Debbie Steiss is responsible for overseeing all aspects of administration, human resources, finances, laboratory and collections management, and information technology.
Debbie received her Honours Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology (1975) and her Master of Arts in Anthropology (1979) from the University of Toronto. She also enrolled, in 1977, in the Graduate Program at the University of Pittsburgh, before returning to the University of Toronto to complete her graduate studies.
As a Senior Archaeologist, Ms. Steiss has been responsible for the supervision of dozens of archaeological surveys and excavations, and she is an experienced lithic analyst. She has participated in many of the company’s major assessments and excavations over the last 25 years, including investigations at the Snake Hill and Peace Bridge sites in Fort Erie, the Sheguiandah site on Manitoulin Island, the Myers Road site in Cambridge, and the Iroquoian Antrex, Grandview, and Parsons sites, in Mississauga, Oshawa and Toronto, respectively. Most recently, Debbie has served as a Field Director for various surveys within the Greater Toronto Area and has analysed lithic collections from numerous pre-contact Indigenous sites including the Pickard site (5,000 B.C.), the Peace Bridge site (2,000 B.C.- A.D.1650), the Holmedale site (A.D. 1,000), the Antrex site (A.D. 1280), and the Colborne Street site (A.D. 500), to name a few.
Prior to joining ASI on a full-time basis in 1983, Ms. Steiss worked on excavation and survey projects in Alberta, Texas, New Mexico, Italy, the Northwest Territories and Ontario. In Ontario, she assisted in excavations at the Paleo-Indian Cummins site in northern Ontario; she assisted in the excavations of six multi-component sites along the Severn River, in the Hudson’s Bay Lowlands of northern Ontario; she assisted in the survey for Iroquoian sites in the Niagara Peninsula; she provided field assistance in survey and excavation of Early Iroquoian sites near Markham, Ontario; she was responsible for analysing artifact collections from the Late Iroquoian Thorold site in southwestern Ontario and the Early Iroquoian Auda site in southeastern Ontario; and she was the archaeological contractor for Parks Canada at Fort St. Joseph, Sault Ste. Marie, responsible for administration and supervision of the crew. Debbie supervised public and school participation in archaeological excavations at the Front Street site, for the Foundation of Public Archaeology and also co-directed contract excavations and historic documentation at the 1820 Rowland Burr House for the Richmond Hill Historical Society.
Outside of Ontario, Ms. Steiss participated in survey for neolithic sites in southern Italy, assisted in extensive excavations at the Meadowcroft Rock Shelter, an early and important stratified site in southwestern Pennsylvania; participated in cultural resource assessments of sites in the McGregor Missile Range, New Mexico; in salvage excavations at the Hopewell School site, Glen Rose, Texas; in test excavations of various sites in the Crowsnest Valley, southwestern Alberta; and in the excavation of three Thule sites in Coronation Gulf, Northwest Territories.
Ms. Steiss is interested in the archaeology of hunter-gatherers and in the methods and techniques of stone tool analysis. She is a co-author of a number of peer-reviewed articles including, among others: “The Middle Archaic Occupation of the Niagara Peninsula: Evidence from the Bell Site” (Ontario Archaeology); “Archaic Ancaster: The Archaeology of the Meadowlands” (Preceramic Southern Ontario); and the debitage and biface analysis sections in In the Shadow of the Bridge: The 1994-1996 Archaeological Investigations of the Peace Bridge Site.