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Archaeology Course Offers Insight into Ontario History

September 13, 2013
Arts & Science

The Arts and Science department at the University of Toronto School of Continuing Studies is well known for offering courses designed to enrich your knowledge about the world.  For the fall semester, Arts and Science will be offering a new course that gives insight into the rich history located all around us.

Handling the Past:Analysis of Archaeological Finds, taught by Margaret (Meg) Morden and Sarah (Sally) Stewart, offers learners an opportunity to handle artefacts and consider what they might tell us about early Canadians.

Sally Stewart has a PhD in Anthropology from the University of Toronto.  She has just received a second SSHRC grant to further her research on the earliest settlers to Cyprus. Although her research interests are primarily on Cyprus, Sally has extensive experience working for Cultural Resource Management companies, digging in Alberta and Ontario. For the past four years she has team taught the U of T Anthropology department’s archaeological field school right on the  St George Campus at the sites at The Lime Ridge Monument and 315 Bloor Street West, now the Munk School of Global Affairs.

Meg Morden, a University of Toronto alumna, has also been awarded master’s degrees in Nautical Archaeology at Texas A&M as well as Classical Archaeology from the University of Michigan. Her work has taken her to the Middle East, across Canada and to the United States.

Although Morden has travelled extensively, her goal with Handling the Past is to encourage learners to see archaeology as something that can still be fascinating when done close to home. Morden says “the truth is you don’t need to go far away to study archaeology. You can study in your own backyard.”

Archaeology students on a dig at 315 Bloor Street West, the current home of the Munk School for Global Affairs. Handling the Past students will learn from items found at this dig.


Throughout the course, learners will have an opportunity to handle early pre-history artefacts from different sites across Ontario, as well as items courtesy of Michael Chazan, a professor in the anthropology department of U of T, and Director of the U ofT Archaeology Centre. These artefacts date from between pre-European contact times up to the 19th century, and cover a range of items including pottery, tools, and more. Many of the artefacts to be studied have been excavated from the University of Toronto St. George campus. Morden adds “what is interesting about objects found on a dig isn’t always the objects themselves. Studying artefacts like these is often about the context and what they tell us about the lives and circumstances of early people.”

Handling The Past:Analysis of Archaeological Finds starts on Tuesday, September 17th, and will be taught at the University of Toronto Archaeology Centre. Be sure to visit Morden’s blog for more about her adventures in archaeology.



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