Looking Eastward: Sixteenth Century Exchange Systems of the North Shore Ancestral Wendat

Summary

Appearing on Great Lakes sites as early as Archaic times, marine shell artifacts are only present sporadically in southern Ontario, with the exception of rare mortuary contexts, until the sixteenth-century. By the end of the century, large numbers were entering Ontario as evident at the Skandatut site and its associated Kleinburg ossuary, thought to represent the last Wendat occupation of the Humber River drainage. The presence of European metal and beads made of steatite also increases with time throughout the sixteenth century. Preliminary source data suggest a Jefferson County or more broadly eastern Ontario origin for steatite pointing to eastern-directed exchange patterns along the north shore of Lake Ontario prior to Champlain’s visit to the Wendat in 1615. Sometime before that visit, the movement of European goods and marine shell shifted to the Ottawa-French River route to the Wendat, perhaps occasioned by their move to Simcoe County and by a resurgence of hostility with the Iroquois.

Cite this Record

Looking Eastward: Sixteenth Century Exchange Systems of the North Shore Ancestral Wendat. Ronald Williamson, Meghan Burchell, William Fox, Sarah Grant. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, Quebec City, Quebec, Canada. 2014 ( tDAR id: 436905)

Record Identifiers

PaperId(s): SYM-36,09