Grandview Site

The Grandview archaeological site located south of Taunton Road and west of Grandview Street North, was discovered in 1992 while the area was being prepared for the development of a new subdivision.  Archaeological Services Inc. was contacted and a salvage excavation project was begun to unearth as much information as possible about the site and the people who lived there.

The remains of a village of approximately 0.78 hectares were unearthed.   The village consisted of 12 longhouses, 3 garbage pits (middens) and 11 other outdoor activity areas.  It is estimated that the site was inhabited during the early part of the Late Iroquoian Period from about AD 1400 to 1450.

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The people who lived at the site, ancestral Wendat, were agriculturists who grew maize, beans, sunflowers and tobacco in fields near the village.  However, they did not rely totally on what they grew. Their diet was also supplemented by the wild roots and plants that they gathered.  Along with plant remains, archaeological evidence also points to these people relying heavily on deer meat and fish to provide them with the necessary protein.

Of particular interest is the evidence that points to a direct relationship between the people who lived at the Grandview site and those who lived at the MacLeod site, located at the intersection of Rossland Road and Thornton Road in Oshawa.  In fact, it is believed that the Grandview villagers re-established themselves at the MacLeod site after abandoning the first site.  This belief is based on a very unusual treatment for ceramic found at both sites.  Pottery sherds recovered from both the Grandview and MacLeod sites have slipped exteriors.  This refers to a thin coating of a mixture of clay and pigment that was applied to the pottery like a glaze.  This glazing not only acted as a decorative treatment but also decreased the porous nature of the clay making it a more effective pot.  These “painted” ceramics have rarely been discovered at other Iroquois sites throughout Ontario from this time period and are believed to represent something unique to the Oshawa area.

Another interesting artifact uncovered during the excavation is a complete miniature pipe.  These pipes are frequently found at Iroquois sites and have been interpreted as personal charms or tokens that may have been exchanged during ritual events.  Of interest is the fact that the pipe uncovered at the Grandview site is non-functional, whereas the majority of other examples of miniature pipes are functional.  While this may be considered unusual, it does not mean that this pipe did not function as a charm or token.

In total, the excavation led to the recovery of almost 11,000 artifacts and has added to our knowledge of Late Iroquoian settlement patterns along the northern shore of Lake Ontario.

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