Blog


“Feature” Employee: Lisa Small
12 Jul 2017

“Feature” Employee: Lisa Small

Meet Lisa, Field Technician for our Mitigation Division! She brings a fresh approach to ASI with her strong commitment to archaeology as social activism. Lisa has devoted herself to the growing field of African Canadian archaeology after being inspired by the stories of the Underground Railroad.   I did not find archaeology, rather it discovered me! As I pursued my avid interests in human history and evolution the...

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Historical Recipe Project: The Original Chocolate Chip Cookie
13 Jun 2017

Historical Recipe Project: The Original Chocolate Chip Cookie

As part of our historical recipe project, our Project Manager in the Planning Division Caitlin Lacy brought in the Original Chocolate Chip Cookie! Chocolate chip cookies are my go-to recipe to bake. I have been baking the same recipe since I was 14. When we were approached with this historical recipe project I wondered, when was the first chocolate chip cookie baked? The chocolate chip has been around...

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Historical Recipe Project: Dolly Varden Cake
04 May 2017

Historical Recipe Project: Dolly Varden Cake

As part of our historical recipe project, our Assistant Manager of Communications Caitlin Coleman brought in Dolly Varden cake! This cake is named after a Charles Dickens character who became a popular craze in the mid nineteenth century   Dolly Varden is a Charles Dickens character from his historical novel, Barnaby Rudge, which was set during eighteenth century anti-Catholic riots in London. The novel was never one of Dickens’...

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Field Season Starts Today
01 May 2017

Field Season Starts Today

It’s our favourite time of the year! The ground is finally unfrozen and mostly dry, so Ontario’s archaeology season has officially begun. Unusually, we have had small crews out doing survey work in April because we had a such a warm spring. But as of May 1st we have a full retinue of crews, and the work begins in earnest! In our Burlington and Toronto offices...

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Macaroni pudding made  by Alexis Dunlop from a historical recipe
28 Apr 2017

Historical Recipe Project: Sweet Macaroni Pudding

As part of our historical recipe project, our Lab Manager Alexis Dunlop brought in sweet macaroni pudding! The transition of pasta from a sweet to uniquely savoury ingredient provides a fascinating insight into how our tastes and expectations have changed over time.   In Anne Yentsch’s article Applying Concepts from Historical Archaeology to New England’s Nineteenth-Century Cookbooks, she notes a marked drop off post 1870 in the...

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Historical Recipe Project: Scottish (Canadian) Oatcakes
19 Apr 2017

Historical Recipe Project: Scottish (Canadian) Oatcakes

As part of our new historical recipe project, our Managing Partner Rob MacDonald brought in his signature Scottish Oatcakes! He has a personal connection to these delicious treats, and he also delved into the fascinating history of the oatcake below. Oats (Avena sativa), a cereal grain which was domesticated in the Fertile Crescent area of the Near East, spread throughout Europe during the Bronze Age. Unique amongst grains, oats...

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“Feature” Employee: Beverly Garner
04 Apr 2017

“Feature” Employee: Beverly Garner

Meet Bev, Senior Archaeologist and Manager of our Planning Division! She has been functioning as ASI’s lynchpin for over thirty years, having started her fieldwork career working on Marty Cooper’s PhD thesis. When she’s not keeping track of every early stage archaeological assessment we do, she indulges her artistic side through art, and working on her home and garden. My Aunt Rose always tells a story...

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Northern Watersnake
17 Mar 2017

St Patrick’s Day Snake Roundup!

Previously we shared the great spider photos that our report writer Mike Brand captured during his time doing archaeological survey work. Today in honour of St Patrick’s Day we are bringing you a fresh round-up of Mike’s wildlife photos, this time featuring snakes snapped in and around Ontario archaeological sites! Many of these snakes were photographed while doing survey work along Highway 69, such as the...

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The coin is embossed with the words “Built For Business/ Steel/ Hand Rolled/ T.E. Bissell/ Elora, Ont/ Canada,” and features an image of the disk harrow. Photograph by Felipe Gonzalez.
16 Feb 2017

Digging Up Business: An Early 20th Century Advertising Token

While excavating a nineteenth century farm site in Halton region, we uncovered a small turn of the century advertisement. This large token has no monetary value, serving instead as a pocket sized promotion for an agricultural tool; T.E. Bissell’s disk harrow cultivator. Likely distributed at a county or agricultural fair, this marketing item is a window into the fascinating story of small town manufacturing in...

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Autumn Skies
02 Dec 2016

Field Photo Contest!

We have some very talented amateur photographers on staff who, through the nature of our industry, get a glimpse into a world not many people get to see. These photos show the range of work we do at ASI, whether it be shots of untouched wilderness, a rural landscape, an abandoned house, or the hidden world of urban archaeology. You can click each picture to see...

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Belmont Farm with hatchery ca. 1877
15 Nov 2016

The hidden history of Ontario’s first fish hatchery

The blue and gold plaques can be seen across the province. Nestled between a GO transit commuter parking lot and the expanding town of Newcastle, a sign announces the location of Ontario’s first full-scale fish hatchery. Wilmot Creek has long been considered one of the best fishing creeks in Ontario. Samuel Wilmot lived beside the creek and in the 1860s he started to experiment with the...

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Marbled Orb Weaver
31 Oct 2016

Halloween Spiders Roundup!

Our staff have many hidden talents. Our report writer Dr. Mike Brand is a spider expert, and an excellent photographer. Put those two skills together and you get a great collection of spider photos! These are Mike’s top five favourite spider pictures that he has taken while doing archaeological survey throughout Ontario (and one from Newfoundland). We are featuring spiders today since Halloween is the holiday...

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“Feature” Employee: Andrew Riddle
20 Jul 2016

“Feature” Employee: Andrew Riddle

Meet Andrew, Partner and Director of our Environmental Assessments Division and all-round tech guru. If he’s not coding his own apps or eating copious amounts of chicken wings, he can be found organizing complicated wind farm and infrastructure projects. His first love is lithic analysis, so please feel free to ask him any and all questions about burin spalls!   I’ve always had curiosity about what was under the...

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Perspectives From A Future Archaeologist: Eleanor Barnett-Wright
23 Jun 2016

Perspectives From A Future Archaeologist: Eleanor Barnett-Wright

Thank you for letting me be a part of your amazing company for a very short few weeks, I now know that archaeology is in my future. As a high school student nearing the end of my time in secondary education, I was tasked with deciding what I would like to do during my one-month co-operative placement block. The goal was to explore a career...

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“Feature” Employee : Poorya Kashani
03 Jun 2016

“Feature” Employee : Poorya Kashani

Meet Poorya, one of our field archaeologists working out of the Toronto office. He brings a fresh perspective to ASI with his strong academic background in Near Eastern archaeology. When he’s not impressing us with his knowledge of bronze artifacts from the first millennium BCE, he likes to spend time with his family and travel the world. Oh, and he once relocated an Iron Age burial! I...

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Protecting heritage, protecting workers: health and safety at ASI
09 Feb 2016

Protecting heritage, protecting workers: health and safety at ASI

We asked some of our Joint Health and Safety Committee (JHSC) staff members what aspect of ASI’s health and safety plan is most applicable to them in their job role, and what policies are in place that help them manage the issue. Here are their responses.   John Sleath (Staff Archaeologist) As a Certified Worker Rep, I get asked a multitude of questions about anything...

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“Feature” Employee: Caitlin Coleman
14 Dec 2015

“Feature” Employee: Caitlin Coleman

Meet Caitlin, ASI’s dynamic assistant lab manager, who found her calling in collections management. When she’s not baking delicious goods or sewing creative costumes, you’ll find this Museum Studies graduate organizing collections in ASI’s lab to the sound of history podcasts. I was always fascinated with history, so I started out taking a history and anthropology degree at McGill. I took some archaeology classes and I was hooked!...

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The Karma Project in Simcoe County #ASItravels
04 Dec 2015

The Karma Project in Simcoe County #ASItravels

Next time you’re in Simcoe County and in need of some respite and nourishment, check out the Karma Market – known locally as Huronia’s Local Food Hub. ASI Cultural Heritage Specialists Rebecca Sciarra and Peter Carruthers had the wonderful opportunity to happen on this local gem recently while doing work in the area. ASI was thrilled to come across this organization as they are promoting unique features...

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“Feature” Employee: Martin Cooper
10 Nov 2015

“Feature” Employee: Martin Cooper

Meet one of our four former partners and ASI’s Manager of Northern Ontario: Martin Cooper. When he’s not cycling the 20+ km from Thornhill to the ASI head office, you might find this canoe-lover in goal on the ice hockey rink or planning his next winter camping adventure. When I was 10 years old our camp cabin visited the Warminster site, which is considered by some to be the Wendat...

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The Road to Huronia #ASItravels
09 Nov 2015

The Road to Huronia #ASItravels

The following account, written by ASI staff archaeologist John Sleath, is based on true events. It all sounded like a great idea at the time. “Midland isn’t that far, we should just drive up there in the morning. It won’t be that early.” That all made sense, but Saturday October 17th came, and it came fast. After swinging by to pick up my co-author and...

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“Feature” Employee: Rebecca Sciarra
18 Sep 2015

“Feature” Employee: Rebecca Sciarra

Meet ASI’s Director of Business Development, Rebecca Sciarra. When she’s not meeting clients and developing business opportunities, you might find this Cultural Heritage Specialist and landscapes-lover at home experimenting in the kitchen and sewing new projects. We’re really glad she didn’t become a brick layer. We like having her around. I am the Manager of Business Development for the company, and also contribute to ASI projects as a Cultural...

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Call Before You Dig: The Truth About Archaeology and Utility Locates
14 Aug 2015

Call Before You Dig: The Truth About Archaeology and Utility Locates

When you think about archaeology, risk management and health and safety are not often the first words that come to mind. But they are for us. All of our fieldwork must be done as safely as possible. From worrying about poison ivy and mosquito bites, to vehicular traffic when we work near roads; the health and safety of all of our staff is paramount. Generally...

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From the Field to the Lab: An Archaeological Field Technician’s Perspective on Lithic Analysis
10 Aug 2015

From the Field to the Lab: An Archaeological Field Technician’s Perspective on Lithic Analysis

As an archaeological field technician working with ASI I have developed a profound appreciation for the archaeological history of the Great Lakes Region. In the field, one has the pleasure of working in direct contact with a vast wealth of cultural material and physical and geographical features that hint at past life-ways. Many of us strive to learn many technical skills as an ASI Field Technician...

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BIG students with big ideas
24 Jul 2015

BIG students with big ideas

Meet Scott and Amy. ASI has partnered with Borders in Globalization (BIG) to offer two internships to two highly-motivated students looking to research and explore concepts of boundary and territory as it pertains to archaeology and cultural heritage. Amy St. John My name is Amy St. John. I’ve been involved in various types of archaeological research since I earned my BA in combined Honours Classical Archaeology and...

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Emily and Krista’s Favourite Spring Artifacts
26 Jun 2015

Emily and Krista’s Favourite Spring Artifacts

We asked two of our lab technicians, Emily and Krista, if they could choose their favourite artifact from the spring lab season. They chose two unique finds – take a look!  Emily Wells: The “Maid of Erin” harp pipe A standout artifact from lab work this winter is the bowl of a clay ball pipe with a Maid of Erin harp and a pattern of...

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ASI’s ACO NextGen 2015 Job Shadowees
10 Mar 2015

ASI’s ACO NextGen 2015 Job Shadowees

For two days in February, ASI hosted two job shadowees from the Architectural Conservancy of Ontario’s NextGen job shadow program. Meet Jocelyn Kent and Caleb Fleisher and learn about what they got up to with us! Jocelyn Kent My name is Jocelyn Kent. I visited ASI on February 18th as part of the 2015 ACO NextGen job-shadowing program. I earned my Honours BA in History at...

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Lithic Usewear Analysis: The Art of Herding Cats
03 Dec 2014

Lithic Usewear Analysis: The Art of Herding Cats

The following blog entry on Lithic Usewear Analysis was written by ASI Archaeologist and Material Culture Analyst Doug Todd, who also happens to be a former award-winning journalist. We’re lucky to have him share with us this very interesting and essential scientific process… There are many words, terms and labels in Archaeology that can illicit emotional, passionate responses from those who dig for a living...

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Winter Longhouse Project 1979
22 Oct 2014

Winter Longhouse Project 1979

Winter is coming. We thought we would share with you what it’s like to live in a really, really cold longhouse – and also what it’s like to be surrounded by smoke the entire time. Next time you complain about the brisk autumn weather, think of this 1979 winter longhouse project and feel a bit warmer. How much firewood did Iroquoian peoples use in the...

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“Toronto Underfoot” Underway at the ROM!
17 Sep 2014

“Toronto Underfoot” Underway at the ROM!

Dr. Williamson was invited to share his thoughts on Toronto’s archaeological past for the ROM’s new exhibit “Toronto Underfoot”, opening on October 11th, 2014. We spent the afternoon in the depths of the museum’s North American collections while a film crew rolled on… The Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) is getting ready to launch a new exhibit called Toronto Underfoot and we are really excited here...

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“Feature” Employee: Debbie Steiss
11 Sep 2014

“Feature” Employee: Debbie Steiss

Meet one of our four former partners and ASI’s General Manager: Debbie Steiss. When she’s not dealing with the business side of the company, you might find this published lithics expert and avid tennis player in the garden with her precocious cat, Chester. Oh, and she once excavated at the famous Meadowcroft Rockshelter. We’re jealous. In a high school history class, we studied ancient civilizations- Mesopotamia, Assyria,...

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Artifacts of the Summer: “Best Of” Edition
05 Sep 2014

Artifacts of the Summer: “Best Of” Edition

Before they headed back to school, we asked our summer lab staff if they could share their favourite object from their summer washing and cataloguing. Thanks for sharing your favourites with us and good luck at school this year! We will miss seeing you four around the office. And now, without further ado, here are the objects you’ve been waiting to see!   Danielle Bella: Red...

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“Feature” Employee: Joel Konrad
28 Jul 2014

“Feature” Employee: Joel Konrad

Meet Dr. Joel Konrad. He’s a Cultural Heritage Specialist on our Built Heritage team. This family man loves bridges, playing music, exploring creepy basements and navigating the sea. Okay, that last thing isn’t true… yet. I grew up near a nineteenth-century fort on the Penobscot River in Maine and loved exploring the passageways during family outings. This, and my time playing around archaeological sites in Maine...

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#ArchaeologyProblems
17 Jul 2014

#ArchaeologyProblems

Most archaeologists/cultural heritage specialists can relate to these situations at one time or another. #WeFeelYourPain                 


Visiting Researchers at ASI
23 Jun 2014

Visiting Researchers at ASI

From time to time, students and researchers in different fields of study come by our offices to use our collections and consult with our specialists. Here is where you can read more about the exciting projects they are working on… Liam Browne (Master’s candidate, Trent University) I am a Master’s candidates studying the late Paleoindian period at Trent University.  My research aims to help us...

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Seeing Green: A Transfer of Artifacts to Sustainable Archaeology
11 Jun 2014

Seeing Green: A Transfer of Artifacts to Sustainable Archaeology

For the past few months, the Laboratory Services team at ASI  has been preparing many of our collections for the purpose of transferring them to Sustainable Archaeology’s London facility. Sustainable Archaeology is a collaborative initiative between Western University and McMaster University, located at the Museum of Ontario Archaeology (London), as well as McMaster’s Innovation Park (Hamilton). It is funded by the Canadian Foundation for Innovation and the...

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“Feature” Employee: Bruce Welsh
25 Feb 2014

“Feature” Employee: Bruce Welsh

Meet Dr. Bruce Welsh: a nature-loving Scotsman with a penchant for haggis, hiking and Orwellian theories. A real “post whisperer,” this senior archaeologist has seen it all…and is not afraid to tell you about it. Initially began my undergraduate degree in Classics and languages and literature (Latin, French and English). One of my first year options was anthropology and archaeology quickly attracted my attention. A...

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Ancient Ten Fish Soup Recipe
29 Jan 2014

Ancient Ten Fish Soup Recipe

Discovered after analyzing carbonized food debris from a 1,300 year-old vessel, the Ancient Ten Fish Soup recipe is now available for you and your culinary curiosity! This reconstructed vessel was found on the Peace Bridge site in Fort Erie, ON. The vessel was radiocarbon-dated to AD 675 and, based on analysis of the carbonized food debris encrusted on the interior surface of the vessel, the pot...

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ASI at the SHA Conference in Quebec City
13 Jan 2014

ASI at the SHA Conference in Quebec City

The 2014 Society for Historical Archaeology (SHA) Conference happened last week (January 8 – 12) in Quebec City, Quebec. Many of the staff here at Archaeological Services Inc. were not only in attendance, but were among the many presenters of new and interesting research in the field of historical archaeology, archaeological site management and 15th and 16th century acquisition by Ontario Iroquoians of European trade...

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“Feature” Employee: Heidy Schopf
10 Jan 2014

“Feature” Employee: Heidy Schopf

Meet Heidy. She works in our Built Heritage and Cultural Heritage Landscape Division to study, evaluate, and document heritage properties. Heidy has a particular knack for investigating creepy places: in the real world she’s an explorer of abandoned properties, and in the virtual world she’s an explorer of the fantasy realms of Skyrim, Ferelden, and Etheria. Yes, our Heidy loves her video games. I first became...

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“Feature” Employee: Jennifer Ley
15 Nov 2013

“Feature” Employee: Jennifer Ley

Meet Jennifer Ley. She is a Staff Archaeologist for the Toronto Survey division and a lover of all things archaeology and animal-related (well, except for spiders, naturally). I had always been interested in archaeology when I was younger… dare I say since I first watched Indiana Jones. However, my original plan going into University was to major in Sociology and eventually go to law school. Half way...

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“Feature” Employee: Johanna Kelly
22 Oct 2013

“Feature” Employee: Johanna Kelly

Meet Johanna Kelly. Johanna is the proud owner of an adorable black lab, she is a pretty good soccer player, and she likes long walks on the beach at sunset. Oh, and she really like bones. MUMMIES! I was addicted to Discovery Channel and TLC (pre-Toddlers in Tiaras) as a kid. I learned how to the VCR very early on and would record shows about mummies...

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Happy Thanksgiving!
10 Oct 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!

In honour of the Thanksgiving Weekend, we wanted to show you what ASI staff are thankful for. So put on your stretchy pants, dig into your turkey and enjoy!                                                                        ...

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Preserving Summer
29 Sep 2013

Preserving Summer

Although many of us today think of summer as a time of rest and relaxation, for Ontario’s residents in the past, summer was a season of hard work and preparation for the winter months. Perhaps the most import task for ancestral Aboriginal and Euro-Canadian families was the preservation of foodstuffs for the long, cold months ahead. We’ve selected a few artifacts to highlight how the...

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“Feature” Employee: Thanos Webb
24 Sep 2013

“Feature” Employee: Thanos Webb

Meet Thanos Webb – our half  American, half Greek staff archaeologist. In between taking care of his three-year-old twins, drinking copious amounts of coffee and wearing cowboy hats, Thanos is finishing up a PhD from UCLA. When I was ten, my family paid a visit to an uncle who was directing an underwater excavation. After that experience, I never imagined doing anything else (Photo right: Thanos...

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“Feature” Employee: Katie Hull
22 Jul 2013

“Feature” Employee: Katie Hull

Meet Dr. Katie Hull. Katie is the first person to be featured in our new website series about the many talented staff members we have here at ASI. Not only is Katie a leading historical archaeologist but she’s one funny woman. You’ll see! Living near Cahokia Mounds in Southern Illinois, yearly class field trips focusing on archaeology were standard. But it wasn’t until my junior year...

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Revisiting the Parsons Site
13 Jun 2013

Revisiting the Parsons Site

In preparation for the Huron-Wendat Trail celebration on Saturday June 15th, we thought we would revisit the Parsons Site – a site that is being honoured with a plaque by the City of Toronto, Heritage Toronto and ASI this weekend. During the 1950s, the Ontario Archaeological Society (OAS) carried out excavations at the Parsons Site: a hugely important ancestral Huron-Wendat village site dating from the...

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So You Just Bought A New House…
11 Jun 2013

So You Just Bought A New House…

You’ve just bought a brand new house in a new subdivision in the GTA.  You know approximately how long the developers took to build the house because you bought it when they were still in the early stages of construction. You probably assumed that the developers hired some environmental experts to examine the property to first poke around for any land use issues – such...

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The 5 Metre Squares
10 Jun 2013

The 5 Metre Squares

We couldn’t think of anything more appropriate for our very first company blog post then sharing ASI’s very own music group “The 5 Metre Squares.”   With hits like “I Dig Your Features” and “Girl, Let’s Go To Stage 4,” we’re certain our group will be a huge success. Soulful lyrics, dirty jeans, rugged good looks, and, apparently, moustaches…well, it doesn’t get any better than that!