Our Lands Speak has been established to disseminate knowledge about the 11,000-year history of Ontario gained through archaeological investigations. This will be achieved through a publication series and this blog, both titled Our Lands Speak.
There has been a vast increase in the number of archaeological projects in Ontario since creation of the Ontario Heritage Act in 1975 and the application of other acts such as the Environmental Assessment Act to require archaeological assessment of lands prior to development to document and preserve our Cultural Heritage. The Ministry of Tourism Culture and Sport which is responsible for the administration of the Heritage Act now has more than 15,000 archaeological reports on file, about half of which are available through the Ontario Public Register of archaeological reports managed by this same Ministry.
While there has been a tremendous increase in archaeological studies, there has actually been a significant decrease in the publication of archaeological studies and results. The Canadian Museum of History the Royal Ontario Museum and the Museum of Ontario Archaeology (formerly the London Museum of Archaeology) have either ceased publishing archaeological work or have greatly reduced the number of archaeological publications they produce. Ontario Archaeology, the journal of the Ontario Archaeological Society and the Canadian Journal of Archaeology, the journal of the Canadian Archaeological Association continue to publish about Ontario archaeology; however, access to the former publication (as indicated by colleagues) appears to be restricted.
I strongly believe if an archaeological site is dug and knowledge is gained about our past, the results need to be shared with the people of Ontario. While this goal was an integral part my work as Director of the London Museum of Archaeology from 1976 – 2001, it has simply not been possible while running a professional, for-profit archaeological consulting company in Ontario.
In part this was a result of my long-held belief that my clients should not be charged to do “research” or to undertake the costly and time-consuming task of publication. It is also a result of the “culture” of archaeological resource management in Ontario where there is significant competition by “low bidders.” The situation is further exacerbated by demands to meet provincial government regulations. The net result for Ontario archaeology is a lack of resource, time, and creativity which is needed to prepare publications and other means of distributing information on significant archaeological finds.
In an attempt to begin to remedy this problem, Our Lands Speak will disseminate knowledge about Ontario archaeology.
The one primary goal of this blog is to publicize information on knowledge acquired through my consulting company, This Land Archaeology Inc. Some blogs will summarize the results of smaller projects which are documented in licence reports on file with the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport, while other blogs will promote publications of more significant sites which will be published by Our Lands Speak in cooperation with I C Publishing or in other journals.
The blog and the publications are personal projects undertaken outside the purview of This Land Archaeology Inc., but will often utilize the data, figures, and photographs generated for these projects and used in licence reports.
I invite feedback from colleagues and interested members of the general public about matters raised in this blog; a meaningful dialogue which will result in access to the knowledge gained in researching the cultural heritage about the fascinating 11,000-year history of occupation of Ontario.
The first publication in Our Lands Speak Series is The Archaeology of Patterson Village, a 19th Century Company Town in the Township of Vaughan Ontario. This is intended and anticipated to be a popular publication about This Land Archaeology Inc.’s 2012-2014 excavation and documentation of this incredible archaeological site. It includes a foreword by Professor John Triggs, Department of Archaeology and Heritage Studies, Wilfrid Laurier University; and a Supplement by Ruth Redelmeier, whose family owned the property on which the sites were located, and who spent years researching the Village and adjacent Patterson & Bro. farm equipment manufactory.
I extend my thanks to Sheri Andrunyk and her team for their support and assistance in producing this book. Print and eBook copies are available from I C Publishing’s I C Bookstore and an iBook version is available from Apple’s iBooks Store.
Photo Credit: Lithograph photo courtesy of Ruth Redelmeier.
William D. Finlayson