Using Legacy Collections to Investigate Subtle Changes in Tionontaté Ceramic Artifacts

Canadian Archaeological Association (CAA) Annual Meeting 2022
Robert Wojtowicz, Caitlin Coleman and Alexis Dunlop

In 2014, ASI reached an agreement with Charles Garrad to assume curatorial responsibility for his archaeological collections, which represent his life’s work as an avocational archaeologist in the Collingwood area of Ontario. The collections are derived from 47 Tionontaté sites that date roughly from the 1450s to 1650. In the fall of 2017, a volunteer project was undertaken by ASI staff to document the ceramic assemblages within Garrad’s collections. The ceramic collections were previously broken down by typology, but a detailed analysis of all the ceramic artifacts had never been done. Our new work is revealing subtle changes in how Tionontaté potters decorated their vessels over time, and the large selection of sites is providing a new appreciation of these trends. Working with legacy data on this scale has its challenges, but it is helping us to refine our ideas about how ceramics evolved from early Tionontaté migration to the Collingwood area to the approximate arrival of Samuel de Champlain.