Etharita: Highlights from Charlie Garrad’s Collections

For the last few years ASI has been working on housing Charles Garrad’s amazing collections of artifacts from the Collingwood area. Garrad was the former president of the Ontario Archaeological Society, and the first licensed archaeologist in Ontario. The material he recovered is truly world-class, so we decided to highlight one particular site that he excavated in our office display case.

Etharita was a mid seventeenth century village, which was home to several hundred Tionontaté families. Etharita gave shelter to the St Jean Jesuit mission, and became a refuge for Huron-Wendat escaping Iroquois aggression. Housing Huron-Wendat refugees, as well as Jesuit missionaries, made the Tionontaté a target. In the winter of 1649, the village was attacked, pillaged and burnt to the ground. Following this defeat, these Tionontaté and Huron-Wendat largely dispersed, many of them heading further North to be outside of the range of Iroquois aggression. Etharita was thus the site of an important historical moment; when the Huron-Wendat and many of the Tionontaté lost a key battle that forced them from their homelands.

Etharita is a very important site within the history of Ontario archaeology, as the site caught the imagination of many students and avocational archaeologists. Throughout the 1970s Garrad led many student and volunteer groups on excavations of the site. With its outstanding quality artifacts, Etharita served as a training ground and inspiration for a new generation of archaeologists.

The exhibit features:
  • Animal and human effigies, and a worked bone hairpin
  • Artifacts associated with shamanism; full bodied human effigy pipes, a bone sucking tube and an otter baculum
  • European manufactured artifacts; trade beads and a trade axe
  • Surface finds; the richness of the site is illustrated by the quality of ceramics, stone beads and tools, projectile points, worked bone and trade beads that were found on the surface of the site