Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository

Thesis Format



Master of Arts




Peter Timmins


This thesis focuses on two archaeological sites from the Woodland Period, Blackwell One (AgHn-12) and Blackwell Two (AgHn-14), which lie roughly 8 km northeast of Sarnia, Ontario. Specifically, the sites are situated near the historic Lake Wawanosh, which was drained in the late 1800s, and roughly 400 m south of the Lake Huron shore. Blackwell One has evidence of an Early Woodland Meadowood occupation in its West Locus and Late Woodland, Younge to Springwells phase occupations, within its East Locus. Blackwell Two falls within the Middle Woodland period and is a component of the archaeologically defined Saugeen cultural complex. The analysis of these sites, which focuses on feature contents, considered a variety of materials from the lithic, ceramic, faunal and floral assemblages. This cultural material was considered within the context of environmental interaction in this area which required a reconstruction of the Woodland period environment and of Lake Wawanosh. The settlement patterns identified, and their functionality, were also analysed. Overall, these analyses developed a brief window on how the occupants of these sites thrived within the environment near Lake Wawanosh during the Woodland period.

Summary for Lay Audience

Blackwell One and Blackwell Two are two archaeological sites east of Sarnia and south of Lake Huron. Together these sites span the Woodland period, which is divided, roughly, into Early (900 BCE to 400 BCE), Middle (400 BCE to 700 CE) and Late (700 CE to 1650 CE) sub-periods. This area is poorly understood archaeologically due to a lack of extensive previous archaeological work and research. A shallow lake known as Lake Wawanosh existed in the area prior to its draining in the late 1800s. Based on environmental reconstruction and the proximity to both Lake Huron and Lake Wawanosh, this was an area of rich, exploitable resources for past peoples. The analysis of these sites was conducted through the cultural material recovered from sealed deposits from within the subsoil. The cultural material ranged from stone tools and their debitage (by-products of manufacture), pottery, faunal (animal) and floral (plant) remains. The goal of these analyses was to broadly consider how the occupants of these sites interacted with the environment, how the cultural material was used within their environment and their subsistence strategies. The data from the animal and plants remains also allowed for interpretations of the seasonality of occupation. Data compiled from previously identified sites in the area generated a broader understanding of the landscape and how past peoples interacted within it. The knowledge presented within this study will aide future archaeological work within the area by providing a framework to draw upon.