It begins!

May 1st finally arrived and the field school has officially started! Winter term only ended a week or so ago but it was nice to have the hallways bustling again with students.

Our field school this year is running concurrently with a Williams Treaty Indigenous archaeological liaison training session. It sounded like they were having much more fun in their classroom session down the hall than our coverage of health and safety and signing risk assessment forms. They will be in-class for the next two weeks and then we are looking forward to them joining us in the field for the remainder of the course.

As eager as I hope everyone is to get digging, we also have some classroom time at the start. Today James went over the course objectives, and introduced the Standards and Guidelines for Consultant Archaeologists, which is a document published by the government of Ontario that sets out the procedures for doing archaeological fieldwork in the province. We also provided an overview of past work that we have done that has now become the Nassau Mills Research Project. It sounds silly but I was really struck at how quickly time has flown by and all the things we have accomplished to date. It is so wonderful after the last three years to be able to gather in person again and run a field school.

After a break for lunch we took a walking tour of campus, where we visited some of the sites we have previously excavated and also spent some time identifying traces of past human activity on the landscape like abandoned railway embankments, mill infrastructure remnants, and other relict features.

Field school students standing at the entrance sign to Trent University, during a rainy walk around campus.
James has definite preferences in limestone orientation.

It alternately hailed and rained on us, but we didn’t dissolve like spun sugar. On the way back to the classroom, we visited the Treaty Rock by Bata Library which was installed in September 2021 to honour the Michi Saagiig Anishnaabeg signatories to the treaties over the land upon which the Trent campus is built.

Tomorrow we have a morning class about material culture and artifact identification and then hope to be out doing pedestrian survey on site in the afternoon.

Welcome to the 2023 field season!

We didn’t intend on such a long hiatus between our field schools but life and the pandemic happened and suddenly it is five years later!

The Nassau Mills project is still trucking along, our (James and Kate’s) article on our excavations at Nassau Mills structure one, which we now are pretty firmly convinced was Charles Perry’s house (at least for a little while!) has been accepted for publication and will appear in an upcoming volume of Ontario Archaeology.

We envisioned this project as tying together a lot of the little investigations we have been conducting on the Trent University Symons campus. This year, we will be revisiting a site we first excavated in 2010, and also exploring some new parts of campus.

We are excited to share our progress with you, see you May 1!