The Palisade

    Around 500 years ago, an agricultural village stood behind this reconstructed palisade and maze. We don’t know what name the villagers gave this place or how the people who lived here referred to themselves, but it was named the Lawson Site in the 1970s after the benefactors who donated the land to the museum: Col. Tom Lawson and his family. It is estimated, based on the number and size of over 30 longhouses that once stood here, that 1000-2000 villagers had lived on this plateau. After 25-30 years, when the local resources had been used up, the entire village would have been relocated. Excavations here help to reconstruct what life was once like in this village. You can tour the Lawson Site as part of your visit to the museum and see some of the recovered artifacts on display in the gallery.

    Start of Tour

    The Lawson Site was the first archaeological site in Ontario placed on the Canadian Register of Historic Places! This is one of the longest, continuously excavated archaeological sites in the country with formal excavations spanning from the 1920s to early 2000s. Over 30,000 artifacts have been uncovered here, many of which are cared for here at the Museum of Ontario Archaeology. Today, over three quarters of the site remains forested and largely un-excavated, with the current focus being on site rehabilitation and conservation.