Association of Professional Archaeologists

Association of Professional Archaeologists (Ontario) 

~  Radiocarbon Date Awards  ~


Those of you who have been perusing the newly updated Newsletter archives on the website may have seen talk of the lottery and its lucky recipients in the past.  The Executive has been working to revive this assistance to its members, and the added benefit for all will be the sharing of the dating results and the significance of those dates to the sites from which the samples are recovered.
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Radiocarbon Date Merit Award

APA Ontario is pleased to announce the revival of this special contest for members. The prize is the cost of one sample dated at A.E. Lalonde AMS Facility, one of APA’s sponsors. Open to APA members holding the PIF on a recent/current project, or all APA members conducting research on a project with no active PIF. Current projects or past projects -- you decide which samples are likely to provide valuable information to yourself and your colleagues.


next deadline to apply: the due date for the 2021 award will be announced


To enter, simply provide us with the following information in an email to members@apaontario.ca:

  • Your information (name, contact, etc.)
  • PIF number for the project where the sample was collected
  • Site type
  • Sample context
  • Material to be dated

Also provide a brief note indicating:

  • How this date will contribute to the archaeological record in Ontario
  • Brief history of site investigations
  • How this award will contribute to your work as a professional archaeologist

The primary condition of the award is acknowledgement of the APA when the date is used in publication, and submission of a short note for the APA website and newsletter. This newsletter/ website report can be a brief summary of the project, site, context and sample with a comment on the date returned (how the date relates to expectations and how it contributes to the understanding of the site).


A small committee will evaluate entries for members to receive a complimentary AMS C14 analysis from A.E. Lalonde AMS Facility.

** April 2020 ** Josh Garrett, a Trent University graduate student, is this year's APA member recipient of this complimentary AMS C14 analysis.  

Site Type: Middle Woodland campsite. White's Island Mink Site BbGm-43

> Sample Context: Midden

> Material: Culturally modified deer bone

This radiocarbon date will contribute to the archaeological record of Ontario by providing a temporal anchor to an otherwise stratigraphically complex site. The White's Island Mink site appears to have been heavily occupied for at least 1000 years. The islands of Rice Lake are drumlins created by the retraction of glaciers roughly 12,000 years ago. As such, bioturbation, hydroturbation, and human trampling have created an environment in which depositional events are difficult to separate in time, and stratigraphy is difficult to interpret. The culturally modified deer bone located in a midden at the Mink Site appears to be a pottery decoration tool. Experiments in the lab were able to replicate diamond-like dentate stamp patterns seen on some of the ceramic artifacts recovered from the site. Dentate stamping as a decorative technique has a deep time depth in Ontario, and can be seen in the early periods of the Middle Woodland, all the way to the Late Woodland period. Diamond-shaped dentate stamping is more rarely seen. Acquiring an absolute date on a pottery decoration tool will aid in situating the Mink Site temporally, and contribute to our understanding of the tools used to decorate pottery in the Woodland Period. 

In 2018 and 2019, Northeastern Archaeological Associates in partnership with our friends, colleagues, and allies of Curve Lake First Nation conducted significant excavations on White's Island, producing an incredibly fascinating assemblage of cultural material. The White's Island Mink Site produced an exciting amount of Middle Woodland pottery for detailed analysis, as well as faunal and lithic material that give us a better understanding of the lives and luxuries experienced by the Anishinabek people of the Middle Woodland period, who have occupied these lands since time immemorial.  The shores and islands of Rice Lake provide a fascinating glimpse of human survival since Palaeo-indian times, and the area has been continuously occupied for over 10,000 years. 

This award will contribute to my professional development as an archaeologist by aiding my understanding of the creation, utilization, and discard of Woodland Period ceramic pottery, and my contribution to high quality archaeological research that not only provides a better understanding of the archaeological history in Ontario, but helps tell the story, as an ally, of the First Nations people who have an intimate connection to this land. The archaeology of Ontario tells the human story--of struggle, adaptation, survival, lives of love and family, and the way that humans persevere throughout time. 


** January 2019 ** APA member Daniel Smith is this year's recipient of one complimentary AMS C14 analysis. Daniel is currently enrolled in a Master's Degree at Trent University.

> Project PIF: The Scott Site (BcGk-1) was excavated Pre-PIF implementation in 1966

> Site Type: The Scott Site (BcGk-1) is primarily identified as an Early Woodland fishing camp/burial site with material stretching to the Late Woodland period 

> Sample Context: The exact unit and depth of the artifact will need to be determined as it was not identified in the original artifact identification process in the late 1960's and placed with other bone fragments

> Material: Long-bone fragment, potentially Deer

          This date will assist the archaeological record in Ontario by providing an absolute date to multiple occupation site containing artifacts from the woodland period at large as a potential meeting place, it also assists in the understanding of pottery decorations and the tools associated with this decoration. Providing a absolute date with an uncommon tool involved with the understanding of ceramic development and decoration within Ontario.  This date will also be added to a developing radiocarbon database for Ontario archaeology which is associated with my current research. 

Brief history of site investigations: The site was excavated in 1966 by the Department of Anthropology at Trent University as a small fishing camp on an island at the confluence of the Trent and Crowe rivers. During the excavation 6 complete and 18 incomplete burials were excavated along with artifacts including Woodland ceramics, bone tools, lithic tools and several worked copper tools. The majority of the site’s materials were never formally identified past the filming of “Five-Foot Square”, a film produced by the Department of Anthropology outlining archaeological excavation at the Scott Site. The artifact assemblage is currently being analyzed by 3 Graduate students at Trent university where the collection is located, one of which identified the dentate stamping tool. 

          This award will assist my work as a professional archaeologist by strengthening the database which I am currently developing at Trent university allowing for a better Radiocarbon data availability within Ontario.


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Radiocarbon Date Lottery

To enter, members simply provide us with the following information in an email to members@apaontario.ca:

  • Your information (name, contact, etc.)
  • PIF number for the project where the sample was collected
  • Site type
  • Sample context
  • Material to be dated

Additional/optional information may be included with the lottery submission:

  • How this date will contribute to the archaeological record in Ontario
  • Brief history of site investigations
  • How this award will contribute to your work as a professional archaeologist

The primary condition of the award is acknowledgement of the APA when the date is used in publication, and submission of a short note for the APA website and newsletter. This newsletter/ website report can be a brief summary of the project, site, context and sample with a comment on the date returned (how the date relates to expectations and how it contributes to the understanding of the site).


next deadline to apply: Monday August 31, 2020 at 11:59pmEST


** October 2017 ** APA member Darci Clayton is this year's fortunate winner of the draw for one complimentary AMS C14 analysis.  Darci is currently enrolled in a Master's Degree at Trent University.

Darci's thesis research involves statistically analyzing the variability of morphological styles and raw material used to manufacture projectile points in south-central Ontario between the Late Archaic and Late Woodland time periods. This analysis will provide useful information about possible trade networks involving the groups in south-central Ontario, and other influences on projectile point variability. 

Radiocarbon dates directly associated with projectile points from this region are very rare, but any available dates will be very informative for my research. Very few analyses have been completed on projectile points from this region, and conclusions based on south-western Ontario assemblages are often projected on south-central Ontario sites. The comparatively different environment and cultural groups of south-central Ontario suggest that it may be incorrect in projecting these assumptions on to these assemblages. Darci's research aims at illuminating this gap in knowledge.

> the Sample: a wood charcoal sample from a feature that was directly associated with a Meadowood Projectile point

> the Site: Dawson Creek Site (BaGn-16)

> the Context: Wood Charcoal sample from Feature 15;

sample taken from 10-20cm depth

> Site does not have a PIF number as it was excavated in 1981


More detail about Darci's thesis research has been published in APA Newsletter 2017:2.

Results of the AMS C14 analysis for this Dawson Creek Site sample will be published in an upcoming APA newsletter and on this webpage. 


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