This post was originally shared last year, but we thought it was worth sharing again for Archaeology Day 2016!
Archaeology is an important part of the interpretation at the Oshawa Museum. Our Grandview Gallery in Robinson House helps tell the story of the ancestral Wendat, a group of First Nations who called this area home over 500 years ago. For far too long, the history of Oshawa began with Benjamin Wilson, an American who settled here in 1790 with his family, and so on and so forth. By saying our history begins with Wilson, we are completely omitting the ancestral Wendat, who were settled with 10-15 longhouses, who hunted, who fished, and who farmed for a period of over 70 years. Archaeology and the evidence it has given us helps us challenge the ‘traditional story,’ and we do so on every tour, through our interpretation and through the artefacts we have on display that were discovered during the excavation of the Grandview site in 1992.
Fun fact: there were over 11,000 artefacts unearthed during that salvage dig excavation, and all 11,000 are part of our collection at the Oshawa Museum. Not all 11,000 are on display of course, but you can view exceptional examples when you visit!
There were two Aboriginal villages discovered through archaeological excavations; the MacLeod Site at Rossland and Thornton was discovered in the late 1960s, and the Grandview Site, around Grandview and Taunton, was discovered in 1992. Both sites provide valuable information about the lives of the ancestral Wendat and have helped us at the Oshawa Museum shift how we tell the history of our City.
When people think about archaeology, ancient ruins, Egypt, Greece, Maya, or early First Nation settlements is what frequently comes to mind. At the Oshawa Museum, we are fortunate to have two collections from late-historic archaeological sites: the Farewell Cemetery Collection and the Henry House Collection. These two sites date to the mid to late 1800s and they provide information about Victorian lives and culture. Artefacts from the Henry House excavation will be on display in Henry House.
Curator Melissa Cole gives information on the Farewell Cemetery excavation in her June 2015 Podcast.
Archaeology is a fascinating field, and Archaeology Day is an event where we get to celebrate and showcase the amazing history that has been unearthed here in Oshawa!
Archaeology Day 2016 is happening on October 15 from 12-3pm. Proud partners for this year’s event are Trent University Durham and Scugog Shores Museum who will be joining us with interactive displays, engaging activities, lectures, and sharing in their knowledge of and passion for the field of Archaeology.