Association of Professional Archaeologists

William D. Finlayson ~ "The Draper Site" and the Our Lands Speak archaeology series

01 Jan 2021 5:00 AM | Anonymous

William D. (Bill) Finlayson, Ph.D., F.R.S.C., is the senior-most archaeologist in Ontario archaeology with more than 55 years of experience in the field. One of his many noteworthy accomplishments was being voted a Specially-Elected Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada for his innovations in Ontario archaeology. He is also an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Archaeology and Heritage Studies at Wilfrid Laurier University.

Bill has had an unconventional career. Early on, he undertook the total excavation of the Draper site, a precontact Iroquoian village in Pickering which remains the largest and most significant Iroquoian site subject to salvage excavation in southern Ontario. In 1976, he left the Department of Anthropology at The University of Western Ontario to revitalize Wilfrid Jury’s Museum of Indian Archaeology and Pioneer Life. In 1985, he was appointed Lawson Professor of Canadian Archaeology, the first archaeologist to hold an endowed chair in Canadian archaeology. This allowed Bill to devote time to his field research in the Crawford Lake area near Milton Ontario, culminating in his 4 volume study of 76 Iroquoian sites in the area.

The next phase in Bill’s career began in 2001 when he took early retirement, providing him with an excellent opportunity to establish his own archaeological consulting firm. This Land Archaeology Inc. provides services to land developers in the Greater Toronto Area and beyond. Since 2006, he has undertaken the salvage excavation of more than 70 19th century homesteads and farmsteads, culminating in the total excavation of Patterson Village, the only total excavation of a 19th century Euro-Canadian company town in Ontario.

Bill has been a member of the APA for many years, has served on the Executive and has assisted the Executive in a variety of ways.

In 2017, Bill established the Our Lands Speak series of popular books to promote interest in Euro-Canadian archaeological site investigations. In 2019 an academic series was initiated with the Our Lands Speak, Occasional Papers in Ontario Archaeology with the publication of Lawrence Jackson’s study of the Palaeo-Indian occupation of the Rice Lake area since 1976.

Bill also publishes a blog —  Bill has been steadily publishing new blogs in 2020.

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