The investigation of Indigenous and European archaeological sites in what is now the Province of Ontario spans a period of nearly two centuries. While much of the earliest work involved “digging for curiosities,” establishment of the Canadian Institute in 1849 resulted in a more scientific pursuit of knowledge. With the creation of a Provincial archaeologist and the staffing of academic positions, the professional and avocational/collector branches of archaeological activity split in the latter decades of the 19th century; however, both remained active. The interplay between them strengthened the still nascent professional branch during the early 20th century, leading to the increased professionalization of the discipline in the second half of the century.
Les enquêtes sur les sites archéologiques européens et indigènes dans ce qui constitue aujourd’hui la province de l’Ontario couvrent presque deux siècles. Tandis que beaucoup des premiers travaux étaient des « fouilles aux curiosités », la création du Canadian Institute en 1849 a entraîné des recherches de nature plus scientifique. Les deux branches archéologiques – professionnelle et amateur – commencent à se séparer vers la fin du 19e siècle avec la création d’un ministère d’archéologie provincial et avec la dotation de postes académiques. L’interaction entre les deux renforcera la branche professionnelle encore émergente au début du 20e siècle, menant à l’avancement de cette discipline à la fin du siècle.
William “Bill” Fox B.A., M.A. (Toronto 1971) is currently a member of the Adjunct Faculty of the Department of Anthropology at Trent University. In the 1970s and ‘80s he worked as Regional Archaeologist for Northwestern Ontario and then North Central and Southwestern Ontario. He was Senior Archaeologist at the Ministry of Culture and Communications Toronto from 1986-1988 and was Chief of Archaeological Services for Parks Canada in Winnipeg from 1992-94. He became an instructor at Trent in 2012. He is the recipient of the J. Norman Emerson Silver Medal 2010 and served as president of the Ontario Archaeological Society in 1979. Bill’s current research interests include First Nation trade networks in the Great Lakes region with particular emphasis on the Middle Woodland and Historic (17th Century) periods, lithic sourcing in Ontario, symbolic artifact evidence for native religious belief systems in the Great Lakes region, and the identification of ethnicity in the archaeological record.
Conrad Heidenreich began teaching in the Geography Department at York University in 1962. He developed specializations in historical geography, particularly the cultural geography of Canada at the time of first contact, and in the early mapping of northern North America. His prize-winning book, Huronia: A History and Geography of the Huron Indians, published in 1971, by then newly minted Dr. Heidenreich, became the research standard for archaeologists, ethnologists, and historians working among the Wendat and other Iroquoian peoples. Over the years, he has also become widely know for his expertise in deciphering the maps of the mid-17th century and for his research on Samuel de Champlain. Before retiring from York in 2001, Conrad Heidenriech trained many students who went on to specialize in 17th century history, archaeology, and related fields of study.
Interested in the archaeology, history and museums of Historic Huronia since 1965, James (Jamie) Hunter began exploring, excavating, and preserving all aspects of the human history of his Southern Georgian Bay community town of Midland Ontario. He continues to have an interest in other earlier Avocational and Professional practitioners and is currently in production of several initiatives to preserve sites, publish books and support heritage preservation efforts in Historic Huronia. He can be reached at email@example.com.