Ontario has only been occupied since circa 11000 years ago when glaciers started to retreat northwards, leaving immense amounts of water in an area greatly expanded outwards from the modern great lakes. The first settlers followed these melting glaciers as game and vegetation began to take hold of the lanscape after centuries of ice cover. This occupation leaves only scarce traces across the province, which seems to diminish the further to the north one looks. This chronology is generally meant for Southern Ontario. For all tool types of Southern Ontario, associated with the cultures below, please click here to visit the London Chapter of the OAS's webpage.
The Preceramic Cultures of Ontario
The Paleo-Indians 9000-7500 B.C. These were the first known occupants of Ontario. These cultures were scattered bands of nomadic hunters, fishers and foragers. They roamed the various landscapes of Ontario in search of food and stone to make tools to hunt, to work wood for spears and to process foods. This people were dispersed widely across the province, and doubtless there were different system of belief found in different locations. Their presence is revealed usually by the distinctive fluted points, one of which is the logo of our company. True archaeological features are uncommon, but they do exist. There are seven known projectile points known from this period.
The Archaic Period 7500-1000 B.C.
This is the longest period of Ontario's prehistoric record and is broken down into 3 phases (early, middle and late). While these were also hunter/gatherers, populations rose markedly, and Archaic sites are widespread across the province. While the stone tools are similar in function to PaleoIndian tools, a trend toward making smaller tools was definite in the Archaic Period. The leaf shaped fluted points of Paleo-Indians gave way to smaller, more variable points that are often barbed or tanged, sometimes both. There are eight known projectile points from the Archaic.
The Ceramic Cultures: 1000 BC to 1650 AD
The Woodland Period is again divided into early middle and late. With the rise of farming, especially in southwest Ontario, there are hundreds of sites known, often large in dimensions and populations. In the north, probably a more traditional lifestyle of hunting and gathering remained in place with factors such as trade and increased stress on native resources, warfare sometimes occurring. There is more supporting evidence for cultural variations and specific cultural groups found.This period ends with the arrival in North America of the Europeans. The Woodland Cultural Period has the greatest divesity in known lithics, with 11 known types. The ceramics range in quality across the province, with some excellent designs known.