expand search


statue of a historical politician studied in the anthropology


Oshawa Historic Field School

Introduction to Historic Archaeological Field and Laboratory Methods -- Trent University Durham

The 2018 availability of this course has not yet been determined.

Field work component:

Henry House, Lake View Park, Oshawa
Monday to Friday – 8:30am- 4:30pm
(Two weeks)

Fall Lecture/Laboratory Work:

Trent University Durham
Rm 121, Thornton Campus, Oshawa
Fall term - September to December
(Day & Time to be posted when Time Table is ready)


This course is designed to provide students with a basic understanding of the practical and theoretical aspects of site excavation and artefact processing. It will also introduce students to the cultural history of southern Ontario. It will include two weeks of excavation at a historic house in the Oshawa area followed by a fall term in the lab learning artefact laboratory techniques through the processing of the recovered artefacts. The program runs for two weeks the end of August followed by a fall laboratory course.

Students must complete both portions of the course to obtain a credit.

Project Goals:

The goals of the project are two-fold: first, to provide students with a local, affordable introduction to archaeological excavation and laboratory methods; and, second, to work with the Oshawa Historical Society to further their understanding of Oshawa’s History and help promote heritage awareness.

Excavation Location:

Students will participate in excavating the lands and gardens of one of three early to mid-19th century historic houses located in Oshawa’s Lakeview Park. These houses date to 1835, 1846, and 1849, and served as residences for the harbour masters. Although all three homes have been restored (one serves as the Oshawa Community Museum), they sit on their original foundations. Consequently, subsurface remains in the form of middens, wells, and/or privies are believed to remain nearby. These features contain valuable information about the types of food and material possessions that would have been used in this area during this time. This information is important for understanding the early history of Oshawa as it directly relates to the types of trade and wealth available to the community members. All recovered materials will be given to the Oshawa Historical Society for curation and display in the community museum.

Excavation Work:

During the field season students will be introduced to the basic concepts of archaeological excavation, recording, and mapping. In addition to documenting their excavations on site forms, students are also expected to keep a journal of their activities and observations that will become part of the Oshawa Historical Archives.

Laboratory Work:

Activities in the lab will include assisting with processing and identifying recovered artefacts. Students will be taught how to label and catalogue a wide variety of artefact types. Classes during the fall term may include guest lectures and movies.

Course Pre-Requisites or Co-Requisites:

ANTH-1000y, or ANTH-1010H and ANTH1020H,
ANTH-2120Y or equivalent

Application Procedures

1. Read the Risk Management Plan
2. Print and complete an application form
3. Print and complete the Registration Form
3. Send your application, registration form, waiver, and $100 course fee cheque (made payable to Trent University) to:

Professor Helen Haines
Trent University Durham Office,
55 Thornton Road South
Room 101, Oshawa, ON, L1J 5Y1

OSHAWA Field School (FA 2018) application deadline: TBA

Course enrollment is by permission of the instructor. Please remember to include your $100.00 (CND) Course Fee with your application. Cheques will only be cashed if the course runs, and will be destroyed if the course is cancelled.

For further information please contact:

Professor Helen R. Haines
Department of Anthropology
Trent University Durham Office,
55 Thornton Road South
Room 101, Oshawa, ON, L1J 5Y1
E-mail: helenhaines@trentu.ca
Telephone: (905) 435-5100 x5045