Even as the Laurentide ice sheet was withdrawing over 13,000 years ago, Indigenous peoples were exploring the newly available landscape as clearly shown by archaeological evidence. The locations of settlements and the tools and technology that make up the archaeological record demonstrate superb adaptation to an environment that changed significantly and continually for thousands of years. This presentation will highlight both the environmental changes and how Indigenous peoples responded to these changes in the Niagara Region and throughout the Great Lakes watershed, including the shift by some southern communities from a hunter-gatherer economy to an agricultural economy over the last 2000 years.


Robert I. MacDonald has been on the staff of ASI since 1982 and now serves in the position of managing partner. He holds Honours BSc and MA degrees from Trent University and a PhD from McGill University, all in anthropology, and is accredited by the Register of Professional Archaeologists. His areas of expertise include ecological archaeology, archaeological site potential modelling, geographical information system (GIS) applications in archaeology, Iroquoian archaeology, and stone tool analysis. Since 2004, Dr. MacDonald has held an appointment as an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Waterloo and as a research fellow of the Trent University Archaeological Research Centre. He also holds appointments as an adjunct faculty member of the Anthropology Graduate Program at Trent University and as a member of the Executive of the Heritage Resources Centre at the University of Waterloo. In 2013 he was elected to the Executive Board of the Ontario Archaeological Society (OAS), a Provincial Heritage Organization, serving a two-year term as president in 2014/15. Dr. MacDonald has over forty scholarly publications and presentations, including the book, Legacy of Stone: Ancient Life on the Niagara Frontier, (eastendbooks 1998, with Ron Williamson), an article in the 4 volume encyclopedia Archaeology in America, (Greenwood Publishing Group 2008, with  William Lovis) and a chapter in the book Toronto: An Illustrated History of Its First 12,000 Years, edited by Ron Williamson (James Lorimer & Company 2008).

Martin Cooper has been involved in archaeology in Ontario for over thirty years. He received his honours BA in Anthropology at the University of Western Ontario and his MA at the University of Toronto, where he is currently completing his PhD. He is a senior archaeologist at Archaeological Services Inc. Martin has served as project director on hundreds of single and multi-phased assessments; directed ASI’s archaeological assessments in northern Ontario and the southern Canadian Shield; and directed extensive archaeological survey and excavation of seventeenth century Neutral Iroquoian sites in the Niagara Peninsula. Martin has directed several studies related to the development of models of traditional Native use and precontact Indigenous archaeological site potential including the Master Plan of Heritage Resources for the Temagami Planning District and for the Kawartha Highlands Signature Site for the Ministry of Natural Resources. Martin also served as field director of Archaeological Master Plans for the Town of Richmond Hill and the Town of East Gwillimbury, Regional Municipality of York. He also has considerable experience and expertise with historic Euro-Canadian Sites. He was project archaeologist for the oral history and archaeological survey components of the Master Plan of Heritage Resources for Howland Township, Sheguiandah First Nation, and the Ojibways of Sucker Creek on Manitoulin Island.


September 12 @ 15:00
3:00 pm — 4:00 pm

Martin Cooper, Robert MacDonald