OAS 2020 Sessions and Workshops

Confirmed Workshops:
Keep your eyes on this space, more workshops will be announced soon

Artifact Photography: More Than Point and Shoot
Presented by Clarence Surette and Christopher McEvoy, Lakehead University

The purpose of this workshop will be to go through some basic procedures of artifact photography achieved at an affordable cost.  Part 1 will focus on the materials required for the photography of various types of artifacts.  The second part will discuss which techniques and software can be used for image acquisition.  Camera settings, lighting, mounting and setting up a scale for various sized artifacts will be the focus.  Part 3 will deal with processing of the photographs using various software.  Participants will have an opportunity to edit their own shots by using free software provided as part of this workshop.  By using a combination of these various equipment, techniques, and software, participants will be able to develop a product based on their own needs and budget. 

Digging into GIS: A DIY Workshop for Archaeologists 
Presented by
John F. Moody, PhD, GIS and Digital Information Manager, Timmins Martelle Heritage Consultants Inc.

Mapping and spatial analysis are core components of archaeological practice. The right map can communicate important messages and provide surprising new insights. Geographic Information Systems (GIS) are used to analyse archaeological data and make these maps, but can be overwhelming for the uninitiated. The goal of this workshop is to familiarize you with key concepts and resources so that you can make use of GIS in your own work. In addition to an introduction to GIS processes, data and software, this workshop will focus on topics relevant to Ontario archaeologists, such as where spatial data can be obtained and how it can be applied to our understanding of the past.

Identification of Historical Ceramics for Non-Specialists 
Presented by
Katherine Hull, PhD and Caitlin Coleman, MA, ASI Heritage

Structured to provide education and support to the non-specialist (of any heritage discipline), we will share our tips on how to identify, date, and contextualize those shiny white ceramic sherds or donated vessels that we all have in our collections. From locally-made kitchen bowls to imported Staffordshire teacups, we hope to provide each of you with enough information and resources to more fully bore your friends at parties and haggle with antique shop owners (as well as be more effective and knowledgeable in your role as heritage professionals).

If you are already well-versed in creamware and transfer-prints, this is not for you!

Features on archaeological sites: what are they and what do you do with them?

Presented by Dana Poulton and Christine Dodd, D.R. Poulton and Assoc.

Unlike artifacts, features on archaeological sites are the non-portable evidence of human culture. They are present on most sites, and most of them occur below the topsoil or ploughzone and were formed when people dug into the underlying natural subsoil. Features are especially common on Iroquoian villages, where the different types include hearths, sweat lodges, and storage, refuse and ash pits. In addition, every village site will contain hundreds or thousands of post moulds; they are soil discolourations that mark the individual wooden posts that were used to construct longhouses, palisades, and other structures. This question and answer session will describe the different types of features and post moulds, how to recognize and excavate them, and how to distinguish them from natural stains in the subsoil.

Ministry Perspectives on Photos for Reports

Presented by Ministry Staff (MHSTCI)

A brief discussion of what the ministry is looking for in report photos and what we have found to be problem areas.


Abilities and Disabilities in Archaeological Practice 
Fan Zhang  from Institute for the History and Philosophy of Science and Technology, University of Toronto and Professor Ezra Zubrow from SUNY; 

Session Description:

Collaborative archaeology is becoming an increasingly important concept in framing contemporary archaeological practice and theory. It is often associated with indigenous archaeology, community archaeology and public archaeology. This session, however, makes an inward turn, examining how archaeological practice facilitates – or fails to facilitate – archaeologists with different physical and mental abilities. Inspired by disability studies, it goes beyond it and explores evolving technology, techniques and management practice tailoring to individual needs in both academic and professional archaeology. Papers on innovations in fieldwork and lab work as well as relevant design thinking, ergonomics and digital technology such as 3D printing, VR, AR and UXD research are also welcome.  

Born out of the development of contemporary welfare state, liberal activism, identity politics as well as college restructuring needs, disability studies as an academic discipline first emerged in Syracuse University in 1994. It matures into both certification programs training human resource managers and other professionals and into an area of critical studies. The intersection of disability studies and archaeology, however, first appeared in the Great Britain when in 1995 TAG UK organized a session on the topic. Many British archaeologists have since engaged in the empirical and theoretical study on methods of engaging people with disabilities in archaeological practice, particularly in fieldwork. Canadian-born archaeologist Meredith Fraser in her 2008 dissertation Dis/abling exclusion, en/abling access: Identifying and removing barriers in archaeological practice for persons with (dis/)abilities first brings design thinking into disability studies in archaeology.  

This session not only welcomes papers on disabilities but also those on broadly defined abilities as well as technology and practice that enable.   

Format Description: 15 minutes of presentation with 5 minutes of discussion following the presentation.

Abstracts sent to: f.zhang@utoronto.ca and zubrow@buffalo.edu  

Archaeology of the Boreal Forest in Ontario: Challenges, Solutions, and New Information
Jill Taylor-Hollings and Scott Hamilton

Session Description:

The Boreal Forest is an expansive ecozone extending across portions of Canadian provinces, including most of Ontario. Yet, this vast northern area generates far fewer archaeological research and cultural resource management projects than southern Ontario. The Boreal Forest is a logistically challenging place to work because of dense vegetative cover, minimal cartographic information, limited road accessibility, as well as complex depositional and archaeological preservation issues. However, minimally studied areas like this yield new information from every archaeological investigation, making it an exciting place to work.  

This session offers an opportunity for discussions relating to issues in Boreal Forest archaeology in Ontario and adjacent areas. We hope that this will provide opportunities to enhance or describe collaborations with Indigenous communities or individuals. Also, we welcome new findings from particular sites or regions whether it be from field work or analyses of existing collections.  

Format Description: This year’s online format allows flexibility in sharing information, so presentation and poster formats will be available. Presentations should be 15 minutes with five minutes available for questions afterwards; they can be pre-recorded or live. Posters will be near the end of the session with authors available for questions relating to their work. Please contact Scott Hamilton or Jill Taylor-Hollings to submit an abstract or for further information.  

Abstracts sent to: jstaylo1@lakeheadu.ca or shamilto@lakeheadu.ca

New Insights from Old Collections:The Research Potential of Legacy Collections in Ontario Archaeology 
Trevor J. Orchard

Session Description:

Archaeology in Ontario, as in many other parts of world, is faced with an ongoing curation crisis. What do we do with the vast quantities of archaeological materials that have been amassed through past research excavations, field school activities, and cultural resource management (CRM) projects? While issues of storage and curation often dominate such discussions, the vast research potential of these legacy collections is often under-appreciated. With the growth of the CRM industry in Ontario over recent decades, the accumulation of such collections has increased substantially. And, while collection standards in past excavation activities can be highly variable, analysis of legacy collections offers an excellent source of high quality archaeological data in a context in which excavation is increasingly expensive, and in which the avoidance of site impact and site destruction through excavation is often preferred. Furthermore, research with legacy collections provides an avenue to directly engage with and involve Indigenous communities in research about the territories from which the collections originate. There is also considerable potential for obtaining fascinating new data and new insights into old collections by applying new analytical techniques; in fact, this has long been one of the key arguments for the long term curation and preservation of archaeological assemblages. The papers in this session explore the potential of research on Ontario legacy collections through a series of case studies of recent and ongoing work on various aspects of legacy collections throughout the province.

Format Description: The online format for this year’s symposium provides an opportunity to move beyond the traditional 20 minute oral paper approach to symposium presentations, and to explore aspects of digitally precirculated papers with subsequent online discussion or other approaches. The tentative plan is that this session runs in a somewhat hybrid approach, where papers/drafts are circulated in advance (roughly one week prior to the online symposium), with an online session during the symposium weekend (Nov. 7-8, 2020) in which each contributor first presents a 10 minute summary of their paper, followed by more open/round table discussion and Q&A. This approach means that participants can have a fair amount of flexibility in terms of how they construct their pre-circulated paper. This can be a traditional text-based paper with figures (i.e. like a manuscript draft), a well-annotated PowerPoint slideshow with sufficient text to clearly communicate the key information throughout, or even a poster-style presentation. Really, anything that can be rendered into a widely shareable PDF can work, and can easily be made available through a link provided to symposium participants. I am assured by the symposium organizers that the OAS has the existing infrastructure to host and provide links to such pre-circulated papers. This format may be tweaked slightly prior to the symposium, based on discussion and feedback from session participants.

Abstracts sent to: trevor.orchard@utoronto.ca

The Resourceful Archaeologist: Student research during the Time of Covid-19
Jake Cousineau and Jonathan Micon

Session Description:

Students often have strict timelines to complete their archaeological degree. With facilities and borders   closing due to the spread of Covid-19, these timelines can be difficult to meet without resorting to major changes. Fieldwork and data gathering are delayed or shortened while writing objectives arere-focused or altered completely. This session provides a platform to emergent scholars wishing to present their on-going or finished research. It    highlights how students have adapted or plan to adapt to our present academic environment. Those students who are preparing interrupted research projects will have the chance to share how they managed and responded to unforeseen obstacles due to Covid-19. Among those welcomed to present in this session are students conducting traditional archaeological investigations as well as relevant ethnographic and historical research. 

Format Description: The format of this session will be different from more traditional session layouts. Presenters will be asked to either submit a 10 minute pre-made video or give a live presentation over zoom. Within the presentation,  students will summarize and discuss their research and - if they wish - may include details about how their work was impacted by responses to Covid-19. Each presentation will be followed by a 5-minute question period.

Abstracts sent to: jmicon@uga.edu or  Jcousin3@lakeheadu.ca

Collaborations in History - Archaeology and GLAMs 
Claire Bennett

Session Description:

Throughout Ontario collaborative partnerships between the GLAM sector (galleries, libraries, archives and museums) and archaeologists have been increasing. Indigenous communities, cultural heritage organizations and archaeologists have been working together to develop innovative projects, exhibitions and programs to increase the public’s access to and understanding of archaeology. This session will share the results from a variety of successful initiatives and partnerships. Presentations detailing projects that have meaningfully involved or been led by Indigenous and descendant communities are welcomed. In addition to showcasing engaging projects and exhibitions, presentations may also highlight the collaborations which have increased the public’s access to excavated artifacts.

Format Description: Presentations should be at maximum 20 minutes with time allotted for questions.

Abstracts sent to: c.bennett2409@gmail.com

Technology and its Relations 

Greg Braun

Session Description:

Recent conceptions of ancient materiality suggest that techno-social practices can best be understood by considering relationships between humans, objects, and places. Here “technology” is defined rather broadly, in a way that encompasses activities such as craft and artistic production/use/disposal, but also those with less tangible technical elements such as dancing or music. Papers in this session will present case studies that investigate these relations through the examination of material evidence related to these ancient technologies. Papers should be grounded in, but not exclusively, empirical data; theoretical approaches to the interpretation of these data are welcome and expected.

Format Description: Presentations should be 20 minutes in length; pre-recorded, synchronous, and a variety of formats (please contact me if you have an idea you want to propose) are all acceptable.  Following the paper presentations, Kostalena Michelaki (Arizona State University) will act as discussant.

Abstracts sent to: greg.braun@utoronto.ca 

Moderated Panel/Roundtables

Toward a Partnership for Maritime Archaeology in Canada
Kimberly Monk and Lisa Sonnenberg

Panel Description:

This workshop is one of a series of connection events being held across the country to address the need for a cohesive structure for maritime archaeology. The practice of maritime archaeology - inclusive of submerged, coastal, and terrestrial marine-related sites – is fragmented in Canada, affected by limitations in funding, training opportunities, commercial development, and government regulation. By providing a forum for professionals and other stakeholders to discuss key issues, and through the process of formalizing local networks, we are addressing both national initiatives and regional priorities. Furthermore, with opening the discussion to the public, we wish to encourage their cooperation, share our collective knowledge, and remain transparent in our aims and objectives. To achieve the partnership objectives: improving research practice; promoting inclusiveness and engagement; and enabling education, innovation, and cooperation; we first need to address core local issues. By evaluating the current challenges across academia, government, industry, and community organizations, we can determine prospects for leveraging facilities, sharing resources, and building on current areas of strength. This workshop will focus on four regional topics (MoL diving regulations, indigenous consultation, archaeological consulting, and research) that are critical to supporting the practice of maritime archaeology within Ontario. The results from the discussion will set forth an initial agenda identifying local requirements and opportunities while contributing to a framework for building a national partnership.

Format Description: Afternoon session (1:00 – 4:30pm) Duration 3.5 hrs.

Invited Meeting (Participants/Stakeholders)

Invitees will be asked to submit a 1-page “archaeology” CV, in advance, to share with other members, listing education, marine archaeology training and experience.

In addition, a questionnaire will be circulated related to the current state of maritime archaeology in Ontario.

Open to General Audience (Attendees) during Part V Discussion of Regional Issues

Contact information: kimberlymonk@trentu.ca and epsonnenburg74@gmail.com

Current and Future Directions for Radiocarbon Chronology-building in Northeastern Archaeology
Panel Chair
Jennifer Birch (University of Georgia) 

Participants include: James Connolly (Trent University); John P. Hart (New York State Museum); +Carley Crann, additional panelists to be announced. 

Panel Description:

Advances in radiocarbon dating associated with what has been called the ‘third radiocarbon revolution’ have enhanced our ability to date past events and phenomena with ever-greater precision and accuracy. This panel discussion will bring together scholars working in northeastern North America to discuss ongoing efforts at refining archaeological chronologies through radiocarbon dating and statistical modelling. Topics to be discussed will include descriptions of ongoing work in multiple sub regions and periods, major findings and implications, challenges and opportunities, and future directions. Participants will introduce themselves and explain their current involvement in radiocarbon chronology building. The discussion would then be structured around a series of questions or topic directed at each participant in turn, with other panelists invited to follow from points raised by the first speaker. The panel will also include a question-and-answer period where members of the audience can ask questions of the panel, facilitated by a moderator. 

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Phone: +1 (416) 406-5959

Email: info@ontarioarchaeology.org
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