Occasional Papers in Archaeology No. 2

Newest Release – Landmark Study

The Draper Site, An Ontario Woodland Tradition Frontier Coalescent Village in Southern Ontario, Canada: Looking Back, Moving Forward

Our Lands Speak – Occasional Papers in Archaeology No. 2

The Draper site, excavated in 1975 and 1978, remains the largest and most significant Iroquoian site subject to salvage excavation in southern Ontario. In this innovative study, Dr. William D. Finlayson reviews more than 40 publications, theses, articles, and unpublished reports as a prelude to the reconsideration of some of the key aspects of the site. This includes presentation of a new sequence of expansions of the village, new perspectives on the use of defensive strategies in the planning of the village, and the presence of menstrual houses. Draper is used to define a specialized type of coalescent village, the Frontier Coalescent Village. This study provides new insights into the coalescence of at least five smaller villages, some from Duffin Creek and some from further afield at Draper, and the special mechanisms which made this possible and sustainable.


Volume 1

The Archaeology of Patterson Village

The first volume in the Our Lands Speak series

Author William (Bill) Finlayson takes this simplistic definition, yet extraordinarily complicated field of study, and gives us a fascinating look into a piece of local Ontario history. Through the meticulously documented and analyzed “objects dug up from the ground,” we learn how the people of Patterson Village worked and socialized. Dr. Finlayson’s wonderfully descriptive prose, illustrations, and pictures, transport us back in time to the mid-1800s where we have a front-row seat to the lives of the people of Patterson Village.

Volume 2

The Archaeology of Five Queensville Farmsteads

The second volume in the Our Lands Speak series

William (Bill) Finlayson once again brings the past to life. This time, it is through the lives of the generations of people who settled in Queensville, Ontario. The Archaeology of Five Queensville Farmsteads – a 19th Century Crossroads Community in the Township of East Gwillimbury, Ontario  affords us a glimpse into what life was like for the master builders of the Sharon Temple, a unique architectural structure in Canada. We learn how they, their families, and many others who built the community and made it their home, lived.


Volume 3

The Archaeology of Two Whitchurch-Stouffville Farmsteads

The third volume in the Our Lands Speak series

In volume 3, The Archaeology of Two Whitchurch-Stouffville Farmsteads, he shares that in the second half of the 19th century, John Yake Sr., a prominent Stouffville businessman, purchased two parts of Lot 32, Concession 10, in what is now the Town of Whitchurch-Stouffville. John Yake Sr. rented the small house at the western end of the lot, which eventually became the Yake site. John Yake Jr. lived on the western part of the lot, initially in the large house which became the Windmill site, and ultimately in a new brick house which was still occupied at the time of our excavations.


Occasional Papers in Archaeology No. 1

Early Palaeo-Indian Occupation in the Rice Lake, Otonabee River, and South Kawartha Lakes Watersheds, South-Central Ontario-Research Since 1976

Our Lands Speak – Occasional Papers in Archaeology No. 1

Our Lands Speak Occasional Papers in Ontario Archaeology is a superior quality publication series issued on subjects in and affecting Ontario archaeology. The goal of the series is to create additional space to disseminate information about Ontario’s rich archaeological history, including both historic and prehistoric archaeological investigations, as well as important First Nations perspectives. Another objective of this series is to make use of current advances in publication technologies. The print versions of the Occasional Papers include high quality colour illustrations, which few North American journals or monograph series currently offer.


“. . . The sacredness of his work and his humble, yet passionate, approach to it is undeniable, and nowhere more so than in this landmark study, The Draper Site, an Ontario Woodland Tradition Frontier Coalescent Village in Southern Ontario, Canada: Looking Back, Moving Forward. It is incredibly refreshing to work with someone like Bill who cares so deeply about uncovering more truths of the past by examining and re-examining complex archaeological findings in order to serve our diverse cultures and history. His willingness to reconsider his own discoveries and analysis and thoughtfully collaborate with others in his field for the greater good of this work defines the qualities of a true professional and maverick of our time. . .”

Sheri Andrunyk, Publisher, I C Publishing, Ontario, Canada

“Between 1975 and 1978, one of the most significant Iroquoian sites in the North America was excavated north of Toronto under the direction of William D. Finlayson. . . It was the largest Iroquoian site to be fully excavated. It was also the first time computer-assisted recording was used to map and manage the information on more than 170,000 analyzable artifacts, plus data points for the thousands of features, from a site 4.25 hectares in extent—truly a monumental undertaking. . . For the first time, we could see how an Iroquoian community grew and changed over time. . . An initial report on this massive project was published in the National Museums of Canada Mercury Series in 1985. In itself, this was an amazing accomplishment. . . Now, some thirty-five years later Finlayson has published a new volume summarizing the Draper site more completely and placing it within the context of other Iroquoian and Algonquian sites in southwest Ontario. Taken together, the Draper project—Finlayson’s two outstanding reports as well as the dozens of specialized studies, theses, and dissertations this project has enabled—remains one of the most valuable archaeological records of northern Iroquoian people yet produced. . .”

James W. Bradley, Ph.D., Director Emeritus,
Robert S. Peabody Museum of Archaeology in Andover, MA


“. . . It is about time that the Anishinaabeg are part of this narrative and are being incorporated into the story of Ontario. This is good and wonderful progress, and as a Storyteller and Knowledge Keeper for my people, it tells me that archaeologists are finally listening. I believe that archaeologists, working within their scientific frameworks, are able to find out certain things. However, they are not able to know the whole story with science alone. For example, archaeologists can’t be entirely sure about who the ancient ones were in terms of their ethnicity/culture. . . It really is interesting to me that finally somebody is doing this kind of work. I admire Dr. Finlayson for publishing this volume and for being able to think like this: that he has listened to my work, that he has talked to me, and that he is able to pick up on something that is probably quite foreign to him. That he has not dismissed the Anishinaabeg in his work and that our history is taken into account. This is all I can ask for, so that in the end we may come to a different conclusion about the history of Ontario. Our stories may vary slightly, but there should not be huge discrepancies in coming to understand the truths of the past. Our stories should be able to match the science and vice versa. It’s an exciting approach, to me. You’ve got to take in the oral story, you’ve got to take in the nuances of the culture, and you also have to listen to the language. . .”

Gidigaa Migizi, Knowledge Keeper Michi Saagiig Nation

“. . . It has been said that there are qualities in wholes that are not apparent in the parts. Nothing could be truer with respect to archaeology. The people of the past, like us, lived in communities but ventured beyond these to acquire food, socialize, trade, fight, and, frankly, for any number of other reasons. If we are to pay witness to these behaviours, we must examine the archaeological record from a variety of scales. The present volume offers us an opportunity to look beyond the Draper site palisades to other sites in the immediate area, to those of the Duffin Creek drainage and beyond. The added benefit in this is that a considerable amount of information that was heretofore more or less inaccessible in the so-called grey literature of unpublished reports and manuscripts, is made readily available to present and future researchers. There is much work yet to be done, both with respect to classifying and interpreting the data recovered from the excavation of the Pickering Airport Lands and comprehending how it all fits within the wider landscape of the people of the past of these lands we now call Ontario. The present volume takes a tremendous step forward in this direction and should further serve to inspire others to make similar contributions. . .”

Joyce M. Wright, Ph.D.