Preliminary Programme

The 2021 Annual Symposium of the Ontario Archaeological Society is being organized by the Ottawa Chapter.  This year marks the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Ottawa Chapter and we hope to celebrate with a memorable symposium!

While there are lots of reasons to have hope, the COVID-19 pandemic is far from over and we cannot be certain of the prevailing circumstances next autumn so we have decided to host a virtual symposium.  As we saw last year, this offers both difficult challenges and great possibilities. We intend to take full advantage of the amazing possibilities!

In addition to a keynote presentation on the Archaeology of Barrack Hill (now Ottawa’s Parliament Hill) by Stephen Jarrett and the customary papers, posters, and workshops, the organizing committee is also planning a wealth of complementary activities that may include virtual guided tours of local sites and facilities, archaeological trivia and scavenger hunt events, and more.

We hope you will join us virtually next autumn and share in the Ottawa Valley spirit!

André Miller

President of the Ottawa Chapter of the OAS

2021 OAS Symposium Committee Chair

2021 Symposium Theme – Origins and Growth

Archaeological fieldwork in Ontario continues to take place at an unprecedented rate.  New data, new analytical techniques, new theoretical approaches and new analyses of legacy collections are all contributing to create new insights which help produce more holistic and realistic narratives of the past.

Archaeology and archaeological understanding can be a critical bridge to facilitate reconciliation with the Indigenous communities of this land.  Archaeology should be a collaboration with Indigenous communities. Meaningful consultation and engagement with descendant communities should be common practice.  It is also essential that non-Indigenous communities learn about this land’s past so that land acknowledgements are statements of undeniable truths which incorporate an awareness of the past and the paths that led to current realities.  Only then will we stand shoulder to shoulder with shared understanding and respect as our bond.

In suggesting the twin themes of Origins and Growth we hope to cause members to pause and evaluate the roads we have collectively travelled as an organization, as a profession, and as a discipline in our privileged access to the past, while simultaneously exploring the potential for growth in the future of the discipline. We envision the dual themes generating thought and discussion around their interplay and contribution to the discipline and Ontario archaeology.

Preliminary Schedule (exact times not yet set)

Monday Evening, October 18, 2021

Workshop - From Yawn to Yarn – Writing Presentations that Engage Audiences

Workshop - Building a Model of the Future: An Argument for Dioramas and Immersive Learning

Tuesday Evening, October 19, 2021

Workshop - Presenting Truth: Modelling Respectful Engagement with Indigenous Neighbours & Partners

Tour - Paddling through the Past (Guide: Jean-Luc Pilon)

Wednesday Evening, October 20, 2021

Workshop - Using Projectile Point Trait Clustering in Relative Temporal Dating Techniques

Tour - Leamy Lake Archaeology (Guide: Ian Badgley)

Tour - A.E. Lalonde AMS Lab (Guides: Carley Crann and Sarah Murseli)

Tour - Billings Bridge Estate (GuideBrahm Lewandowski)

Thursday Evening, October 21, 2021

Workshop - Rural Historical Farmstead Sites: Approach and Technical Methodologies

Tour - Cumberland Museum (Guides: Rachel Perkins, Bert Potvin, Gregoire D'Aoust, Susan Globensky, and Ruby Rose)

Tour - Musée de l'Auberge Symmes (Guides: Roger Blanchette and Anyssa Doiron)

Friday Evening, October 22, 2021

Virtual Live Opening Ceremony

Keynote Barrack Hill Presentation-Stephen Jarrett

Q&A with Stephen Jarrett

Saturday Morning, October 23, 2021

Session - Archaeological Knowledge Production in the Age of Zoom

This session seeks papers that engage with how archaeological knowledge is produced, validated, and disseminated, in the past, present, and future. Knowledge is produced through the practice of archaeology, but in an era where digital mediums are increasingly an important way through which archaeological knowledge is disseminated, the established process for validating knowledge derived from practice may be inadequate. The ways in which knowledge is validated within the discipline are entwined with how authority is bestowed upon practitioners of archaeology. Challenges to the authority of archaeologists as well as to how authority is bestowed within the discipline are not new. Whether the challenges are associated with pseudo-archaeologies or through critiques of the presumed authority of archaeologists by indigenous groups, the discipline could be understood as increasingly struggling to remain relevant and to retain authority. In light of these observations, this session also seeks papers that provide insight into broader questions surrounding best practice and approaches to the production, validation, and dissemination of archaeological knowledge.

Session - Contributed Papers

Session - Boreal Forest Archaeology 

The Boreal Forest is an ecozone occurring across extensive areas of Canada, including most of Ontario. Recently, more archaeological endeavours have been occurring in this province given the related increase in Indigenous heritage projects, mining, forestry, road building, and hydroelectric initiatives. The Boreal Forest is a logistically challenging place to survey because of dense vegetation, minimal mapping information, limited roads, as well as complex archaeological preservation issues. However, it also provides new information from almost every investigation, making it an inspiring place to work.

This session provides opportunities for dialogues relating to Boreal Forest archaeology issues in Ontario and adjacent areas. We welcome presentations or posters about research or cultural resource management contexts and from particular sites or regional overviews. Involvement from Indigenous communities or individuals is also encouraged.

Session - Oral Histories & Archaeology

This session seeks papers from a variety of perspectives engaging with the incorporation of oral histories within archaeological narratives. The session takes a broad view of what might be considered oral history and not only considers those produced in collaboration with indigenous and descendant communities but also interviews with excavators and other archaeological stakeholders. The session welcomes papers that demonstrate the value of incorporating oral histories as well as those that provide insight into best practice, new approaches, and future challenges.

Saturday Afternoon, October 23, 2021

Roundtable - Archaeology on Parliament Hill Roundtable/Panel Discussion

A pre-contact stone knife was recovered during archaeological excavations carried out in 2019 for the Centre Block Rehabilitation project, on Parliament Hill. This archaeological discovery aroused keen interest on the part of Public Service and Procurement Canada, the Algonquins of Pikwàkanagàn First Nation and the Kitiigan Zibi Anishinabeg, fostering a new partnership between the Parliamentary Precinct Branch of the department and these two Anishinabe Algonquin communities. Among the initiatives flowing from this partnership are an Indigenous Archaeological Field School proposed by PSPC and to be operated by the two communities in the Capital region and expanded emphasis on telling the Anishinabe Algonquin story on interpretive panels surrounding the Centre Block construction work. The implications of these and other initiatives for the more direct and active Anishinabe Algonquin stewardship of archaeological resources in the region are discussed in this roundtable.

Session - Origins of Loss: The Growth of Coastal Erosion along the Waterways in Central Canada

The acceleration of coastal erosion is a complex phenomenon that is challenging for the preservation of cultural heritage in Canada. The issue is not only serious in Atlantic, Pacific, and Arctic sea coasts but also inland along the waterways of Central Canada in Ontario and Quebec. This global problem needs to be addressed at all levels: the government, institutions, and local organizations. Therefore, in collaboration with partners, the Canadian Museum of History is exploring means to develop a pan-Canadian erosion program to address this issue. In this session we encourage you to share your data, concerns, methods, efforts to develop awareness, potential solutions, and strategies. This session is not only addressed to archaeologists, but also seeks contributions from anyone who wants to share with archaeologists their concerns on those questions such representative of indigenous communities or local organizations promoting the preservation of heritage. It is part of a strategy to develop a network of contacts across Ontario and Quebec.

Saturday Evening, October 23, 2021

Annual Business Meeting (ABM)

Awards Ceremony

Sunday Morning, October 24, 2021

Session - The National Capital Commission’s Assessment and Rescue of Archaeology Legacy (ARAL) Project

The National Capital Commission launched the Assessment and Rescue of Archaeological Legacy (ARAL) project in 2018, in response to the ongoing erosion of archaeological sites in the Capital region. First noted in the literature at the end of the 1800s and in numerous archaeological research reports on Leamy Lake Park between 1993 and 2003, the erosion of archaeological sites along the shorelines of the Ottawa River in the region accelerated considerably following the catastrophic spring flood of 2017. A long-term project, ARAL’s initial fieldwork focused on re-documenting 20 known archaeological sites along an 11-km stretch of the Ottawa River, recording 4 new sites in the process. The fieldwork undertaken in 2019 and 2020 concentrated on the intensive surface-collecting of artifacts, mainly at the 8 most seriously eroding pre-contact sites in Leamy Lake Park. These collections, totalling roughly 50,000 artifacts , were recorded as GPS waypoints and have been applied to the development of a GIS-based strategy for determining optimal locations for specific rescue excavations. The ARAL project’s results to date, its future directions and challenges are described in this session.

Session - Rouge River Archaeology

Roundtable - 2021 Partnership for Maritime Archaeology in Canada: Ontario Region Virtual Roundtable 

This roundtable 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.

Building on from our first (2020) OAS roundtable, this event will provide further opportunity for cooperation, dissemination, and discussion on key concerns relating to the practice of maritime archaeology in Ontario. The roundtable will be structured into three parts. The first session will provide a forum for updates and Q&A on regional activities relating to three of our key areas: consulting, indigenous, and sport divers. It will also summarize efforts with our national partners and regional leads in British Columbia, Quebec, and Newfoundland. Our second session will showcase 8 x 5-minute rapid talks by panelists, discussing current work, research, and related initiatives. The final session will provide a forum for group discussion, honing strategies for the working groups and establishing next steps.

Workshop - Pre-Contact Pottery of Ontario


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The Ontario Archaeological Society is a registered charitable organization that promotes the ethical practice of archaeology. The general public, students and professional alike are encouraged to become members of the Society and to support its co-ordinating role in helping to record and preserve our non-renewable cultural heritage. Click here to view membership details.

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