Neal Ferris
Department of Anthropology

The University of
Western Ontario

Cherry Lane Excavations

Excavations at Cherry Lane, Ontario
Neal Ferris  
  UWO Museum
Office: SSC 3421  

(519) 661-2111
Ext. 85059

(519) 473-1360
Fax: (519) 661-2157 (519) 473-1363
Address: Department of Anthropology
University of Western Ontario
London, ON
N6A 5C2
Museum of Ontario Archaeology
1600 Attawandaron Rd
London, On
N6G 3M6



Research Interests
I am an archaeologist interested in the ways in which we can interpret archaeological findings to access the long term histories of individuals’ and communities’ lived experiences, structures of social organisation, sense of territoriality and place, interaction, agency and internal and external notions of identity, as well as the always ongoing revision and reinforcement of these. I explore these social processes at play within and between generations primarily through the analysis of settlement-subsistence patterns and the range of material agency practices reflected in the assemblages from and between sites, and, when possible, from the archaeologically-meaningful data that can be “excavated” from archival research.

My area of research focus has been the Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal archaeology of Northeastern North America, particularly the Aboriginal communities of the Late and Terminal Woodland Traditions of the Great Lakes; and within and between communities of European colonizers and Aboriginal Nations, including  17th-19th century Anishnabeg, Iroquois and Delaware, 19th century Irish and Afro-Canadian immigrants, and rural settlers.

Prior to arriving at Western, I worked for 20 years as an Ontario archaeologist for the provincial Ministry of Culture. There I developed additional research interests which generally fall under the heading “archaeology as contemporary social practice.” This work includes examining the intersection of archaeology and Aboriginal treaty and resource claims, and the tension between Aboriginal and archaeologist rights and interests; issues in the contemporary practice of applied or CRM archaeology, including the ethics and professionalization of the archaeo­logical community; the relationship of CRM and the State; and the integration of, in particular, interpretive archaeological theory into the unreflexive practices of CRM. I am most interested in theorising applied archaeological practice as the locus of competing claims to the past and contested discourses over “heritage.” My aim in this work is to learn from the applied setting in order to advance archaeological practice more generally away from the exclusive, privileged domain of archaeologists, and towards a pluralist, inclusive practice that accommodates alternative archaeologies and alternative standpoints, so as to meet the many needs “archaeological heritage” services in society today.

Lawson Chair of Canadian Archaeology
I am fortunate to be cross-appointed with the Museum of Ontario Archaeology here in London, so am committed to working not only in the field but with the extensive archaeological collections housed at the Museum, along with the extensive archaeological collections generated by the active CRM community in London and southern Ontario. I also interpret the role of the Lawson Chair of Canadian Archaeology to mean that I can maintain an active interest in and support of research into the theoretical and topical areas outlined above as they apply more broadly across Canada and beyond.

If you are interested in pursuing graduate level research on any of these broadly defined themes, please feel free to contact me to discuss your interests and how I may be able to help you. As well, anyone interested in my own work, or having questions generally about archaeology and the archaeological past, is welcome to contact me.

Academic Background
Hons. B.A. (Anthropology, McMaster University 1982); M.A. (Geography, York University, 1990); PhD (Anthropology, McMaster University 2006); Provincial Archaeologist, Southwestern Ontario Region (Ontario Ministry of Culture, 1987-2007); Associate Professor, Lawson Chair of Canadian Archaeology (Anthropology, University of Western Ontario & Museum of Ontario Archaeology, 2007-present).