The Curse of the Axe


Archaeologists were stunned and thrilled by the size and complexity of a Huron village excavated in Whitchurch-Stouffville north of Toronto. But they were puzzled by a little piece of Europe the Hurons carefully preserved... a piece that arrived long before the Hurons made first contact with the Europeans. But how? That mystery was solved after months of forensic sleuthing.

Part Two of The Current

The Curse of the Axe

The discovery of a large First Nations village just North of Toronto may be one of the most extraordinary archeological finds in North America... one that could fundamentally change the way we understand life on this continent before contact with the Europeans.

The archaeologists have called it Mantle. It's the largest and most complex Huron settlement ever found. The village's mere existence is extraordinary; its inhabitants cultivated about 80 square kilometers of cornfields. That's larger than present-day Toronto.

More than that remarkable find, there's something else: a piece of forged metal that really shouldn't be there. The story is told in a documentary airing on the History Channel tonight called the Curse of the Axe, produced by Yap Films.

Ron Williamson was the lead archaeologist on the dig and is professor of Anthropology at the University of Toronto. He joined us in our Toronto studio.

We also heard from another guest. Luc Lainé is a member of the Huron-Wendat First Nation and works as a liaison between archaeologists, the Ontario government and his First Nation which is now based in Wendake near Quebec City.

This segment was produced by The Current's Kathleen Goldhar.

Other segments from today's show:

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