The McCollum Collection, Nipigon Historical Museum
|The stone tools (lithics) that make it unique being in conjunction with the copper.|
An overlap of cultures?
On one of my trips to the R.O.M. (Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto , Ontario) I asked an archaeologist why they were running around in Central America and ignoring our Northern Ontario pre-historic past?
Their answer: Too many trees and too many blackflies.
I couldn't argue with that.
What gets their ball rolling? We northerners have had to start finding things ourselves, and that we've done in Spades, Bulldozers, Beachcombing, Fishing and even Gardening.
The Reflection Lake artifacts were uncovered on private land by a bulldozer. Over the years the owner has allowed Lakehead University archaeology people to conduct further searches on his land, no more artifacts have been unearthed. So, once again, the Nipigon area has been the site of a unique find.
And what a find it is. Archaeologist J.V. Wright estimates these relics to be between 4000 and 5000 years old, belonging to the Archaic Complex which is centred in eastern Wisconsin. The Old Copper Culture People were a nomadic people. The Site fits into the Late Shield Archaic grave offerings as they practiced an elaborate burial custom.
I'll take the following description from J.V. Wright's book: "Ontario Prehistory," an eleven-thousand-year archaeological outline, National Museums of Canada, Ottawa, 1972. page 20:
"Only the native copper and stone objects have survived the passage of time and the acid soils. Copper objects are represented by the following: socketed dart and lance heads, socketed knives, awls, chisels, punches, bossed bracelets, disc pendants, hammered nodules representing the beginning stage of manufacture into implements, and objects whose functions are unknown. Stone implements include dart heads, knives,and a wide variety of scrapers. Some manufactured from a distinctive flint found in North Dakota. Red Ochre in powdered form also occurred in the grave."
Replicas of most of these artifacts can be seen at the Nipigon Historical Museum. (Replicas from Ottawa, courtesy NMC)