purpose was to position longhouses to provide additional defensive barriers to assist in the protection of the village . . .

Draper Site Village Defensive Structures Part 1

Draper Site Village Defensive Structures Part 1

Conrad Heidenreich, a geographer who wrote extensively on the Huron, provides in his 1970 book Huronia a description of one palisade from one village. The following was written by the French explorer Samuel de Champlain during his visit to Huron County in 1615-1616: “Fortified by wooden palisades in three tiers, interlaced into one another, on top of which, they have galleries which they furnish with stones for hurling, and water to extinguish the fire that their enemies might lay against their palisades.”

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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