40 Influential Research Projects

For 40 years, ROM magazine has been keeping readers up to date on the latest scientific breakthroughs and most current findings in archaeology and art history by ROM researchers. In celebration of the magazine’s 40th anniversary, we look at 40 of the Museum’s influential projects. Take a look at the front fold-out featur  ing covers from 1968 to 2008 to see how the magazine has changed across time.

Paleozoic Fossils from Central Canada

Studies by ROM paleontologist Dave Rudkin and colleagues of 450- to 400-million-year-old fossil arthropods—including trilobites, eurypterids, and horseshoe crabs—from the remote Hudson Bay and James Bay lowlands are revealing exciting new information. Continuing fieldwork, ROM-based research, and collaborative studies on these fossils are revealing new data on their age, environments, preservation, and evolutionary dynamics. Published highlights range from discovery of the world’s largest trilobite (nearly ¾ metre long!) to description of the oldest horseshoe crabs in the fossil record.

Burgess Shale 

A UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1981, Canada’s Burgess Shale is revered as one of the most important paleontological localities ever discovered. Famous for its exceptional preservation of Middle Cambrian age (505 million year-old) marine soft-bodied animals, this site provides unique insights into the morphology, ecology, and evolution of some of the oldest animals on Earth. Intensive exploration by ROM teams under the leadership of Desmond Collins has revealed abundant fossils, many of them new to science. These expeditions demonstrated that Burgess Shale biota is much more diverse, abundant, and widespread than previously thought. The ROM’s Burgess Shale collection is the largest in the world with more than 150,000 specimens. The collection is the basis for several new research programs being developed by ROM paleontologist Jean-Bernard Caron and colleagues who have recently published findings in Science and Nature magazines.

American Pleistocene Mammal Research 

During the years 1958-1961, ROM paleontologist Gordon Edmund excavated more than 20,000 Pleistocene fossil mammal specimens from Peru and Ecuador. Since then, Gord and subsequent researchers, most recently Kevin Seymour, have continued to work on describing this unparalleled collection, the world’s largest from the region. Although a diversity of mammals was collected, Gord and several of his students specialized in the Xenarthra—including the mounted giant ground sloth and giant armadillo that can be seen in the ROM’s new Gallery of the Age of Mammals. Kevin concentrated on the cats. Gord also obtained many Pleistocene fossil mammals from Florida, adding 15,000 specimens to the ROM’s collections between 1978 and 2004. Kevin has added Pleistocene mammals from Ontario to the project—a number of which are also on display in the gallery—carrying on work started by A. P. Coleman at the turn of the century, and continued by Loris Russell and research associates Rufus Churcher and Paul Karrow between about 1940 and 1990.

Amphibians and Reptiles of Guyana 

Since 1990, ROM staff have collected amphibians and reptiles from Guyana with emphasis on the western highlands. The most important collections are from the rare high-elevation cloud forest habitats of two flat-topped mountains (called tepuis), Mount Ayanganna and Mount Wokomung. Because these mountains have a much greater diversity of species than do comparable mountains in the region, Guyanese government agencies and the Smithsonian Biodiversity of Guyana Program have named them the highest priorities for biodiversity study. The ROM expeditions have uncovered eight new species as well as numerous new distribution records. ROM researchers, including Ross MacCulloch, have written 20-peer-reviewed publications and two book chapters on these collections with more to come. Data from the project have been included in the Global Amphibian Assessment Program and Conservation International.

Mammals of Guyana  

In 1961, ROM mammalogist Randolph Peterson began a 15-year research program in Guyana—resulting in the most comprehensive mammal collection from this country at any institution in the world. Mammalogists Burton Lim and Mark Engstrom re-initiated the project in 1990, and ongoing fieldwork forms the core of their study of mammalian systematics and evolution in the neotropics. A total of 33 scientific papers have been published, including the description of two species new to science and several more are in preparation. Since this project began, the known biodiversity of mammals in Guyana has more than doubled from less than 100 species to the current total of 226 species. The project is not only one of the longest active field research programs at the ROM, but has made Guyana one of the most thoroughly surveyed countries for mammals in South America.

Conservation of Migratory Shorebirds

Migratory shorebirds are true wonders of the natural world. Each year, they undertake grueling migrations of up to 30,000 kilometres from their wintering grounds in South America to their breeding grounds in the Canadian Arctic, and back again. Along the way, they stop at very specific productive staging points to rest and refuel. These sites are critical to the birds’ survival and breeding success. But a number of factors are harming these sites—global climate change, over-harvesting of food supplies, and habitat destruction. As a result, most populations of these birds are now in serious decline and their future is tenuous. For more than 15 years, ROM ornithologist Allan Baker has studied one shorebird, the red knot, to understand its migratory patterns and ecology, and to determine the causes for its declining numbers. Some successful conservation initiatives have already been implemented as a result of this work.

Amphibians and Reptiles in Southeast Asia

In 1994, ROM herpetologist Bob Murphy teamed up with Russian colleagues Nikolai Orlov and Ilya Darevsky to investigate the diversity of amphibians and reptiles in Vietnam. As part of a multinational collaborative project, they undertook the first Western expeditions into previously unexplored regions. Their efforts have drastically increased the numbers of amphibians and reptiles known from Vietnam, many of them new to science. In 1994, for example, only 84 species of amphibian had been recorded from Vietnam. Today, more than 200 species are known to exist and every new trip brings more-and-more amazing discoveries. One of the greatest concerns and most important goals of this work is documenting the diversity so that conservation programs can be implemented. Such work must precede ivory tower efforts to understand why Vietnam is one of the most biodiverse regions on Earth.

Genetic Consequences of Plate Tectonics 

In 1984, ROM herpetologist Bob Murphy initiated research into the genetic diversity of reptiles in the Baja California peninsula in northwestern Mexico. The second longest peninsula in the world, the Baja has been extremely active tectonically for the past 15 million years. Much to Bob’s surprise, finely scaled genetic studies revealed two major breaks in the DNA of animals at different locations on the peninsula, suggesting that major seaways once crossed this land. Subsequent genetic research has confirmed this idea. Now geologists are searching for corresponding evidence.

Bat Research at the ROM

ROM curator Dr. Randolph Peterson began collecting bats in Guyana and Trinidad in 1961, and since then the ROM has amassed a collection of 59,000 bats from the following countries— Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Venezuela, Surinam, Ecuador, Belize, Panama, El Salvador, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Mexico, United States, Canada, Europe, Cameroon, Nigeria, Liberia, Ghana, South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Kenya, Uganda, Sudan, Madagascar, Nepal, Laos, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia, Australia, and China. Approximately 82 papers have been published on bats, their ecology, taxonomy, physiology, and distribution. ROM staff have described 10 species new to science, including a 55-million-year-old fossil bat. Another 14 are yet to be described.

DNA Barcoding of ROM Collections

Only a small minority—about 10 to 15 percent—of the planet’s estimated 100 million species have been identified and described. With the rate of species extinction at an unprecedented level, it is now more important than ever to discover and document the incredible diversity of life on this planet. Fortunately, there is a new tool available that will greatly enhance scientists’ capacity to document and conserve biodiversity. An international consortium of scientists has developed a revolutionary method of identifying and cataloguing biodiversity. The ROM is part of this research network of biodiversity scientists, genomists, technologists, and ethicists through the Canadian Barcode of Life Network (CBOL). The ultimate goal of CBOL and of the larger international consortium is to assemble a library of DNA sequences or “barcodes” unique to each of the world’s species. The library will enable biologists, rapidly and inexpensively, to identify organisms and massively advance their capacity to monitor, know, and manage biodiversity.

A reference databank of DNA barcodes for mammal, bird, insect, fish, and fungi species in the ROM’s tissue collection is being generated for the Barcode of Life library. As well, ROM curators Allan Baker, Jean-Marc Moncalvo, and Doug Currie are principal investigators in the CBOL network and have received research funding from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) and from Genome Canada. One of the pilot projects is to barcode all living species of birds (the All Birds Barcoding Initiative or ABBI), co-organized by the ROM’s Allan Baker and Pablo Tubaro of the National History Museum in Buenos Aires, Argentina. More than 2500 species have already been barcoded and a number of new species have been uncovered in the process.

Crawford Lake and Fossil Corn Pollen  

In 1968, ROM researcher Jock McAndrews used a freeze sampler to discover that the mud at the bottom of Crawford Lake, located about 100 km west of Toronto, had annual layers that recorded years rather like tree rings. When fossil pollen from the lake was analyzed, Jock was surprised to find that it was fossil corn and purslane pollen dating to the 1400s, indicating there must have once been cornfields nearby. An archaeological survey discovered a previously unknown Iroquoian village site 150 metres from the lake. It was excavated in 1973, and found to be contemporary with the corn pollen. The findings prompted the Halton Region Conservation Authority, which owned the property, to turn the area over to education and research rather than the active recreation site they had been planning. The village was reconstructed and a visitor centre and boardwalk around the lake added. Today the village and lake are visited by busloads of school children, university classes, and international tourists.

Publications on this project include a two-volume work on the archaeology of the Crawford Village and surrounding prehistoric farming village sites. Among the scholarly papers, a controversy emerged as to whether or not native people had an impact on the lake and burned the forest. Fossil diatoms indicate the lake became eutrophic—subject to excessive algal blooms which result in poor water quality—when the village was occupied. Similarly fossil charcoal peaked during the period of native occupation. Ongoing work focuses on fossil fungi spores that parasitize Iroquoian corn.

Serpentine Group Minerals 

Fred Wicks’s research career of 35 years (and counting) has led to groundbreaking discoveries about serpentine minerals. He recognized that understanding the complex crystal structures of these minerals would enable us to decipher poorly understood textures in serpentine-rich rock and that this in turn would lead to a better understanding of the serpentinization process. He was correct. His work is a foundation for future studies in the critically important role of fluids in tectonic processes. His collaborations with top researchers and numerous awards reflect international recognition of the importance of his contributions to science.

Coral Reef Conservation and Energetics 

Coral reefs depend on outside energy sources to operate efficiently. Recent research has suggested that the very small, usually overlooked fishes on these reefs are critical in capturing outside energy in the form on plankton generated in the open ocean and washed past the reef on ocean currents. ROM researchers Rick Winterbottom and Laura Southcott have examined the earstones (called otoliths) of a species of goby, Trimma nasa, from Palau. This tiny species, which reaches a maximum length of about 2 cm, occurs in vast schools on the vertical faces of the outer reefs. The otoliths contain a record of daily growth, similar to the rings in trees. The researchers determined the goby’s life expectancy—87 days, nearly half this time spent as larvae in the plankton. The mortality rate was calculated at 4.7 % per day and breeding appearing to begin at about 40 days of age. This means that 4 to 6 generations per year are produced. The next step in the research program is to find out whether the plankton these fish feed on is derived from the open ocean. If so, these fishes may be critical in offsetting the energy deficit of coral reefs. Knowledge of these fishes could be critical in protecting and managing the future of coral reefs.

Aquatic Entomology

The ROM has long been a centre of excellence in aquatic entomology. It started with E. M. Walker who published a number of books on dragonflies and damselflies. The tradition was continued by Glenn Wiggins, arguably the ROM’s most distinguished life science curator ever. His ground-breaking research on caddisflies resulted in innumerable publications and a series of high-profile books. Today Doug Currie is carrying the torch further with his own research program on black flies as co-author of the nearly 1000 page bookBlack Flies of North America.

Origin and Evolution of Flightless Birds

The extinct moa of New Zealand were giants of the bird world with species varying in body mass from 20 to 250 kg (44 to 550 pounds) with the largest reaching almost 4 metres (more than 13 feet) in height with the neck extended. To test hypotheses about the origin and evolution of the extinct giant moas, ROM scientists Allan Baker and Oliver Haddrath were among the first to extract ancient DNA from bones and sequence it to compare with other flightless birds, a group called ratites. They showed that all ratites share a common ancestry that goes back about 100 million years, probably originating on the supercontinent Gondwana. Following the breakup of Gondwana, different ratite lineages drifted on different landmasses to their present locations in New Zealand (moa and kiwi), Australia (emu and cassowary), Africa (ostrich and elephant bird) and South America (rhea). In a second study, Allan and Oliver sequenced DNA from bones of 125 specimens of moa from museums, and showed that 14 lineages of moa once existed. Coincidently, they also found that 33 percent of the specimens were incorrectly identified and the DNA sequences allowed them to correct this.

Reconstructing the Avian Tree of Life 

The international community of taxonomists and systematists are collaborating to reconstruct the great tree of life and to salvage as much of current biodiversity as possible before it disappears. This effort to construct trees showing how species are related to one another requires the use of morphological or body characteristics as well as DNA sequences from multiple genes. The researchers also test hypotheses about the birds’ origins and diversification through time in response to past global changes. ROM ornithologists Allan Baker and Sergio Pereira—in collaboration with the American Museum of Natural History—have been building large-scale trees of major bird groups, including shorebirds, pigeons, parrots, cuckoos, ducks, geese and swans, penguins, albatrosses and petrels, pelicans, storks, and rails and allies. Recent research funded by NSERC has focused on unique retroposon insertions, genetic sequences which define these groups and help test phylogenetic trees. ROM scientist Oliver Haddrath pioneered this approach in birds—placing the ROM at the forefront of avian phylogenetics.

The Jack Satterly Geochronology Lab

Established in 1975, the ROM’s Jack Satterly Geochronology Lab was the birthplace of high-precision radiometric uranium-lead dating. New laboratory procedures and analytical methodologies developed under Dr. Tom Krogh have become the international de facto standards and been adopted by geochronology labs around the world. The application of these innovative techniques revolutionized U-Pb geochronology and permitted ages of rocks to be determined with unprecedented accuracy. Most of what is known of Earth’s 4.5 billion-year history has been placed in precise sequence using these dating methods. In recognition of his contribution to science, Tom was presented with numerous awards, including election as a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada in 1999.

Conodonts 

For more than a hundred years, nobody knew what kind of animal a group of ancient tooth-like fossils called conodonts belonged to. It turned out that conodonts functioned in the mouths of primitive marine vertebrates that lacked both a jaw and a true backbone similar to the lamprey eel or hagfish. Since the early 1970s, ROM paleontologist Dr. Peter von Bitter has been studying conodont function and ecology. He has also found a way to use the rapid evolution of conodonts over 300 million years to determine the age of sedimentary rocks. In recent years, he has discovered hundreds of complete conodont mouth apparatuses, many with the animals eyes also preserved, in 425-million-year old lagoons on the Bruce Peninsula. These conodont beds are among the best and most prolific in the world.

Ichthyosaur Research at the ROM 

When Chris McGowan joined the ROM in 1969, he had a well-developed set of connections with local ichthyosaur collectors in southern England, one of the world’s best locations for finding these Mesozoic marine reptiles. Over the years, Chris kept in touch, ensuring that some of the best new material came to the ROM. As a result, the Museum’s ichthyosaur collection is now the most outstanding in all of North America, and a portion of it is on display in the new James and Louise Temerty Galleries of the Age of Dinosaurs. Chris published more than 40 papers on these new finds, including papers in Nature magazine documenting the evolutionary sequence that resulted in the extremely long-snouted ichthyosaurs. With his student Ryosuke Motani, he demonstrated that the earliest ichthyosaurs were eel-like in their swimming habits. Chris’s program of collecting Upper Triassic ichthyosaurs in northern British Columbia opened a new chapter of research as these earliest animals were poorly known worldwide. A selection of these specimens, all new to science, will be on display in the Triassic section of the future Earth and Early Life Gallery.

Freshwater Fishes of Canada

Dr. E. J. Crossman studied freshwater fishes for 48 years and was widely regarded as a world authority on esocids, a group of fishes that includes northern pike, the grass and red-fin pickerels, and muskellunge. If you wanted to know about freshwater fishes, he was the man to go to. His research program generated more than 200 scientific publications including Freshwater Fishes of Canada, which he co-authored with William B. Scott—the most important work on freshwater fishes in Canada. Beginning in 1957, he developed a research program on muskellunge, assembling a comprehensive well-indexed reference library that formed the basis of bibliographies and reference material that became well known. But muskellunge was, above all, his species of special interest. Throughout his career, until his untimely death in December 2003, he conducted in-depth studies on muskellunge populations across Ontario and North America.

Plains Indian Pictographic Painting

Representational paintings by North American Plains Indians in the 19th century most often took the form of pictorial narrative, or pictographic, records of warriors’ military achievements displayed on animal hide clothing and shelters. ROM assistant curator Arni Brownstone employs electronic re-drawings made by tracing directly from preserved originals, combined with ethnohistorical data, to better understand the social significance of these paintings, particularly the varying styles of depiction.

South Asian Photography

As a new technology in South Asia in the mid 19th century, photography overlapped with significant changes in South Asian political, social, and cultural history. It originated as a technology of colonial rule, but also promoted nationalist interests and was one of the main markers of South Asian modernity—paving the way for other forms of mechanical reproduction. An ongoing ROM project begun in 2002 by ROM curator Deepali Dewan examines the work of a well-known Indian photographer Raja Deen Dayal (1844-1905), who served as the court photographer for the Nizam of Hyderabad. The project also compiles a history of photography in India using the newly acquired Jhabvala Collection of South Asian Photography at the ROM. Both parts of the project are the first of their kind and make significant contributions to South Asian art history.

Excavations in Meroe

ROM curator Krzys Grzymski has been excavating an ancient African capital called Meroe in what is now Sudan. This work has resulted in numerous publications, conference presentations, and exhibitions. Meroe is considered one of the largest archaeological sites in Africa and has been submitted as a candidate for the UNESCO World Heritage Sites list.

Excavations in Cotahuasi, Peru

In 1997, ROM archaeologist Justin Jennings embarked on a project aimed at understanding the prehistory of the Cotahuasi Valley of southern Peru. The canyon, considered by some to be the deepest in the world at 3354 metres (11,000 feet), was occupied for the first time more than 13,000 years ago. Recent ROM excavations at the site of Collota, which played an important role during the Wari (600-1000 CE) and Inca (1430-1532 CE) states, are helping to reconstruct the ways of life during these periods and are revolutionizing our ideas of how states emerged and spread in the ancient Andes.

Elite Glazed Ceramics of the Islamic World 

Using scientific analysis to determine how and where ceramics were manufactured, along with standard archaeological approaches to determine dating, ROM researcher Robert Mason is aiming to understand the high-technology glazed ceramics of the Middle East made between c. 650 and 1700 CE.

Research on 20th-Century Haute Couture

Research by the ROM’s Nora E. Vaughan senior curator Alexandra Palmer focuses on the designs, trade, and consumption of haute couture in the 20th and 21st centuries. She has curated exhibits, taught, and written extensively on this subject and has contributed chapters to international exhibition catalogues. Her 2001 bookCouture & Commerce: The Transatlantic Fashion Trade in the 1950swon a Clio award for Ontario history. She is currently working on the vibrant years of the early 20th century, an expansion back in time from her research on the 1950s. She is also writing a monograph on Christian Dior.

The Illustrated Manuscript in Central Asia

ROM art historian Karin Ruehrdanz is analyzing the development of the illustrated manuscript in Central Asia between 1500 and 1700. This region was the “fourth player” in the Muslim world during the Age of Empires, though only the Ottoman Empire, Safavid Persia, and the Mughal Empire are usually mentioned. In Central Asia, the art of manuscript illustration had repeated breakdowns and revivals over these two centuries and therefore is useful as a case study for survival strategies of an art form in cultural environments that are less than favourable to it. 

Traces of a General in the Ming-Qing War 

There has long been a tradition that the Museum’s famous Ming Tomb was that of well-known Chinese general Zu Dashou (c. 1565-1656). Until his surrender in 1642, he was a key figure in the defense of the Ming Dynasty against the Manchu, who established the Qing Dynasty in 1644. Since 2003, ROM curator Klaas Ruitenbeek has been studying Zu family tombs (including the ROM’s), residences, honorific arches, city walls, and battlefields in Beijing and Xingcheng, Liaoning province, looking for clues. This fieldwork, combined with historical research, has made it possible to prove that the tomb was in fact the burial place of Zu Dashou and his three wives.

Early Hominids in China

Started in 1998 an ongoing project by Dr. Chen Shen and his Chinese colleagues discovered the earliest hominid occupation in northern China dating back 1.7 million years or more. The collaborative research team is exploring Stone Age technology and human evolution in China, including hotly debated issues on hand axe use in East Asia, the origins of microblade techniques, and origins of the modern human.

Bishop White Wall Paintings

Since the early 1990s ROM curator Dr. Ka Bo Tsang has been conducting research on the ROM’s three world-renowned Chinese Yuan dynasty (1279 - 1368) Buddhist and Daoist wall paintings housed in the ROM’s Bishop White Gallery of Chinese Temple Art. Initial results have been published in major academic journals and magazines, and further new observations are being prepared for a forthcoming ROM book, which will update our knowledge on the religious, artistic, and political significance of these works.

Canadian Art History

In 1999 ROM curator Mary Allodi was invested as a Member of the Order of Canada in recognition of her contribution to the literature on Canadian art history. Among her many writings, Mary co-wrote with Rosemarie Tovell the 1989 book An Engraver’s Pilgrimage: James Smillie in Quebec, 1821-1830  and in 1980 co-wrote the work she is proudest of:  Printmaking in Canada: The Earliest Views and Portraits.For that book, she collaborated with five other contributors, including Honor de Pencier. With Beate Stock and Peter N. Moogk, Mary co-researched and wrote Berczy, a groundbreaking catalogue accompanying a 1991 exhibition by the National Gallery of Canada, which stands as a monument to her achievements.

18th-Century Indian Chintz

With colleague John Irwin, ROM curator Katherine Brett undertook a collaborative research project examining 18th-century export textiles from India—chintz—in the collections of the ROM and the Victoria & Albert Museum. Their work resulted in a major exhibition in 1971 and a catalogue that still serves as the major resource on chintz textiles today.

Canadian Textiles

Publishing dozens of books from 1944 to 2001, the ROM’s Dorothy Burnham was a pioneer in the field of Canadian textiles. Invested as a Member of the Order of Canada in 1985, Dorothy’s works remain the standard references in the field.

Timurid Architecture

During the reign of the Timurids, a Persianate Sunni Muslim dynasty (late 14th to early 16th century), much of Central Asian architecture was characterized by extraordinary technical and artistic achievements. To reconstruct how this technology developed, ROM curator Lisa Golombek undertook a comprehensive analysis of individual monuments across a vast territory in the Middle East and Central Asia. Starting with the exploration and contextualization of “the Timurid shrine at Gazur Gah” in a 1969 book of the same title, the project culminated in an influential two-volume publication co-authored in 1988 with Donald Wilber, The Timurid Architecture of Iran and Turan. Published by Princeton University Press, it has been translated into Persian and Russian.

Altun Ha Excavations, Belize

The Altun Ha project (1964-1970), directed by ROM curator David Pendergast, was the first long-term excavation of a Maya centre in the country that is now Belize, and it radically altered our understanding of the importance of the Caribbean coastal zone in Maya prehistory from the 9th century BCE to 950 CE or so. The site remains the richest community of its size known in the Maya world, especially notable for the wealth of carved jade objects from its royal tombs. The largest and most famous jade recovered in the excavations is a head of Kinich Ahau, the Sun God, now the national symbol of Belize.

Round Lake Ojibwa Ethnographic Project

ROM anthropologist Dr. Edward S. Rogers (1923-1988) began his museum career with ethnographic fieldwork among the Round Lake Ojibwa of northwestern Ontario. Between July 1958 and July 1959 he lived with the Ojibwa and through “participant observation” studied their contemporary situation with a specific interest in the interrelationships among social organization, economics, and religion. As a museum anthropologist he was also interested in the collection and description of a range of material culture that would fully represent the Ojibwa he lived with. His report was published in 1962, but for the remainder of his career, he continued to study the past and present realities of the Round Lake Ojibwa.

Earliest Humans in Ontario

Beginning in 1969 ROM archaeologist Dr. Peter Storck embarked on fieldwork in Ontario with the question on his mind of when and how humans colonized the New World. Over a nearly 30-year career—and now into retirement—he succeeded in discovering several important sites occupied by the first people to live in Ontario after the retreat of the continental ice sheet—hunter-gatherers called Early Paleo-Indians. His work showed for the first time that these people hunted caribou and other animals in spruce-parkland. Their lifestyle adaptations to the Great Lakes region and the greater northeast were quite different from those of related peoples elsewhere in North America. His 2004 book Journey to the Ice Age,which combined autobiography and popular science, received awards from the Canadian Archaeological Association (Public Communications Award), The Champlain Society (Chalmers Award), and the Canadian Historical Association (Clio Award for Ontario).  

Excavations at Jerusalem

From 1963 to 1967, eminent ROM archaeologist Douglas Tushingham led excavations in the Armenian Garden, in the southwest corner of the Old City of Jerusalem. The site lay outside the city as known to the early kings of Judah allowing researchers to determine when the city had first expanded that far west. Tushingham was the main author of the expedition’s results written in 1985.

Medieval Islamic city of Zabid, Yemen

The overall aim of the excavation project at the city of Zabid, in Yemen, led by ROM archaeologist Ed Keall, is to understand the way in which the city developed and flourished in mediaeval times as a market, administrative, and Islamic university center with an international reputation.

Excavations at Godin Tepe

The archaeological site of Godin Tepe was excavated under the direction of T. Cuyler Young Jr. over the course of five field seasons from 1965 to 1973. Located in the Zagros Mountains of Iran on the main route from Mesopotamia to the East, the site was occupied during all the important cultural periods of the ancient Near East from the 4th millennium to the mid-1st millennium BCE. The full results of the excavations will appear for the first time this fall.