Free Downloads from Bill’s Digital Library

Archaeology in its truest form is about the gathering and disseminating of knowledge. In some small way, this work helps us to restore pieces of our history as a people and a country that can otherwise be lost forever. The popular books in Our Lands Speak series give back to the public and the scholarly books serve both industry professionals and students of archaeology. To this end, the offering of these free downloads aligns with Bill Finlayson’s belief that archaeological findings must always end up back in the hands and hearts of the people and communities from which they came.


More from Bill:

As archaeologists our goal is to investigate the history of the occupation of the peoples of Ontario, whether it be the 12,000-year-plus occupations by Indigenous People or much more recently Euro-Canadian and other immigrants who have inhabited the province since the early 17th century.

Archaeological methods are generally destructive and, when we completely dig a site, there is nothing left but the artifacts, field notes, drawings, and photographs which detail our work. From these data, we generate the reports required by government agencies, be they federal, provincial, municipal, or First Nations.

Thus, archaeology is about gathering and disseminating knowledge about our investigations. That is the primary goal—it is not creating jobs for archaeologists or creating profits for commercial companies although, unfortunately, that is increasingly the direction in which Ontario archaeology is headed.

Our Lands Speak book series is designed to publish and distribute the information gained from archaeological projects undertaken by myself or my company, This Land Archaeology Inc., or those colleagues who share our goals of disseminating knowledge. We do this in two ways: the original Ours Land Speak series are popular books designed to convey to the general public some of the projects we have undertaken and the results of those projects. The second way is through the Occasional Papers part of the series; these are scholarly studies which address issues of more interest to academics at universities, their undergraduate and graduate students, and to colleagues who participate in archaeological resource management in the private sector and in government agencies.

Volume 1

The Archaeology of Patterson Village

The first volume in the Our Lands Speak series

Volume 2

The Archaeology of Five Queensville Farmsteads

The second volume in the Our Lands Speak series

Volume 3

The Archaeology of Two Whitchurch-Stouffville Farmsteads

The third volume in the Our Lands Speak series

Volume 4

The Archaeology, History, and Architecture of The Philip Eckardt Log House

The Oldest House in the City of Markham, Ontario, Canada

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

Occasional Papers in Archaeology No. 2

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 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.