Exotic Artifacts in the Ottawa Valley

Jean-Luc Pilon

The late Clyde C. Kennedy was an avid student of history and pursued his interest with much rigour and hard work. He left behind an impressive record of his research in the Ottawa Valley which brought to light spectacular collections which continue to inspire the greatest admiration for those who preceded us in the Ottawa Valley.

Among the many archaeological sites which he investigated, none are so broadly known and studied as those found near Pembroke, Ontario on Morrison's Island and Allumette Island. Not only did Clyde himself publish preliminary observations on these complex and intriguing sites, but others have since followed him in analyzing various aspects of the evidence he originally brought to light in the early 1960s.

Below are a very few of the more spectacular of his finds from three sites, Morrison's Island-2 (BkGg-10), Morrison's Island-6 (BkGg-12)and Allumette Island-1 (BkGg-11). All of these items have since been reburied along with the human remains with which they were associated.

In the case of Morrison's Island-2, the burial component of the site has good radiocarbon dates on the order of 2000 years ago. The large bifaces are all made of exotic cherts which were traded into the region from the American Midwest. The copper beads are almost certainly from the western Lake Superior basin and the small fragment of basketry reflects local traditions.

The main occupations of Morrison's Island-6 and Allumette Island-1 are separated by about five centuries with the younger Morrison's Island-6 site occupation dating to about 5500 years ago. Both sites contained very significant quantities of artifacts manufactured from native copper being traded into the region from sources in the western Lake Superior basin. These few pieces are but a small sample of the varied collection of copper implements found on these fascinating Ottawa Valley sites.

Allumette Island-1 (BkGg-11)

Morrison's Island-6 (BkGg-12)

Morrison's Island-2 (BkGg-10)