Site Name: Parsons
Borden No.: AkGv-8
County: York
Township: North York
Culture: Late Iroquoian
Research Date: Oct. 1952; Oct. 1953; Oct.-Nov. 1972; May-Sept. 1973

The Parsons site was excavated by J.N. Emerson in the fall of 1952 and the fall of 1953. Many members of the newly formed Ontario Archaeological Society took part in these excavations, including Doug Bell, Ken Dawson, H.E. Devereux, Peter Pratt and J.V. Wright. Dr. Emerson conducted University of Toronto archaeological field schools again at the site in 1972 and 1973.

Since 1956, avocational archaeologist John Morrison has carried out extensive excavations on the site. He has recovered a large amount of artifacts and uncovered settlement patterns that he has interpreted as the remains of seven longhouses.

In 1982, M. Kapches analyzed the artifact collections and compiled the field notes and maps from the University of Toronto excavations and John Morrison's work at the site. The faunal material and plant remains were also analyzed at that time.

Archaeological Services Inc. did further excavations on the site in 1989 and 1990 when a proposed watermain route threatened part of the site. Their report on the excavations, as well as a summary of the earlier work at the site, has been published by the Ontario Archaeological Society as a special volume to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Society.

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 J.N. Emerson driving in a stake 1953

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The Humber Valley in Late Iroquoian Times


In their report of the 1989-90 excavations of the Parsons site, Archaeological Services Inc. conclude that the earliest of the sites in the Humber Valley area was Black Creek which may have been occupied in the early 15th century. The people of Black Creek may have then moved to the Downsview site and eventually to the Parsons site.

"Since Parsons is almost twice the size of the earlier villages, it is possible that the nearby Riseborough site on the Don River was one of the contributing villages. Parsons may, therefore, represent the amalgamation of people from two or more of these earlier communities and relate to the initial formation of a tribal system." (Williamson et al, 1998)