2012 Excellence in Cultural Resource Management Award

Dr. Ron Williamson

Nancy Van Sass (l) presenting members of Archaeological Services Inc. (ASI) with the 2012 Award for Excellence in Cultural Resource Management during the banquet at the Annual OAS Symposium held in Windsor, Ontario, November 9-11, 2012. From left to right: Nancy Van Sass, Ron Williamson, Eva MacDonald, Rob MacDonald, Debbie Steiss, Robert Pihl and ?.

Dr. Ronald Williamson, the founder and Chief Archaeologist & Managing Partner of Archaeological Services Inc., provides an excellent example for the incorporation of public archaeology into the domain of Cultural Resource Management. Dr. Williamson is a prolific writer of both academic and popular reports on his various discoveries, including the 1987 excavations of the 28 American soldiers who died near Old Fort Erie during the War of 1812. Snake Hill: An Investigation of a Military Cemetery from the War of 1812 (1991) and the popular volume Death at Snake Hill: Secrets from a War of 1812 Cemetery (1993) began his legacy of producing publications accessible to a non-academic audience. This publication became the basis for the Ontario Heritage Foundation Local History Series volume 3.

Dr. Williamson’s CRM work at the Peace Bridge site over the course of the past 10 years has also resulted in the scholarly publication Shadow of the Bridge: The 1994-1996 Investigations of the Peace Bridge Site and the popular publication Legacy of Stone: Ancient Life on the Niagara Frontier, co-authored with Robert MacDonald which received the 1998 Peggy Armstrong Public Archaeology Award.

His other publications include the 1999 co-edited Taming the Taxonomy: Toward a New Understanding of Great Lakes Archaeology, the proceedings of the 1997 joint Ontario Archaeological Society/Midwest Archaeological Conference, with Christopher Watts, the 2001 co-authored Government of Fire: The History and Archaeology of Upper Canada’s First Parliament Buildings with Frank Dieterman, and the 2004 co-edited Bones of the Ancestors: The Archaeology and Osteobiography of the Moatfield Ossuary. He also recently co-edited The Archaeology of Bruce Trigger: Theoretical Empiricism, a volume honouring the work of one of 20th Century’s greatest anthropologists with Michael Bisson. Currently, Dr. Williamson is working on the illustrated history of the first 10,000 years of people in the City of Toronto.

Dr. Williamson has also used the media of film to convey the importance of archaeological sites to the public. Hangman’s Graveyard documents the Old Don Jail and the graveyard that is behind the infamous Toronto jail. Curse of the Axe, airing recently on History Television, documents the discovery of the Mantle Site, a Huron-Wendat Village of 90 longhouses to the and its connection to the Western Europe. Explosion 1812 documents the explosion of Fort York, which took place on April 27, 1813. This film will be viewed at the 2012 Ontario Archaeological Symposium.

Dr. Williamson has gone above and beyond the requirements of the legislation of the Ministry of Tourism, Culture & Sport to disseminate the information to a larger audience. For this, he is recognized with the Award of Excellence in Cultural Resource Management.

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