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Wilfrid Laurier University Faculty of Arts
September 24, 2017
Canadian Excellence
Dr. John Triggs

Dr. John Triggs

Associate Professor/Chair

Contact Information
Phone: 519-884-0710 ext.2156   |  lab 519 884 0710 ext.6114
Fax: 519 883 0991
Office Location: R106J
Office Hours: Fall term Wednesday 10:00-12:00 noon
Languages Spoken


Academic Background


PhD, University of Toronto

Research Interests:

I am interested in the archaeology of the Historic Period in North America, particularly on military, domestic and industrial sites.  Past research at the Royal Navy base in Penetanguishene examined the adaptations of the British military to remote frontier conditions.  Concepts such as environmental change, social geography, and technological innovation and modification guided my research at this site for over a decade.

In 2004 a new research project was begun at the small, rural industrial town of Indiana situated on Ruthven Park National Historic Site near Cayuga, Ontario.  Home to a few hundred industrial workers in the middle decades of the 19th century, but now a ghost town, archival and archaeological research at Indiana seeks to better understand this little-studied aspect of Ontario's history.  The rise and fall of this town is due to many factors involving changing patron-client relationships, large-scale environmental degradation, technological change, and developments in transportation that impacted the wider economic network of which Indiana was a part.

Beginning in 2004, I began a multi-year project in Bermuda on the site of the Grove, residence of the island's second governor, Daniel Tucker, and home to several generations of Tucker family households in the 17th and 18th centuries.  My work at the Grove is conducted under a landscape archaeology research framework which uses multiple lines of evidence to reconstruct the social, economic and environmental conditions operating in one of England's earliest colonies in the New World.  Fieldwork was completed in 2008 and a publication is planned for 2009.

Teaching Specialities:

I teach courses in historical archaeology, industrial archaeology, archaeological field and laboratory methods, post-excavation analysis, statistical methods, and occasionally human osteology.

Recent Publications:

2012 Triggs, John R. and John Mosquera. Cultural Resource Management Archaeology in Bermuda: Ground-Penetrating Radar at Marsden Memorial Methodist Church, Tucker's Town, Bermuda Journal of Archaeology and Maritime History, vol. 22, (forthcoming).

2011 Triggs, John R. A Brave Cedar House: Landscape Archaeology at the Overplus House and Grove. Special Publication, Society for Post-Medieval Archaeology, Vol. 45(1) pp. 141-179.

2007 Fort Bruere 'Ill Laid Out and Wers Executed': Archaeological investigation at Bermuda's Last Homegrown Fort. Bermuda Journal of Archaeology and Maritime History, Vol. 17, 2006.

2006 Peering into the 'Cocoon': Archaeology as a Strategy for Conserving Bermuda's Vernacular Architecture.  Bermuda Journal of Archaeology and Maritime History, Vol. 16, 2005.

2005  Social Flux at the Naval Establishment at Penetanguishene, Lake Huron, 1917-1834. Historical Archaeology, vol. 39(2): 105-135. Journal of the Society of Historical Archaeology.

2004  Excavating Below the Hearthstones: Fireside Insights into the Structural Development of Sainte-Marie amoung the Hurons.  Volume of Collected Articles on Historic Huron.  Huronia Historical Museum (forthcoming).

2004 'The Past Belongs to Us All' in Unlocking the Past: Celebrating Historical Archaeology in North America. Lu Ann De Cunzo and John H. Jameson Jr. eds., Society for Historical Archaeology, pp. 195-199.

2004  The Mississauga at the Head-of-the Lake: Examining Responses to Cultural Upheaval at the Close of the Fur Trade. Northeast Historical Archaeology, the Journal of the Council for Northeast Historical Archaeology, vol. 33: 153-176.

2004  Conservation at Sainte-Marie 1: Masonry Fireplaces Provide New Insight into the Structural Development of the Huron Mission Headquarters.  Conference Proceedings of Ontario Archaeological Society Annual Meeting, October 2001, National Museum of Civilization, Mercury Series. (Forthcoming).

2004  Searching for Governor Daniel Tucker's 'Mansion': The First Season of Excavation at Bermuda's Oldest Archaeological Site Outside St. Geroge's. Bermuda Journal of Archaeology and Maritime History, vol. 15: 7-47.

2002 Struggling with structures and stratigraphy: the analysis of superimposed fur trade and war of 1812 period occupations at Burlington Heights.  Annual Archaeological Report, Ontario (New Series) vol. 12.

Dr. Triggs has been involved in Historical Archaeology in Ontario and abroad for almost 30 years.  He has conducted annual field school excavations at Discovery Harbour Provincial Historic Site; the last 18th/early 19th century Beasley fur trade site at Dundurn Castle National Historic Site, and most recently at Ruthven Park National Historic Site.  As a professional heritage consultant, he has directed research projects at several museums and historic sites in Ontario including Dundurn Castle, Sainte-Marie among the Hurons, Battlefield House, and Chiefswood Museum.  Most recently his work has taken him to Bermuda where he is completing a 5-year study of the Grove, and where he is beginning a new project at Scaur Lodge in association with the Bermuda National Trust and the Bermuda Maritime Museum.