The Damiani Site

In 2006, ASI was retained to assess a large secondary plan in the City of Vaughan. Five sites were originally discovered on the property (three Euro-Canadian sites and two precontact Indigenous sites) during Stage 1 and 2 investigations. Additional work was recommended for all five. Further investigation revealed that one of the precontact sites was a large late fifteenth century ancestral Wendat village that covered an area of 1.5 hectares.

The Stage 3 and 4 excavations began in the spring of 2008 and continued until the fall of 2009. Areas of high artifact concentrations were hand-excavated, after which the site’s topsoil was removed by a Gradall to reveal a plethora of post holes. Careful mapping of the posts resulted in the discovery of 23 longhouses, ranging from 25 to 70 metres in length. After shovel-shining the entire area, over 400 subsoil features were revealed. In total, more than 13,000 artifacts were recovered and analyzed.

The village at Damiani expanded from its original settlement of sixteen longhouses to include seven more and represents populations merging, perhaps for protection, as a robust palisade was documented. The period between AD 1450 and 1500 appears to have been one of extensive intergroup hostility among Great Lakes Iroquoian populations.