A NEW BOOK PRESENTS THE DEEP HISTORY OF ONTARIO


Neil Ferris, archaeologist with the University of Western Ontario and the Museum of Ontario Archaeology, has written the introduction to a wonderful new book on Ontario archaeology. It’s called Before Ontario: the Archaeology of a Province , edited by Marit K. Munson and Susan M. Jamieson. Ferris observes that the “great value and privilege” of being an archaeologist is “to see the deep history that is so hard to access otherwise.” He recognizes, however, that “with that privilege comes a responsibility: to convey that material past and ensure that it is a vital part of our shared heritage today.” Here is some more information about the book from the McGill-Queen’s University Press webpage: Before Ontario there was ice. As the last ice age came to an end, land began to emerge from the melting glaciers. With time, plants and animals moved into the new landscape and people followed. For almost 15,000 years, the land that is now Ontario has provided a home for their descendants: hundreds of generations of First Peoples. With contributions from the province’s leading archaeologists, Before Ontario provides both an outline of Ontario’s ancient past and an easy to understand explanation of how archaeology works. The authors show how archaeologists are able to study items as diverse as fish bones, flakes of stone, and stains in the soil to reconstruct the events and places of a distant past – fishing parties, long-distance trade, and houses built to withstand frigid winters. There also is a concluding chapter written by Kris Nahrgang a member of the Kawartha Nishnawbe First Nation. He recognizes that his aboriginal perspective may be “political, subjective, interpretive, and disturbing: in short, overly human,” but his chapter is primarily a plea for archaeologists and the First Nations to work together to protect Ontario’s deep history “for all the people of the world.” The editors and authors of this important book are to be congratulated for taking seriously their responsibility to convey Ontario’s  material past to a broad public and to “ensure that it is a vital part of our shared heritage today.” I highly recommend this book to the attention of anyone intereseted in Ohio or North American archaeology. Brad Lepper

Posted November 1, 2014
Topics: Archaeology

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