William "Liam" Wadsworth, Manotick

Uncovering Our Forgotten Souls

For me, archaeology is not just a pathway to historical discovery. It may also be an instrument in the search for truth and, if necessary, justice for past and present peoples. This interest in uncovering unspoken stories brought me to the University of Toronto where I study the archaeology of human remains.

In the last year, I have been working with the university and the Ontario Heritage Trust to explore a fugitive slave cemetery in Southwestern Ontario. The Underground Railroad gave escaped slaves a chance to regain their lives upon reaching Canadian soil. They settled in many different cities and founded new communities, such as the Dawn Settlement. However, today there is little recorded evidence of their impact in shaping this province and Canadian history. Using emerging methods to locate human remains, our team used geophysical techniques to find unmarked graves at the British American Institute cemetery outside Dresden, Ontario. It has been our privilege to be able to locate and protect the graves of these forgotten souls, recognizing their contributions in shaping Ontario’s heritage, and sharing their stories with their descendants.