Master of Arts (MA)


Geography and Anthropology

Document Type



This study reports on the demography and osteological profile of the Poole-Rose Ossuary. Excavated in 1990 under the direction of Heather McKillop and at the request of the Alderville First Nation, the Poole-Rose Ossuary is a Late Woodland burial site in southern Ontario, Canada. Lack of European artifacts in the burial suggests that this site predates European contact. The Poole-Rose Ossuary is radiocarbon dated to A.D. 1550 ± 50 years. The skeletal remains were commingled. This ossuary likely represents the mass re-burial known as the “Feast of the Dead” or the “Kettle.” For the most part, closely related individuals were involved in such re-burials, which occurred every eight to 12 years. The talus and calcaneus were used in this study. The left talus shows a minimum number of individuals (MNI) of 212; approximately 15% of the individuals are subadults. The MNI is within the range reported in previous studies on the Poole-Rose Ossuary (range of MNI is 161 to 337). The incidence of degenerative joint disease is low, which is consistent with the clinical literature. This study also reports on issues of concordance and discordance of the Poole-Rose Ossuary with an ethnohistoric account and other studies of Late Woodland ossuaries (e.g., burial of infants, de-fleshing, and cremation).



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Mary Manhein