Please note that the Cataraqui Archaeological Research Foundation and the Kingston Archaeology Centre have closed. This site is still available for historical and informational reasons, but none of the services or products described here are available anymore.


Cataraqui: also spelled Cataracouy, Cataracoui, Catarocouy, Katarakouy, etc. is a French derivation of a Native word meaning "impregnable," "muddy river," or "place of retreat." The Cataraqui River flows into Lake Ontario at Kingston. The St. Lawrence River was originally called the Cataraqui.

The Cataraqui Archaeological Research Foundation is a professionally staffed non-profit organization dedicated to the recognition, investigation, and preservation of Ontario's rich archaeological resources. In addition to this we promote public archaeology, meaning public awareness, public involvement, and public education in the field of archaeology.

Incorporated in 1983 to oversee the excavation of Fort Frontenac in Kingston, the Foundation has expanded its geographic focus to serve all of Ontario. The Foundation presents a single corporate image to the public at large while providing a bridge between its two very different operating divisions: the Cultural Resource Management group and the Kingston Archaeological Centre. This structure is basic to the Foundation’s ability to expand its services to the public. Activities are supported through various funding sources including memberships, government programs, and donations.

The Foundation’s Cultural Resource Management division is an archaeological consulting company. It provides professional archaeological assessment to private property owners and government agencies. These activities are contracted on a fee-for-service basis. The second division that operates under the Foundation is the Kingston Archaeological Centre whose mandate is service programming and education. The Centre maintains an extensive interpretive display representing over 8000 years of human occupation in the Kingston area, offers a number of educational programs for students of all ages, and houses the collections and archives. The Kingston Archaeological Centre implements the Foundation’s community mandate by enhancing the public awareness and understanding of archaeology, by supporting the local archaeological profession, by contributing to the archaeological knowledge of the area, and by contributing to the wider archaeological community. One way in which public awareness is promoted is through the “Can You Dig It?”© public archaeology program. The “Can You Dig It?”© program has continued to develop and be refined since its inception in 1996.