Draper Site, Wendat (Huron) Ancestral Village

The Draper Site is a precontact period (late fifteenth-century) Huron-Wendat ancestral village located on a tributary of West Duffins Creek in present-day Pickering, Ontario, approximately 35 kilometres northeast of Toronto.[1] The site is found in wooded area on existing farmland and may be reached by walking from the end of North Road.

Draper Site
Location within Ontario today
LocationPickering, Ontario, Regional Municipality of Durham, Ontario, Canada
RegionRegional Municipality of Durham, Ontario
Coordinates43°55′42″N 79°10′32″W
PeriodsLate Precontact Period, ca. 1475-1525
CulturesHuron (Wendat)

The Huron community on the Draper site expanded at least five times over fifty years, with a total of 35 longhouses that held up to 2000 people. They were located on four hectares of land and the settlement was fortified with multiple rows of palisades.[2] The expansion of the village coincided with the abandonment of small villages in the area.[3]

In the early sixteenth century, after about a generation on the Draper site, the entire community moved five kilometres northwest to establish a new settlement, which archeologists have named the Mantle Site. The latter is located in the southeast corner of present-day Stouffville.[4] The same community appears to have left the Mantle site circa 1550 to establish the so-called Ratcliff site and the Aurora or Old Fort site to the north-west in what is today the Town of Whitchurch-Stouffville.

In early 1975 and 1978, the largely undisturbed Draper Huron village site was completely excavated. This archeological work was to explore and salvage artifacts and evidence in preparation for the destruction of the site during the construction of the Pickering Airport.[5]

Further reading


  1. See the 1877 map of Pickering Township. Lots 29 and 30, Concession VII (lot owners: William H. Burk and Adam Spears), Historical Atlas of Ontario County. Today, the site is southeast of the train tracks, off Concession 7. Its identifying code is A1Gt-2.
  2. See an artist's reconstruction of the Draper village at its largest: "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-07-06. Retrieved 2010-10-03.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link); also "Late Period (AD 1400 – European Contact)," and "Late Period Village", Historical Atlas of Canada, vol. 1 (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1987), plates 11 and 12.
  3. Jennifer Birch, "Coalescence and Conflict in Iroquoian Ontario," Archeological Review from Cambridge 25, no. 1 (2010), 37; see also K. Bolander, Million Pieces Turned Up Archived July 6, 2011, at the Wayback Machine, Stouffville Sun-Tribune, Aug 24, 1978, p. 1.
  4. K. Bolander, Million Pieces Turned Up Archived July 6, 2011, at the Wayback Machine, Stouffville Sun-Tribune, Aug 24, 1978, p. 1.
  5. ""Slower pace at Draper Site: rescue technique not needed" Archived July 6, 2011, at the Wayback Machine," Stouffville Sun-Tribune, October 9, 1975, 5.
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