The Archaeology Team is directed by Professor Scott Hamilton of the Department of Anthropology at Lakehead University. Kevin Brownlee of the Manitoba Museum co-led the team from 2017-2020, and continues to work with the team. The team will conduct fieldwork at six sites identified by the community as the setting for each of the stories with a field crew of archaeologists, student researchers, and community members. The team will build upon existing collections and research in the central boreal forest of Canada. Community members will be the primary source of information on landscapes and site use. The Archaeology Team will record oral history on the sites and document the places using still photos and videos of sites and adjacent areas and aerial photography and videography using drones.

In addition, the team will conduct research in archival and museum collections to contextualize their fieldwork; the Manitoba Museum cares for over 500,000 artifacts from northern Manitoba archaeological sites recovered over the past 50 years. These collections have been the basis of numerous research projects; this project will apply new types of analysis including AMS dating, residue and sourcing analysis on these collections which will advance our knowledge of this area and enrich the books. The team will also acquire or create replicas and reproductions of artifacts (some through 3D printing) for use in exhibits and EduKits; and digitize the tools from the Nagami Bay Woman’s burial to support the development of the books, ancillary texts, and exhibits.

The results of their work will be available for use by all other project teams, including the picture-book illustrators, the digital text designers, and the curriculum development team.

  • Scott Hamilton

    Scott Hamilton

    Team Leader

    Scott Hamilton is a faculty member in the Department of Anthropology at Lakehead University. He specializes in the pre-contact archaeology and post-contact ethnohistory of northern Plains and Subarctic. His research also includes community-based heritage research with northern Ontario First Nations communities, and has recently expanded to address the utility of new technologies in archaeology.

  • Jill Taylor-Hollings

    Jill Taylor-Hollings

    Research Associate

    Currently, Jill is an adjunct professor and postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Anthropology at Lakehead University with the Six Seasons of the Asiniskaw Īthiniwak SSHRC partnership grant project. She works on building archaeological information for interpretive sidebars in the books, teachers’ guides, and apps. She is also researching some of the pottery from the Manitoba Museum that was found in Asiniskaw Īthiniwak traditional territory.

    Since moving to NW Ontario in 2001, Jill has been working for Lakehead University in different capacities including sessional lecturing and research assistantships while occasionally taking on cultural resource management projects. She is also President-Elect for the Ontario Archaeological Society and previously was on the executive of the Thunder Bay Chapter since 2007.

    Jill is passionate about studying, protecting, and promoting Canada’s heritage. Her PhD (University of Alberta, 2017) focused on archaeological research with Lac Seul, Little Grand Rapids, and Pikangikum Anishinaabe communities and Ontario Parks personnel along the Miskweyaabiziibee (Bloodvein River) in Woodland Caribou Provincial Park, which is now part of the Pimachiowin Aki UNESCO World Heritage site. She also completed a Masters of Arts at the University of Saskatchewan and Bachelor of Arts Honours at Brandon University in archaeology. Her research interests include precontact pottery, Indigenous archaeology, and lithic raw material studies. Jill also enjoys replicating traditional technology such as pottery, other containers, textiles, beading, and leatherwork. She has over 25 years of academic, CRM, and museum experience in four Canadian provinces and Tasmania.

    When not working, Jill enjoys raising champion Standard Long-haired Dachshunds and drivable artifacts - owning a rare 1969 Acadian 350 SS car. She is married to Peter Hollings, who is a geology professor at Lakehead University. Jill has a mixed Euro-Canadian and Indigenous background, originally hailing from southern Manitoba.

  • Kevin Brownlee

    Kevin Brownlee

    Team Leader

    Kevin Brownlee is a member of Norway House Cree Nation and the Curator of Archaeology at the Manitoba Museum. He was a co-leader of the Archaeology Team from 2017-2020. He was the lead author on the volume documenting the archaeological and anthropological record of the Nagami Bay Woman (Kayasochi Kikawenow: Our Mother From Long Ago). Kevin’s interest in pursuing a career in archaeology was based on his deep interest in understanding his Cree heritage. The ingenuity of his ancestors helps motivate him in his work, and he uses archaeology to inspire youth to be proud of their ancient past. Kevin will be the co-leader of the Archaeology team and will guide the fieldwork, the analysis of found objects, and the research into material culture. He will work with the Anthropology Department at Lakehead University and assist them in training graduate students working on the project. Analysis conducted by the archaeology team will be woven into the narratives and into the supplementary notes in the picture books, teachers’ guides, and digital texts. Kevin will oversee the development of the exhibits to be mounted by the Manitoba Museum. Brownlee has collaborated on the Pīsim and Six Seasons research projects with Reimer and others since 2008 and on the Kayasochi project and many others with Dumas since 1993.

  • Clarence Surette

    Clarence Surette


    Clarence Surette is an archaeology technician and curator in the Department of Anthropology at Lakehead University. He is also the current president of the Thunder Bay Chapter of the Ontario Archaeological Society. Clarences lives with his wife Jen and two children in Thunder Bay.

    After moving from New Brunswick to Thunder Bay in 2001, Clarence earned an HBA in Anthropology and a MSc in Geology from Lakehead University. Over the last 20 years, Clarence has worked on various archaeological projects both in the field and lab. Most notably, he has worked extensively with Dr. Matthew Boyd, in the same department, investigating the ancient usage of maize, wild rice and other foods in NW Ontario and the prairie provinces. Besides archaeobotany, Clarence has developed research interests in geoarchaeology, zooarchaeology, experimental and digital archaeology. His role in the Six Seasons Project has been to digitize pottery and other artifacts from Northern Manitoba (on loan from the Manitoba Museum) by creating 3D models for research and teaching purposes. While working with other archaeology team members at Lakehead University, he has been mentoring students and training some on how to complete carbonized residue analysis. This method is used to try and determine what people were cooking or storing in pots.

  • Laura Gosse

    Laura Gosse


    Laura Gosse is from Red Deer, Alberta. She has a BA in Psychology and a BSc in Archaeology & Geography. She will be pursuing a Master of Environmental Studies at Lakehead University in Thunder Bay in the Fall of 2019. Her focus is looking at community-based archaeology and how it can engage multiple communities that can create lasting positive impacts in the revitalization of the traditional Indigenous culture of the Asiniskow Ithiniwak. She will be helping to develop archaeology-based activities for teachers to utilize in the classroom.

  • Jim Jones, Jr.

    Jim Jones, Jr.


    To come.

  • Chris McEvoy

    Chris McEvoy

    Research Associate

    Christopher McEvoy is an archaeologist, researcher, and professional photographer from Thunder Bay, Ontario. With his first archaeological dig dating to 2009, Chris completed a HBA in Anthropology (2014) with a research focus on the study of gunpowder residues on artifacts recovered from northwestern Ontario. In 2018, Chris graduated from Lakehead’s MES program where he examined the capabilities of consumer-grade sonar for documenting inundated archaeological sites.

    As part of the Six Seasons project, Chris has been working with Dr. Scott Hamilton, Professor of Anthropology at Lakehead University, and Kevin Brownlee, Curator of Archaeology at The Manitoba Museum. He is tasked with helping create 3D models of artifacts, as well as performing residue analysis on artifacts associated with the Six Seasons project.

    In his spare time, Chris enjoys scuba diving, photographing wild places, and kayaking.

  • Val McKinley

    Val McKinley


    To come.

  • Tomasin Playford

    Tomasin Playford


    Tomasin Playford had always been interested in archaeology as a child, but didn’t realize that it could be her career until she attended Brandon University (BU) and enrolled in anthropology and archaeology courses. After her first year of field work, she was hooked and completed a Four Year Specialist Degree from BU. She continued her education at the University of Saskatchewan where the focus of her Master’s degree was a comparison of Vickers Focus and Blackduck subsistence strategies. She then spent a few years teaching sessional courses at Brandon University before completing her doctoral studies in the Natural Resources Institute at the University of Manitoba. Her dissertation was an extension of her MA thesis in which subsistence strategies of various archaeological groups are compared using quantitative methods. As part of this study, she also developed a growth and development sequence for foetal bison which can be used to estimate site seasonality. She has worked mostly in southwestern Manitoba as a field crew worker, site supervisor or field school assistant for Drs. Bev Nicholson or Scott Hamilton. She spent one summer as the SaskPower summer assistant and was able to see most of Saskatchewan. She was also blessed with the opportunity to work in Northern Manitoba and is always excited about undertaking field work. When she was an undergraduate student, she was actively involved in the Archaeological Society of Southwestern Manitoba and served as President of the Manitoba Archaeological Society. In 2013, Tomasin accepted the role as the Executive Director of the Saskatchewan Archaeological Society (SAS). The SAS delivers over 30 programs and services each year to connect people to Saskatchewan's past.

  • E. Leigh Syms

    E. Leigh Syms


    Leigh Syms is the retired, but very active, Curator Emeritus of Archaeology at the Manitoba Museum, an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Manitoba, and a long-standing advocate and promoter of the importance of the ancient heritage/history of First Nations. In addition to writing numerous and technical articles, he has devoted much of his life to presenting knowledge on the richness of First Nations heritage through public presentations at various events; to schools, various conferences and to numerous groups in his Archaeology Lab at the Museum. He has held major workshops in First Nations communities such as Nisichawayasik First Nation and has run lab programs such as the Young Archaeologists Club.

    In recent years he has focused on producing highly readable and beautifully illustrated books on First Nations ancient heritage for the public These include: Kayasochi Kikawenow: Our Mother from Long Ago(with Kevin Brownlee) (1999); Inninew (Cree) Material Culture and Heritage at Sipiwesk Lake: Results of the 2003 Archaeological Survey(with Teija Dedi and Wendy Hart-Ross) (2013); and Stories of the Old Ones from the Lee River, Southeastern Manitoba: The Owl Inini, Carver Inini, and the Dance Ikwe) (2014). This latter book was awarded the Canadian Archaeological Association award for an outstanding contribution to Public Communication. He received the Order of Canada in 2015 for his commitment and contributions to returning heritage knowledge to First Nations and developing the appreciation for it.

    In 2014-2018 he coordinated and provided extensive information for the TV documentary, Mysteries Beneath: The Story of First Nations Farmersproduced by the First Nations film producer Coleen Rajotte and premiered at the Winnipeg Aboriginal Film Festival in November 25, 2017. This is a film on the important Lockport Site which has produced outstanding evidence on First Nation cultivation. Syms established a research strategy for the documentary that includes a variety of new scientific techniques to discover new insights into traditional plant use, the results of which will require researchers to develop new approaches to recovering and interpreting resource utilization.

  • Zeb Kawei

    Zeb Kawei


    Zebedee Kawei is an archaeologist out of Lakehead University. He was recently accepted into the Masters of Environmental Sciences program at Lakehead University. The overall aim of his thesis is to reconstruct the paleo-environment of his study area in virtual reality (VR).

    For the Six Seasons project, he is working closely with Dr. Scott Hamilton, Professor of Anthropology at Lakehead University, and Kevin Brownlee, Curator of Archaeology at The Manitoba Museum. Zebedee is tasked with creating photorealistic 3D renders of artifacts. Development of these models will contribute to creation of landscape renderings to aid the objectives of the Six Seasons project.

    In his spare time, Zeb does photography and plays billiards.

  • Gavin Shields

    Gavin Shields


    I am born of Irish, Slovenian and German descent and grew up in the suburbs of Kitchener, Ontario near the Grand River. I was home schooled along with my siblings by our father until attending public high school as a teenager. When my family moved to Thunder Bay, I started Confederation College’s Film Production program then transferred to Lakehead University where I completed a double major in Indigenous Learning and Philosophy with an English minor. I have worked as a research assistant on four Indigenous community based research projects and was a member of Lakehead’s varsity cross country running and ski teams throughout my undergrad.

  • Britney Weber

    Britney Weber


    Fascinated with anthropology and archaeology from a young age, I took as many courses as possible in high school that related to those fields, which then lead to my degree in university. I recently graduated from Brandon University with a degree in Anthropology. In my honors thesis I analyzed lithic materials that were surface collected in the Winnipegosis region of Manitoba. I feel fortunate to have done my archaeological field school at Camp Hughes, a National Historic Site, in regards to Canada’s involvement in WWI and trench warfare. I was able to gain a great deal of experience in lithic identification through a course called Rural Museum Archaeological Outreach. This course had several students, including myself, analyze the precontact indigenous artifacts of three museums in southwestern Manitoba. My interests are in archaeology, lithic analysis, bioarchaeology, linguistics/languages, plains pottery, and museum studies. I am excited to be part of this amazing project and look forward to the outcomes!