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Sassafras Point No. 1 (AhGx-3)

About the Site:

Following earlier identification by Tim Kenyon and Ian Kenyon and mapping and Bordenising by Bill Fox (Bill Fox, pers. comm., July 14, 2016), the site was returned to in 1969 by David Stothers and Ian Kenyon. Located on a relatively long peninsula on the south shore of Cootes Paradise (Stothers 1977:30), lithics, ceramics and faunal remains were recovered and attributed to what was referred to as Sassafras Point Site No. 1 (AhGx-3). Two areas of concentration were noted through test cuts. Into each of these areas of concentration, a 5 foot by 5 foot test square was set. Square AI was considered to be representative of a Princess Point Complex occupation, while BI appeared to be multicomponent with Princess Point Complex, Glen Meyer, Middleport and later Iroquois materials identified or implied. The Glen Meyer and Middleport evidence was considered “scanty” (Stothers 1969:12) and “meager” (Stothers 1969:13) at that time and requiring additional investigation. In Area A, cord-wrapped stick decoration, exterior punctates and interior bosses appeared on rim sherds. Lithics included fish net sinkers, Onondaga chert and Ancaster chert. In Area B, ceramics with cord-wrapped stick decorations were present alongside trailed and incised wares. Flake scrapers were identified. Some burnt bone was said to be present.

David Smith and colleagues from the University of Toronto Mississauga, returned to Sassafras Point No. 1 (AhGx-3) in 1997 (Smith 1998) and 1998 (Smith 1999). This work confirmed the Middleport component at the site. Potential Glen Meyer and later Iroquois occupations were not discussed and appear to be contradicted by the more recently recovered artefacts. While it was earlier suggested that Sassafras Point No. 1, as a relatively large site (Smith et al. 1996:89), may have seen permanent or seasonal occupation during a Princess Point Complex occupation (Smith et al. 1997:95), recent investigations suggest that a seasonal or temporary (rather than permanent) use of the site is more likely for that period (Smith 1999:81). Site function during the Middleport occupation remains unclear (Smith 1999:81).


At SA McMaster:

One bag of material deriving from the 1969 survey including ceramics, lithics and faunal remains.


Resources about this site:

Stothers, David. 1969. An Archaeological Survey of Coote’s Paradise Hamilton, Ont. (1969). Unpublished report on file, University of Toledo and Sustainable Archaeology, McMaster Innovation Park, Hamilton.

Stothers, David. 1977. The Princess Point Complex. Archaeological Survey of Canada, Paper No. 58. Ottawa: National Museum of Man.

Smith, David G. 1998. The 1997 Erindale College Field School at the Sassafras Point Site (AhGx-3). AARO 9:78-82.

Smith, David G. 1999. The 1998 Erindale College Field School at the Sassafras Point Site (AhGx-3) ARRO 10:72-75.

Smith, David, Trevor Ormerod and André Bekerman. 1997. Small Princess Point Sites in Cootes Paradise. In Home is Where the Hearth Is: The Contribution of Small Sites to our Understanding of Ontario’s Past, edited by Jean-Luc Pilon and Rachel Perkins, pp. 87-96. Ottawa, Ontario: Ottawa Chapter of the Ontario Archaeological Society.

Site Name: Sassafras Point No. 1



Borden Number:



City of Hamilton

Date Excavated:


Excavated By:

David M. Stothers, Ian Kenyon