Ancient Canadian City Found
The largest, most complex, cosmopolitan village of its time. Scientists estimate that up to 1,800 individuals lived there - an area the size of Manhattan.
Ancient Canadian City Found
500 years ago, when Europeans were just starting to visit the New World, new research reveals that a Canadian, Lake Ontario north shore settlement was the most complex, cosmopolitan settlement in northern America
This so-called Mantle site was settled by the Wendat - Huron indians - around A.D. 1500 and between 2003 and 2005, excavations uncovered 98 longhouses, three rows of defensive fences constructed from heavy wooden stakes and some 200,000 artifacts, from artistic depictions of animals, to haunting human faces.
Ron Williamson - founder of Archaeological Services Inc., a Canadian cultural resource management firm - was the archaeologist who led the team that excavated the site - the largest, most complex, cosmopolitan village of its time. Scientists estimate that up to 1,800 individuals lived there - an area the size of Manhattan.
Clothing themselves would have required these people needing at least 7,000 deer hides a year, for which they would have need a 40km diameter hunting radius from the site, which was more like a medieval town than an average Indian village. Oddly, the huge site remained hidden for centuries.
The Mantle site was surprising in that it was apparently very cosmopolitan nature, as evidenced by the pottery and artwork discovered there, which would imply that all Iroquois Indian five nations extensively traded and made contact. Also found there were earliest European goods ever found in North America, a century older than first known European explorers are thought to have arrived there.
A wrought iron object carried a Spanish maker's mark, probably left with St Lawrence
Iroquois by early 16th century Basque fisherman and eventually traded up to the Mantle site. It is known that the Huron Indians and the Iroquois were mortal enemies and that evidence of widespread warfare - the dark times - in this region is many-fold, scalping and torture regular practice.
The Mantle site was built with protection against attack in mind, with its large size and palisade defence, allowing for more trade and cultural interaction between rival nations, though this peace did not last, with warfare intensifying in the 17th century because of Europeans and the fur trade.
Only a small portion of the Mantle site remains intact these days, as a housing estate was built over most of it after the dig was complete, no planning legislation in place at that time to preserve the site, though at least all of the archaeological and photographic evidence gives us a clear picture of what life was like back then.