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.


Pearlware saucers with Blue Transfer Print decoration
Pearlware saucers with Blue Transfer Print decoration dating from 1783 - 1830
These matching saucers are decorated with what is called a "fish drying" pattern.

The Kingston Archaeological Centre house's a large and important collection of artifacts relating to the settlement and occupation of Eastern Ontario, in particular the Kingston area. The artifact storage area and processing laboratory may be visited for a first-hand look at the artifacts after excavation and before they are displayed or repacked. 

Collections Management & Curation

Collections management and curation are vital components of the Foundation’s program. They involve many parts of the Foundation’s collection including maps, photographs, historic documents, microfiche and artifacts that are gathered as part of the field investigation process. The many parts of the collection are indexed and appropriate management records are kept. The Foundation maintains a laboratory where artifacts are cleaned, analyzed, stabilized and prepared for storage and exhibit. Artifacts are stored in specially prepared and catalogued boxes that are held in an environmentally controlled area. Refrigeration storage is available for unstable pieces or organic materials.

The Foundation’s Archaeological Collection

The curation, or care, of archaeological collections involves the long-term preservation and management of complete collections of cultural material, records and reports from all sites that are archaeologically excavated. When a site is fully excavated, the artifacts discovered and the records of the site, including excavation field notes, lot forms, scale drawings, photographs and slides, are removed from the property and that property is of no further archaeological interest. In accordance with the provisions of the Ontario Heritage Act (Section 66.1), these records and artifacts are required “to be deposited in such public institution as the Minister may determine” and are “to be held in public trust”.

The Foundation meets the terms of the Act and as a “public institution”, holds “in public trust”, the artifacts and records of some 150 excavations undertaken by the Foundation’s professional archaeologists. Nearly half of this collection came from excavations undertaken on behalf of the City of Kingston. The artifacts are kept in some 950 storage boxes and a freezer; all are documented in Project Reports.

In addition, the Foundation maintains a research library and archives of more than 850 volumes, has indexed and maintains approximately 787 microfiche National Map Collection records, cares for some 130 map reproductions and more than 40,000 photo negatives, prints and slides. This is a constantly growing collection. The Foundation also curates a collection of original Land Registry records and deeds for Kingston and area. The Foundation has created and maintains a continuously growing digital inventory of its archaeological collection.

Representing more than 25 years of work by the Foundation and its staff, the Centre now holds a substantial collection of archaeological materials.