Our Lands Speak is a prolific series of books documenting the fascinating findings of This Land Archaeology Inc. excavations since 2006, led by founder, author, and Ontario’s senior-most archaeologist, Bill Finlayson.
We now delve into the challenges of recognizing the potential contamination of living floors under the longhouses. The excavations of Houses 2 and 5 at Draper provide a cautionary tale that if we are to explore the living floors of undisturbed longhouses, we must be aware of the possibility of contamination of these deposits from activities of earlier occupations. This work and the accuracy of it is paramount to us continuing to learn more about our Ontario history and those who lived here before us.
Our 1975 and 1978 excavations at the Draper Site revealed many fascinating aspects about this Iroquoian village which has traditionally been dated to about 1450-1500 A.D.
An important goal of our investigations was to excavate the middens (garbage dumps) located across the Draper site, where we found significant quantities of artifacts.
Our excavations to search for longhouses and palisades revealed a unique and very complex settlement. At the same time, our detailed investigation of some of the undisturbed longhouses provided an unparalleled opportunity to explore the artifacts left behind when the longhouses of the village were abandoned . . .
There were two major kinds of archaeological deposits at the Draper site that we had to investigate: settlement pattern data (longhouses and defensive structures) and middens (garbage dumps with many artifacts).
The Brains Behind the Books
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.