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Theoretical and geographical focus

The most regrettable omission, from the perspective of the non-specialist, is the lack of an introductory chapter giving the bare-bones outline of the prehistory of southern Ontario. At the very least, the introductory chapter ought to have a table showing the names and approximate durations of the stages, phases and/or traditions discussed in the following chapters.

Wright's dissertation (1966) lay the groundwork for the culture-history modal used in the Green Bible, and he has not changed his theoretical stance greatly since that time (cf. Wright, 1995, 1999). He is particularly protective (including in this volume) of his so-called 'Conquest Hypothesis', a concept which has been dismissed by younger scholars whose voices are unfortunately absent here (Susan Jamieson, 1991, 1992, 1999; Kapches, 1994).

Individual traditions are defined in separate chapters, and these chapters provide many illustrations of definitive material culture types. Cultural traditions defined by the ceramic modes or the shapes of projectile points (cf. MacNeish, 1952) are convenient for on-the-spot classification but it is rather outmoded to assume, as some authors seem inclined to do, that the style of one type of tool is necessarily meaningful in a cultural, political or linguistic sense. Nevertheless, this check-list approach characterizes much of CRM archaeology and it is useful to see those lists made explicit.

Postprocessual concepts are generally absent. Women are mostly invisible in this book; indeed, only one of the authors is female. With the laudable exception of Fox's contribution on the Odawa, the only native peoples mentioned are branches of the Ontario Iroquois, all now removed to reserves in Quebec and Oklahoma. The Ojibwa-speaking Mississauga, whose name appears on early treaties and whose reserves are located in the focal region, are not mentioned.

One book can't be expected to do everything, but it's surely legitimate to wish for more.

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