Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Master of Arts




Timmins, Peter


Sweat bathing is a practice of great antiquity and is well documented throughout the world. In the archaeological record of southern Ontario, sweat bathing has been identified via a feature class referred to as semi-subterranean sweat lodges (SSLs). To add to our understanding of this feature class, this research examines the SSLs of the Redeemer site (AhGx-114), a fourteenth century Iroquoian village located in Hamilton, Ontario. Statistical analyses were applied to SSL data, aimed at identifying whether any significant patterns emerged regarding spatial and morphological attributes, and artifact distributions. Broader societal changes during the Middle Ontario Iroquoian period were also explored through inter-site analyses focused on SSLs. The results indicate sweat bathing was an important part of the Redeemer community’s collective experience, seen in the frequency of SSLs at the site, the standardization of construction methods, and in the deposition of artifacts of significance, together signifying a strong community of practice. This community of practice is not limited to Redeemer, as is demonstrated through an in-depth examination of 18 sites across southern Ontario.