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Archaeology Alive! The Jean-Baptiste Lainé Site in Whitchurch Stouffville

Who Are the Huron-Wendat?

Traditionally, the Huron-Wendat were a great Iroquoian civilization of farmers and fishermen-hunter-gatherers and also the masters of trade and diplomacy. The Huron-Wendat people frequented

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What is Archaeology?

Archaeology is the study of historical human activity through physical remains. Archaeologists identify sites that were previously camps, villages, monuments, or just a concentration of

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The Archaeology Alive exhibit at the Whitchurch-Stouffville Museum & Community Centre is showcasing 100 items excavated from the Jean-Baptiste Lainé Site on loan from the Canadian Museum of History. The exhibit also showcases 12 items from the Huron-Wendat Museum. The items selected from the Huron-Wendat Museum were chosen to illustrate the vibrant culture of the Huron-Wendat people over the past two centuries.

Upon excavation of the Jean-Baptiste Lainé Site, 150,000 artifacts, 60,000 individual palisade and house posts, and over 1,500 features were recorded.

This large collection of items is now housed permanently at the Canadian Museum of History in Gatineau, Quebec.

Here are some examples from the collection:

Huron-Wendat Museum Collection

Moose hair embroidery work on birch bark, 19th century
(Huron-Wendat Museum: 2007.003.009)

Rattle made of wood and coconut, 19th century
(Huron-Wendat Museum: 1977.199)

Male headdress with moose hair embroidery, late 19th century
(Huron-Wendat Museum: 1977.031)

Beaded necklace with silver pendant, 1980s (Huron-Wendat Museum: 2007.003.003)

Beaded necklace with silver pendant, 1980s
(Huron-Wendat Museum: 2007.003.003)

Canadian Museum of History Collection

Bone awl (Canadian Museum of History, F9)

An awl is a pointed tool (made from animal bone) used primarily for piercing holes in a hide. Awls could also be used to create decorative elements in ceramic pieces.

Vessel, Huron Incised (Canadian Museum of History, AlGt-334:12326)

Vessels were made for a variety of uses – including cooking, storage, and water containers. Of the ceramic pieces found at the Site, just under 2,000 were classified – either individually or together - as “identified separate vessels.” Others were fragments from the neck, shoulder or body of vessels. Many were too small to be analyzed.

Over 55% of the vessels found at the Site were classified as Huron Incised. The most common motif is a single band of oblique or vertical lines that may or not may be broken along with undecorated necks.

Red pigment was found on over 100 ceramic fragments from the Jean-Baptiste Lainé Site. The red colour is thought to have come from ochre which is ground from hematite, making it an orange, red, or brown colour.

Effigy with dotting that resembles tattoos (Canadian Museum of History, A1GT-334: 12350)

An Effigy is defined as a sculpture or model made to represent humans (anthropomorphic) or animals (zoomorphic). At the Jean-Baptiste Lainé site, 15 three-dimensional face effigies were located, alongside approximately 21 other effigies that are connected, or were thought to have been connected, to pipe stems, bowls, or mouthpieces. The pipe effigies account for about 13% of the total number of pipes.

Antler pendant/comb (Canadian Museum of History, F724)

The three-pronged bone pendant/comb is a rare find. It is the only artifact found on the Site made of antler.

Longhouse as designed for 3D Experience

Faculty, students and specialists from multiple departments within Ryerson University, Sheridan College, George Brown College and Western University as well as industry partners, were engaged to develop this multi-sensory experience.

Disciplines such as 3D Animation and Gaming, Architecture, Sound Design, UX/UI Design, Anthropology and Archaeology were combined to create this 3D Experience.  

When visiting the Museum visitors are able to participate through the use of Xbox controllers.  

3D Experience, Archaeology Alive Exhibit at the Whitchurch-Stouffville Museum

For the purpose of this virtual exhibit, you can view a recorded ‘walk-through’ of the 3D Experience (speakers on if possible).

Overlay of longhouses on current development, Town of WS

Take a walk to the site itself and read the historic plaques that were commissioned by the Ontario Heritage Trust! The trail can be accessed by Jonas Millway, Lost Pond Crescent, James Ratcliff Avenue, or by walking in from Wendat Village Public School. If you’re lucky, you may even spot a beaver at the pond!

Grand Chief Konrad Sioui with members of the Mantle Family during the plaque unveiling, August 2017.

The plaques are written in Wendat, English, and French. 


Chi onhwa’ti’ kha’ honnonhwa’ hatindarehk de wendat. Kha’ yändataentahk de wendat iyändatou’tennen’. Okendia’tih hontriohskwa’ ati’ hotindatändeyenhchon’. Yändatowänenhkeh ahsenh ha’tewen’ndia’weh tsoutare’ iskwen’ndia’wehchare’ ihatia’tayënen’. Wihch iyänonhskënen’ ithohchien’ ondatehk chia’teyändataen’. Ithondi’ aten’enhratehk, yända’yenhchatehk, öni’onhkaratehk. Hontenhndinonhchaienhwinen’. Hotirihowänennen’. Atenhndinonhcha’ hoti’ndiyonhrontahkwinen’ ithohchien’ hatia’tontahkwinen’. Ondaie’ orihwatoyen’ndih wa’de’ kha’ onde’chonh ayaoren’ndih de yahnenchtra’ de chi aontaratih etiayohaonnen’. De awehskwahk honwennendaratindihonh de wendat atho’yeh wa’de’ hontaken’. Yändata’yehen’ de ayaoren’ndih yayennha’yeh 2002. Kha’ ayönda’watih ne ontaonkontahk yayennha’yeh 2003 chia’ a’erihwihchi’en’ yayennha’yeh 2005. Okontahkwih Mantle yäatsinen’ de stan’ ne ondae’ te’tseas. Ehchiendohareh Jean-Baptiste Lainé. Ondaie’ ahonwahchiendaentahkwa’ wa’de’ chiwatrioh tëndih aton’tha’ hohki’wannen’ ithohchien’ hate’iathahk. De’kha’ yändata’yehen’ erihwändoronkhwa’. Ondaie’ ne onywarihwatehtändihk, onywarihwaienständihk de wendat iyarihou’tenh.


In the 16th century, prior to the arrival of Europeans, a village was founded on this site by the Huron-Wendat, a Nation of agriculturalists and fisher-hunter-gatherers. In response to increased conflict in the region, many smaller villages merged to form a three-hectare settlement of 1,700 people, with more than 50 longhouses arranged around a central plaza, surrounded by a palisade, a ditch and an embankment as protection. The economic and political functions of the Huron-Wendat Nation were highly sophisticated, integrated and coordinated. Artifacts from the site, which include a fragment of a Basque iron tool, demonstrate that the Huron-Wendat formed alliances and traded goods with other First Nations in complex networks that extended across the continent. The community later moved north to join the Huron-Wendat Confederacy in the lands south of Georgian Bay. The village was identified by archaeologists in 2002 and excavated between 2003 and 2005. Known initially as the Mantle Site, it was renamed the Jean-Baptiste Lainé Site in honour of a decorated Second World War Huron-Wendat veteran. The site is significant to our understanding of Huron-Wendat socio-economic and political history.


Au XVIe siècle, avant l’arrivée des Européens, un village a été fondé sur ce site par les Hurons-Wendat, une Nation d’agriculteurs-cueilleurs, chasseurs et pêcheurs. Réagissant à l’accroissement des conflits dans la région, de nombreux petits villages ont fusionné pour former un peuplement de trois hectares de superficie, où vivaient 1 700 personnes dans plus d’une cinquantaine de maisons longues disposées autour d’une place centrale et entourées d’une palissade, d’un fossé et d’un remblai en guise de protection. Les fonctions économiques et politiques de la Nation huronne-wendat étaient hautement évoluées, intégrées et coordonnées. Les artefacts trouvés sur le site, dont un fragment d’un outil en fer basque, montrent que les Hurons-Wendat formaient des alliances et troquaient des marchandises avec d’autres Premières Nations dans des réseaux complexes qui s’étendaient sur tout le continent. Cette communauté s’est ensuite déplacée vers le nord pour se joindre à la Confédération des Hurons-Wendats dans les terres au sud de la baie Georgienne. Le village a été repéré par des archéologues en 2002 et les fouilles ont eu lieu entre 2003 et 2005. D’abord connu comme le site Mantle, il a été renommé « Site Jean-Baptiste Lainé » en l’honneur d’un Huron-Wendat vétéran décoré de la Deuxième Guerre mondiale. Il s’agit d’un site important pour notre compréhension de l’histoire politique et socio-économique des Hurons-Wendat.

TO Learn More

Archaeology Alive: Technology & Collaboration

The following presentation was prepared for the Canadian Museums Association National Conference: Moving Forward and was live on May 11, 2021.

Learn about the collaborative process behind the creation of the award-winning exhibit, Archaeology Alive: The Jean-Baptiste Lainé Site in Whitchurch-Stouffville, winner of the 2020 Ontario Museum Association Award of Excellence in Exhibitions.  Join us as we discuss the collaborative process illustrating partnerships within and beyond the museum sector that led to the creation of this important exhibit which includes artifacts on loan from the Canadian Museum of History and the Huron-Wendat Museum, a Virtual 3D longhouse experience, and oral histories from Huron-Wendat Nation members; learn about the impact this project has had on the community and beyond.

Speakers of our presentation.

Krista Rauchenstein
Curator & Supervisor, Whitchurch-Stouffville Museum & Community Centre

Krista holds a B.A. in History (minor in Sociology) from the University of Waterloo, a B.Ed. from York University, and an M.A. in Public History from the University of Waterloo. She has also earned the Certificate in Museum Studies from the Ontario Museum Association. With over 15 years in the museum field, Krista has worked at a number of institutions in both educational & curatorial roles. Krista is the Curator & Supervisor at the Whitchurch-Stouffville Museum & Community Centre. She is pleased to be presenting at the Canadian Museum Association’s National Conference.

William Michael Carter
Director of Industry, Office of the Dean, Faculty of Communication and Design, Ryerson University

Michael is a scholar in the field of Digital Media, with an extensive twenty-four-year professional career in the 3D and 2D computer animation and visual effects (VFX) industries, in both the software and production environments. He is a 2015 Team Award recipient for the Ryerson University President’s Blue and Gold Award of Excellence, in the design, development, and implementation of the Master of Digital Media program. He is currently the Lead Project Manager of the Faculty of Communication and Design Cairo Campus, Egypt. His research focuses on Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Culture, both from the perspective of the enculturation of data and in the formation of pre-cultural markers within AI itself. The use of Virtual Archaeology to enhance Art and Archaeological research, as well as the deployment of robotic systems within hazardous archaeological sites. Additional research is in the DNA of 3D points within virtual objects and the representation of providence and provenance data as an actor-network.

Ron Williamson
Founder, Archaeological Services Inc.

Ronald F. Williamson is founder of Archaeological Services Inc. and holds an MA and PhD from McGill University in Anthropology. He is also Chair, Board of Directors at the Museum of Ontario Archaeology at Western University. He has published extensively on both Indigenous and early colonial Great Lakes history.

2021 Virtual National Indigenous Peoples day

National Indigenous Peoples Day is a national celebration of the heritage, diverse cultures and outstanding achievements of First Nations, Inuit and Métis throughout Canada. Huronia Historical Parks is proud to be a part of highlighting these achievements through our educational-focused celebration each year. For generations, many Indigenous peoples and communities have celebrated their culture and heritage on or near this day due to the significance of the summer solstice as the longest day of the year. It has been a nationally recognized day since 1996.

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Visit the Museum

Whitchurch-Stouffville Museum & Community Centre
14732 Woodbine Avenue
Stouffville, ON, L4A 2K9
T. 905-727-8954