It’s the beginning of December, the snow has arrived and appears to be here to stay. The temperatures are projected to be below-freezing for the next week, thus ensuring the ground will be frozen even if the snow disappears. As so we end another field season. As usual, we have been busy, and I thank our clients for their business. Over the winter months, our time will be spent writing reports and getting ready for the 2018 field season.

I am very pleased to have completed my 53rd consecutive year of field work in Ontario archaeology. Some years I spent more than four months in the field on a full-time basis; while in others, fieldwork involved test excavations at sites in the Crawford Lake area on Saturdays and Sundays. This year, I was directly involved in the Stage 4 salvage excavation of several 19th century Euro-Canadian sites in southcentral Ontario.

My sincere appreciation goes out to our office and field staff for their work in making this another good year. We did not miss the extremely hot summer days that we usually experience in July and August. Yet, there was more rain than usual; fortunately, on many days it started after 3:00 pm, and did not affect our work schedule.

For me, it was a different year. Thanks to the efforts of Janine, Leslie, Corey, and Pat in the office, and David, Tom, Colin, Victoria, and Heather, and a great field crew, I was able to begin writing more about some of the projects we’ve undertaken over the past decade. It has been 19 years since I had the time and energy to write for publication. Since 2004, all my efforts have been devoted to establishing This Land Archaeology Inc. as a successful business providing professional archaeological consulting services.

As readers of this blog will know, with concerted effort this year and much pride in the finished product, I was able to complete the writing and publication of The Archaeology of Patterson Village: a 19th Century Company Town in the Township of Vaughan—a 177-page, full-colour book on our 2012 to 2014 total excavation of Patterson Village. The village was a 19th century company town beside Patterson & Bro. farm equipment manufacturing facility, which operated from 1856 to 1886 before moving to Woodstock. While penning this book, Leslie Town worked wonders to produce maps and photographs, while Corey Ramsbottom generated lists of artifacts found to help us understand more about life in the Village.

I also had the great privilege of working with Ruth Redelmeier, whose family previously owned the land on which the factory and village were located. Ruth spent more than two decades researching the factory, the village, and the Patterson family and their businesses. She willingly shared her prodigious knowledge, and her collection of photographs and other images, all in digital format. She also wrote the history of the Patterson family and businesses as a supplement to my book. Ruth is a truly amazing woman, and I hope to be as active and sharp when I am 94 years old. Thank you, Ruth, for everything.

I also had the good fortune to discover Sheri Andrunyk and her talented staff at I C Publishing. They took my draft manuscript and produced a truly wonderful book. Many thanks to Sheri and her team.

Finally, I wish to thank to my partner, Pat, for her ongoing support and encouragement.

With the success of the Patterson Village book, the first volume in Our Lands Speak, I have begun work on Volume 2.  This will summarize our work at five 19th century farmsteads and homesteads we have excavated in Queensville over the past decade, and will provide new insights into life in this 19th century crossroads community.

With 2018 fast approaching, I wish everyone a Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and a prosperous New Year.

William D. Finlayson