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.

For those having samples processed through A.E. Lalonde, an important note: "Researchers are asked to report any publications that include data generated at our facility. The AEL AMS Laboratory is a national research facility of the University of Ottawa which is supported by the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI). The list of the publications reported to AEL AMS is an important factor in our funding and helps to keep our analytical fees competitive. Publication notifications should be sent to ael-ams@uottawa.ca. Published data should include the unique UO identifier number provided in your analytical report.  For more information please visit https://www.ams.uottawa.ca/acknowledgements/ " (May 2022)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


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 per recipient 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: TBD


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.


** May 2022 ** Patricia Dibb (York North Archaeological Services Inc.) is the recipient of one of this year's complimentary AMS C14 analysis for the following research:

> Site Type: ceremonial of some kind based on 21 fragments of Steatite and 2 partial Bannerstones, and possible evidence of the use of Gourd as a subsistence foodstuff during the Archaic. The site is registered as AlGq-180.  During Stage 4, 466 artifacts were recovered and 299 units were excavated. The majority of artifacts found are thought to represent the Middle Archaic period based on the presence of a Brewerton corner notched point, making the AlGq-180 site a multicomponent site dating from the Late Paleo-Indian (10,300 – 9,900 BP) through the Laurentian Archaic between 6500- 5000 BP (Conolly 2018).

> Sample Context: the Cucurbitaceae floral sample was recovered from Feature # 1 at AlGq-180 in the Courtice area of Southern Ontario. The units above Feature 1 contained 2 secondary Onondaga Flakes, 1 Onondaga shatter fragment, and 2 Onondaga pressure flakes. Three Quartz flakes were recovered from the flotation soil sample.

> Material: two Fragments of a Cucurbitaceae Achene (Squash family) were recovered from Feature 1 at AlGq-180. These fragments were identified by two independent sources.

"Although this site would be considered quite early for the presence of gourd/squash, the fragments best match squash seed references. The fragments have distinctive ridges around the edges on both sides and bear resemblance to the achene (outer seed shell) from a gourd or squash seed. Other plant species common to Ontario that have similar ridging on seed edges are cherry and plum (both Prunus sp.); however the fragments from AlGq-180 are too thin and flat to be from a Prunus sp. Seed. Therefore, the squash/gourd family (Cucurbitaceae) is the most reasonable identification” (TMHC Inc. 2021: 3).

“Squash is one of the earliest plants domesticated in North America and is believed to have gone through two domestication events – one in Mexico around 8000-6000years BCE and the other in northeastern North America around 3000 years BCE (Smith 1997; Smith 2011; Reibl, TMHC Inc. 2021). In northeastern North American archaeology, squash is part of the Eastern Crop Complex which includes other domesticated species of sunflower, goosefoot and marsh elder, where domestication of each species coincides with the Late Archaic period (Smith 2011). This crop complex is generally associated with groups livening around the Mississippi River Valley catchment area and the complex is thought to have predisposed cultures in northeastern North America to their later intensive agricultural practices (Smith 2011, TMHC 2021)… If the specimen is as early as thought, it could signify the use of squash in Ontario earlier than currently thought (TMHC Inc. 2021)”. If early this find could shed light on plant management in Ontario before the widespread cultivation of domesticated plants during the Woodland period (TMHC Inc. 2021)”.


** May 2021 ** David Gadzala is the recipient of one of this year's complimentary AMS C14 analysis for the following research:

Site Type: Missinaibi Lake dugout canoe site (no borden number registered)

> Sample Context: dugout canoe recovered circa 1910 from muddy bottom of Missinaibi Lake near the old HBC Post 200km west of Timmins; curated in recent decades by the Timmins Museum

> Material: wood fragment, confirmed as eastern white pine

Originally housed by the Timmins Chamber of Commerce, though their files no longer exist. Transferred to the Timmins Museum in 1973. Based on what is currently known, the canoe came to the museum in 5 pieces, attached together using a board and some rope.  Even though the canoe is rather damaged, some basic measurements are still possible (it's over 16 feet long!) and it should be possible to tell us more about its manufacture.  Interestingly, it certainly seems to conform with the long, slender, bi-pointed dugouts of assumed Indigenous manufacture (as opposed to the shorter, wider, Euro-Canadian dugouts).

Wood samples were obtained with the permission of the museum and sent to two independent labs for species identification, who confirmed it to be pine, or specifically eastern white pine (Rudy Fecteau, personal communication; and Mathew Leitch, personal communication). Another sample was sent to the University of Ottawa’s A.E. Lalonde AMS Laboratory for AMS dating, which returned a radiocarbon age of 166±27 years B.P. This places the dugout canoe firmly in the Post-Contact Period.

In Ontario, dugout canoes have occasionally been examined in the archaeological literature (Kidd 1960, Johnston 1962, Rogers 1965, Mitchell et al. 1968, and Higgins 1975). To date, the available data suggests that dugout canoes in Ontario were made by both Euro-Canadians and Indigenous peoples, with the idea either adopted from Euro-Canadians who were already familiar with dugouts in their homelands, or adopted from more southerly Indigenous groups who were already known to manufacture and use dugouts.  [Full references available in APA Newsletter 2021:2 (New Series).]

Overall, at the current moment, little can be said of the Missinaibi Lake dugout canoe other than its radiocarbon age of 166±27 years B.P.; its material, eastern white pine; and its approximate length and morphology. Nothing can be conclusively said about its maker as both Indigenous and Euro-Canadian people manufactured and used dugouts, although based on its age and recovery location, it is postulated that the Missinaibi Lake dugout is associated with the Missinaibi Lake HBC post.


** May 2021 ** Matt Severn is the second recipient of this year's complimentary AMS C14 analysis for the following research:

Site Type: Diagnostic artifacts recovered suggest occupations spanning the Early to Late Woodland period. However, the site is primarily identified as a Younge Phase occupation from the Western Basin Tradition. The site is known as AgHn-12. 

> Sample Context: Feature 3; Layer 2 38-63 cm. Eastern feature cluster.

> Material: long bone fragments, likely deer

[more info to come about the context of this sample and its interpretive potential]


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

Site Type: Early Woodland summer/fall task site known as the Dawson Creek Site (BaGn-16)

> Sample Context: Feature 28a, Level: 0-10cm

> Material: 0.25g of Ash (species) charcoal

The Dawson Creek site is an early summer to late fall task site. Its primary occupation dates to the Early Woodland period, associated with Vinette 1 ceramics, Meadowood and Middlesex components, and evidence of acorn processing. There is evidence of Late Archaic and Middle Woodland components as well. Feature 28 appears to be a re-used feature. The lowest levels date to the Late Archaic, while the upper levels are associated with Vinette 1 ceramics. This radiocarbon date will contribute to the archaeological record by documenting one of few, if not the only, re-used features at the Late Archaic and Early Woodland interface.

The Dawson Creek site was originally excavated by Dr. Lawrence Jackson, who has subsequently published on the site on numerous occasions. Ceramic, lithic, faunal, and archaeobotanical analyses have demonstrated that the Dawson Creek site was primarily used in summer and fall and was likely a task site where acorns were processed for consumption—acorns requiring the removal of tannins in order to be edible. The site is being explored again in a holistic fashion, tying in settlement and subsistence patterns during the Early Woodland period associated with environmental changes in the Rice Lake area, which subsequently impacted material culture developments.

This award will contribute to my professional development by providing me with essential information about the Dawson Creek site. The interpretations derived from the C14 dating of Feature 28a at Dawson Creek will help illuminate patterns seen in the archaeological remains from the Early Woodland period in the Rice Lake region.


** 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.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


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).


** random draw at the July 9th 2022 AGM**  APA member Tiffany McLellan is the winner of the draw for one complimentary AMS analysis.  More details to come about the sample and its context!


** 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 (New Series). 


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Copyright 2015 APA Terms of Use
Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software