Parkhill National Historic Site of Canada

Parkhill, Ontario
Location of Parkhill NHSC in Ontario (© Natural Resources Canada, 2002 / Ressources naturelles Canada, 2002)
Locational map
(© Natural Resources Canada, 2002 / Ressources naturelles Canada, 2002)
Address : Parkhill, Ontario

Recognition Statute: Historic Sites and Monuments Act (R.S.C., 1985, c. H-4)
Designation Date: 1982-06-12

Event, Person, Organization:
  • Paleo-Indians  (People, group)
Other Name(s):
  • Parkhill  (Designation Name)
Research Report Number: 1982-SUA, 2005-SDC-110

Description of Historic Place

Parkhill National Historic Site of Canada is located near Parkhill, Ontario. This archaeological site was once a Paleo-Indian settlement on an ancient lakeshore, which represents an early lake level above that of modern Lake Huron. Now set on a flat, cultivated field, the site covers approximately 0.5 hectares (1.2 acres) just north of Parkhill Creek. The heavy clay soil contains archaeological remains that date to 8800- 7800 B.C., at which time the site formed the shoreline of ancient Glacial Lake Algonquin. It is the earliest, firmly dated Paleo-Indian habitation site in Ontario. Official recognition includes all nine artifact clusters identified during initial investigations at the site, and include a 30-metre perimeter outside their peripheries.

Heritage Value

Parkhill was designated a national historic site of Canada in 1982 because: it produced a large, unusually complete artifact inventory, including over 125 fluted points; its discrete features and activities areas represent several aspects of everyday Paleo-Indian lifeways.

Parkhill National Historic Site of Canada is significant not only for its relatively large size and its number of pointed flutes, but also because it represents the only Paleo-Indian habitation site in the Great lakes area. Measuring approximately 243 metres wide and 495 metres long the site possesses one of the largest Clovis artefact inventories of any known sites. No other Ontario site has produced as many fluted points as Parkhill. The site is thought to have existed in a sheltered southern exposure, near a tributary stream and in proximity to pine and spruce. This location probably offered a rich environment between the edge of the ancient lakebed and the fossil beach. The productivity of the site make it noteworthy, as do the wide range of tool types recovered, which includes points, bi-face performs, scrapers, knives, gravers, a fluted drill and quantities of channel flakes and “débitage”.

Sources: Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada, Minutes, October, 1972, June 1982, December 2005.

Character-Defining Elements

The key elements that contribute to the heritage character of this site include: the location on what was an ancient lake shore, which represents an early lake level above that of modern Lake Huron; the current setting on a flat, cultivated field just north of Parkhill Creek; the integrity and materials of the extensive surviving archaeological remains, features and artifacts in their original placement and extent, including the in situ vestiges, the remains of tool workings and various discrete archaeological features both identified and as yet unidentified features that date to approximately 8800-7800 B.C.; the viewscapes to and from the site and the immediate surroundings that facilitate its recognition as an ancient lakeshore.