ASI opened its doors for the City of Toronto’s annual Doors Open weekend on May 25 & 26, 2013. We had hundreds of visitors over the two days and great questions for our staff about Ontario archaeology.
ASI invited visitors to learn about the famous Mantle Site, which is a Huron-Wendat village dating to the early 16th century. We consider this site to be one of the first creative “cities” in Ontario. Dr. Ron Williamson, Chief Archaeologist and Managing Partner of ASI, has called Mantle “one of the most complex villages ever excavated in the Northeast.” Mantle was a cosmopolitan center of innovation – tens of thousands of artifacts and over 95 longhouses were revealed during excavations, and it was discovered that the dwellings were arranged around a central plaza, or a “town square”.
The findings reveal a civilized, complex and innovative society, with constantly changing identities – a Toronto before Toronto. Staff archaeologists guided visitors to various stations throughout ASI’s Bathurst St. headquarters, and showed artifacts, photos and video of the famous excavation and its importance in Canadian pre-contact history. Archaeologists were also on site to answer questions. Near the end of the tour, Chief Kris Nahrgang of the Kawartha Nishnawbe, one of the foremost Ojibway soapstone sculptors in Canada, was in the boardroom exhibiting some of his sculptures (also for sale). Thanks to everyone who came by to say hello!