The Gathering Places 1

Across from the Viaduct/Mt. Albion Road

Setting: Circle of Upright Stones

“Archaic people [insert dates] began to make a wide variety of axes, hammers and other tools by pecking and grinding rocks to the desired shape. Some of these were used for wood working, others were used to process wild plant foods such as nuts and berries. During the later part of the period, Archaic people also made a variety of highly polished stone tools. Some of these may have been simply decorative – others may have been used as counterweights for spear-throwers. These technological changes show that Archaic people slowly modified their lives and equipment to help them cope with the changing world within which they lived,” Ontario Prehistory, Adams, Heritage, 2006. 

Imagine History Here

This Gathering Place is a place of imagination to re-envision what the land was like when the Original People arrived here 10,000 years ago. Imagine people standing where you are, trying to find animals to hunt for food and clothing. Imagine people looking for flint to make their projectile points in order to hunt. Imagine people looking for a place to build a home. Would this spot be a good place to camp?

About 9,500 years ago, a deciduous forest had replaced the tundra and that the new environment attracted whitetail deer, moose, as well as new kinds of fish and plants. Archaeological evidence is still sparse, but we can see a pattern of human movement between seasonal camps. Within the Valley are such ancient camps, used for small group hunting, gathering, and fishing

First Villages

Imagine making your home and all of the tools, utensils and cookware you need from whatever materials you could find locally. Your clothes were made of animal hides. You had to walk everywhere, including from here to the lake to go fishing. Your family lived in small, dome-shaped lodges made of small branches covered with bark or animal hides. You cooked all your meals over an open fire. You would be living like the “Archaic” people who lived in the Valley from about 9,500 to 1,000 years ago.

These Indigenous People were a migrating society, following the game and making a variety of axes, hammers and other tools by pecking and grinding rocks to the desired shape. Slowly their villages began to change as they learned more ways to use the environment to shape the quality of their lives. Settlements began to grow larger. Once the Indigenous People learned how to plant and cultivate crops, they villages became more stable and stationary. Populations grew. Eventually, they began to live in villages of bark houses, and developed a more complex social and cultural worldview.

First Hunters in the Valley

The Indigenous People were thought to arrive here about 10,000 years ago, after the lakes that were produced by the melting glaciers receded. However, little evidence of their lifestyle has been found, so we can only speculate on how they interacted with the Valley. A few stone tools have been found to suggest that they hunted large animals in a tundra-like environment. The forest that we see today did not exist back then. Mastodon, moose, elk and caribou were known to migrate through this area, followed by the Indigenous hunters, who set up camps in the hope of intercepting these herds. The Valley attracted both the animas and the hunters.

“Some time around 1000 B.C. the idea of using fired clay to make pottery containers began to spread into Ontario. The Early Woodland people of Ontario were the first to use pottery in this province. The most distinctive way in which the Middle Woodland period (c. 300 B.C. – A.D. 900) differs from the Early Woodland is in the way the people of Ontario had broadened the methods they used to decorate their pots. For the first time it is possible to distinguish regional cultural traditions – sets of characteristics which are unique to a part of the province. During the Middle Woodland period the people made conical based pottery vessels by the coil method and decorated them with various forms of stamps. By the beginning of the LATE WOODLAND (ie. by A.D. 900) period the coil method had been abandoned in favour of the paddle and anvil method, and the vessels were decorated with ‘cord-wrapped stick’ decoration.” (Ontario Prehistory, Adams Heritage)