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Celebrating Local Archaeological Heritage: Trent Alum Works with Community to Launch New Book

January 23, 2019

The Ancestors Speak launches at Trent University

Dirk Verhulst (left) celebrates the launch of The Ancestors Speak with Indigenous contributors and supporters
Dirk Verhulst (left) celebrates the launch of The Ancestors Speak with Indigenous contributors and supporters

On three different occasions during the last 60 years in the Peterborough community, the parking lot on Brock Street has generated attention from both the archaeological community and the public in general.

The first occurred in December 1960 when a 2,000 year old human skeleton was inadvertently uncovered by a city employee in the course of digging a hole for a parking meter. Thirty years later the site again attracted national attention when, in a precedent-setting decision, Peterborough City staff and representatives from the Curve Lake First Nation worked together to repatriate the remains and artifacts found in 1960. A third event took place in May of 2003 when new archaeological discoveries and surprises were revealed during a stabilization project on the parking lot.

The fascinating stories behind these three events have now been collected in the Peterborough Chapter of the Ontario Archaeological Society’s new book, The Ancestors Speak, launched at Trent University on January 22, 2019.

“This book is very much a community effort. It was co-published by the Peterborough Chapter of the Ontario Archaeological Society, Curve Lake Cultural Centre, Peterborough Museum and Archives, and Trent University Archaeological Centre (TUARC),” said Dirk Verhulst ‘76, co-editor of the book. “In particular we would like to recognize the following Trent staff members for their significant contributions: James Conolly and Kate Dougherty for contributing articles and advising the project; William Fox for sharing his previous experience with publishing archaeological reports; and Kerrilyn Sheward, from the Trent Print Shop for her work on the layout, design and printing. We couldn’t have done it without them.”

Books are available at TUARC, the Peterborough Museum and Archives, the Curve Lake Cultural Centre, the Peterborough Museum and Archives, the Trent Valley Archives and Chapters. Cost is $20.