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Trent University Durham Digs Oshawa's Past

August 24, 2015

Students gain hands-on experience through archaeological dig in partnership with the Oshawa Community Museum

durham students participate in an archealogical dig

Students at Trent University Durham will put knowledge into action as they participate in an archaeological field-work dig at the Oshawa Community Museum from August 24 to September 3.

The field-work dig is the first component in the second year Anthropology course Ontario Historic Archaeology, offered at Trent University Durham. At the dig, students have the opportunity to learn excavation techniques, before following up with lab work and lectures in the classroom during the fall semester.

“The Ontario Historic Archaeology course benefits students in a myriad of ways,” says Dr. Helen Haines, professor of Anthropology at Trent University Durham. “Not only does it provide an economically feasible way for students to gain field experience, which is crucial for them to gain employment in the cultural resource management industry, but also allows them to explore their own history and contribute to their own community.”

As part of a continued partnership between Trent University Durham and the Oshawa Community Museum, the dig will aim to discover local hidden artifacts from the Oshawa area to add to the Museum’s collection and knowledge of local history.

“It is great to once again partner with Trent University Durham and Professor Haines,” said Laura Suchan, executive director of the Oshawa Community Museum and a Trent University alumna. “We believe strongly at the Museum that it is important to encourage the next generation of students in the cultural industry and we are excited to be able to provide an area that allows students to not only to gain hands-on experience, but also the opportunity to learn more about Oshawa’s unique history.”

The dig will take place at the historic Henry House, one of three houses sitting on original foundations along the lakeshore that were built between 1840 and 1856. Students enrolled in the course and participating in the dig will develop skills in surveying, identifying occupations such as wells, garbage dumps and middens.

Students will dig for two weeks and then spend the fall term working in the laboratory at the Trent University Durham campus, learning “post-dig” artifact processing and analysis. All artefacts recovered will be given to the Museum and lectures on accessioning and other museum functions will be provided by the Oshawa Community Museum curator. Using the Museum’s systems, students’ work will contribute to the Museum collection while generating more in-depth understanding of local history.

For more information contact:

Kate Weersink, media relations & strategic communications officer, Trent University, (705) 748-1011 x6180 or

Lisa Terech, Community Engagement, Oshawa Community Museum, 905-436-7624 x 106,

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