Happy new year. Welcome back to Our Lands Speak series.
In a previous blog, I noted that one of the most intriguing aspects of the site was that it began as a typical small community of about 8 longhouses in a palisaded village, 1.2 hectares in size. Amazingly, it expanded five times to become a 3.4-hectare village comprised of 39 houses, most of which were occupied at the same time, with an estimated population of 1,800 people.
Also, quite interesting was that not all of the structures we discovered were longhouses. There were three which I believe were unique structures used to house visitors to the Draper village. We know from historical documents written by early explorers and missionaries such as Samuel de Champlain that there were special houses in some villages to accommodate visitors. These were designed and placed in such a way that provided lodging to guests but did not allow them free access to the village which would’ve given them knowledge about the layout of the village and its internal defenses.
In the Core Village of the Draper site, there was a rectangular structure (#46) about 12 by 16 metres abutting the palisades in the western corner of the village, which appears to be such a visitor’s structure. Presumably this would have been accessed directly through an entrance in the palisades which surrounded the village. This building was taken down at the time of the construction of Expansion 1 (Figure 1).
The second special structure is House 42, which is located about 90 metres south of the Main Village. I propose that this may represent the visitor’s house which replaced Structure 46 when the village was expanded. In this case, the visitors were housed outside the village, but may have retreated to the village if it was under threat of attack.
The third is House 22, located in the final expansion and again within the village in close proximity to the palisades. The relocation of the visitor’s house back inside the palisades suggests that this was a time of increased threat of attack and that visitors had to be protected by being lodged within the Main Village.
While this interpretation of these structures is somewhat speculative, I am currently exploring other data which may help support this. This is a fascinating aspect of archaeology, that with the reexamination of old data, along with gleaning from subsequent findings, we are able to gain fresh new insights about the occupation of a site. The research never ends as new approaches are developed and advances are made.
My next post will address more special structures, the Chiefs’ Houses, and our discoveries there.
Thank you for continued interest. Remember too, if you are seeing my blog through social media links via Facebook and LinkedIn and want to ensure you don’t miss a post, you can sign up here and receive my writings via email.
I look forward to future speaking engagements later this year, along with the publishing of volume 4 in Our Lands Speak book series and volume 2 in the academic paper series. Stay tuned.
For more information on the current publications, feel free to peruse the book page here on my site or pop over to the I C Bookstore where you can browse, learn more, and pick up a copy or two in digital or paperback.
As always, feel free to reach out to me by email with any questions or comments you may have.
Until next time,
William D. Finlayson, Midland, Ontario
Founder of Our Lands Speak Book Series and Occasional Papers in Ontario Archaeology
Feature image: Plan of Draper Site
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