Robert MacDonald is the Managing Partner of Archaeological Services Inc. (ASI), an Ontario-based heritage consulting firm. With offices in Toronto and Burlington, ASI employs around seventy full-time professionals and one hundred seasonal field staff. Dr. MacDonald has been with ASI since 1982. He is accredited by the Register of Professional Archaeologists (RPA) and holds a professional-class archaeological license from the Ontario Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport. He has directed hundreds of single and multi-phased archaeological assessments throughout Ontario as well as numerous comprehensive archaeological site excavations.
Dr. MacDonald earned his BSc and MA degrees from Trent University and his PhD from McGill University. His special areas of expertise include human paleoecology, archaeological site potential modeling, and geographic information system (GIS) applications in archaeology. His doctoral research consisted of a detailed examination of the environmental parameters of ancestral Huron-Wendat settlement in south-central Ontario. This expertise has led to his leading role in the research and design of Indigenous site potential models for most of the archaeological management plans that have been developed for municipalities across Ontario. Dr. MacDonald is also interested in public issues pertaining to archaeological heritage and cultural resource management, particularly the growing fields of Indigenous archaeology and critical heritage.
Since 2003, Dr. MacDonald has been a Research Fellow of the Trent University Archaeological Research Centre. In 2004 he was first appointed as an Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Waterloo and in 2009 he was appointed as an Adjunct Professor in the Trent University Anthropology Graduate Program. A former Deputy-Director of the Quaternary Sciences Institute at the University of Waterloo, in 1991 he co-organized an international conference for the Institute and in 1994 edited and published the proceedings of that symposium under the title Great Lakes Archaeology and Paleoecology: Exploring Interdisciplinary Initiatives for the Nineties. In 1999, with Dr. Robert Park and Dr. Dean Knight, he helped to organize the annual symposium of the Ontario Archaeological Society (OAS) which was hosted by the Quaternary Sciences Institute. In 2009, he again assisted Dr. Park in this task, when the UW Anthropology Department hosted the annual OAS symposium. From 2013 to 2016 he sat on the Board of Directors of the Ontario Archaeological Society, serving a term as President from 2014 to 2015. Since 2016 he has been an Executive Committee Member of the Heritage Resources Centre at the University of Waterloo.
Books, Monographs, and Edited Volumes
1998 - Williamson, Ronald F. and Robert I. MacDonald - Legacy of Stone: Ancient Life on the Niagara Frontier. Eastendbooks, Toronto.
1997 - Williamson, Ronald F. and Robert I. MacDonald, [editors] - In the Shadow of the Bridge: The Archaeology of the Peace Bridge Site (AfGr-9), 1994-1996 Investigations. Occasional Publications of Archaeological Services Inc. Volume 1, Toronto.
1994 [editor] - Great Lakes Archaeology and Paleoecology: Exploring Interdisciplinary Initiatives for the Nineties.Quaternary Sciences Institute Publication No. 10, Waterloo.
Peer-reviewed Articles and Book Chapter
2019 - Public Issues Anthropology as a Framework for Teaching Archaeology at the University of Waterloo. In: History and Approaches to Heritage Studies, Phyllis Mauch Messenger and Susan J. Bender, eds. Pp. 154-167. University Press of Florida, Gainsville, FL.
2015 - Williamson, Ronald F. and Robert I. MacDonald - Echoes of the Iroquois Wars: Contested Heritage and Identity in the Ancestral Homeland of the Huron-Wendat. In: Identity and Heritage: Contemporary Challenges in a Globalized World, Peter F. Biehl, Douglas C. Comer, Christopher Prescott and Hilary A. Soderland, eds. Pp. 97-106. Springer Briefs in Archaeology, Archaeological Heritage Management. Springer, New York.
2012 - Needs-Howarth, Suzanne and Robert I. MacDonald - The Walleye Fishery at the Peace Bridge Site, Fort Erie, Ontario. Ontario Archaeology 92: 74-94.
2010 - Williamson, Ronald F., David A. Robertson, Martin S. Cooper, Robert I. MacDonald, Shaun J. Austin, and Robert H. Pihl. Life and Death at the Quarry: The Early Woodland Archaeology of the Peace Bridge Site. Ontario Archaeology 85-88: 39-68 and Occasional Publication of the London Chapter, OAS No. 9.
2008 - Chapter 1: Toronto’s Natural History. In: Toronto: An Illustrated History of Its First 12,000 Years, Ronald F. Williamson, ed. Pp. 11-24. James Lorimer & Company, Toronto.
2008 - Williamson, Ronald F. and Robert I. MacDonald - A Resource Like No Other: Understanding the 11,000-year Relationship Between People and Water. In: HTO: Toronto's Water from Lake Iroquois to Lost Rivers to Low-flow Toilets, Christina Palassio and Wayne Reeves, eds. Coach House Books, Toronto.
2008 - Lovis, William A. and Robert I. MacDonald - Paleoenvironments and Cultural Interaction: Great Lakes. In:Archaeology in America, Francis P. McManamon, Linda S. Cordell, Kent Lightfoot, and George R. Milner, eds. 3 volumes. Greenwood Publishing Group, Inc., Westport, CT.
2006 - Robert Pearce, Robert MacDonald, David Smith, Peter Timmins and Gary Warrick - Bruce Trigger’s Impact on Ontario Iroquoian Studies. In: The Archaeology of Bruce Trigger, Ronald F. Williamson and Michael S. Bisson, eds. McGill-Queen’s University Press, Montreal.
2003 - Ronald F. Williamson, Stephen Cox Thomas, and Robert I. MacDonald - The Archaeology of the Moatfield Village Site. In: Bones of the Ancestors: the Archaeology and Osteobiography of the Moatfield Ossuary, Ronald F. Williamson and Susan Pfeiffer, eds. Pp. 19-88. Canadian Museum of Civilization, Mercury Series, Archaeology Paper 163.
2001 - [with Ronald F. Williamson] Sweat Lodges and Solidarity: The Archaeology of the Hubbert Site. Ontario Archaeology 71: 29-78.
1999 - Lovis, William A. and Robert I. MacDonald - Archaeological Implications of Great Lakes Paleoecology at the Regional Scale. In: Taming the Taxonomy: Toward a New Understanding of Great Lakes Archaeology, Ronald F. Williamson and Christopher M. Watts, eds. Pp. 125-149. Eastend Books, Toronto.
1998 - Parsons Site Chipped Stone Artifacts. In: The Archaeology of the Parsons Site: A Fifty Year Perspective, Ronald F. Williamson and David A. Robertson, eds. Ontario Archaeology 65/66:77-83.
1998 - [with David A. Robertson] The Paleoenvironmental Context of the Parsons Site. In: The Archaeology of the Parsons Site: A Fifty Year Perspective, Ronald F. Williamson and David A. Robertson, eds. Ontario Archaeology65/66:17-20.
1998 - [with Carol N. Ramsden, and Ronald F. Williamson] Chapter One: Introduction. In: The Myers Road Site: Archaeology of the Early to Middle Iroquoian Transition, R.F. Williamson, ed. Pp. 1-10. Occasional Publication of the Ontario Archaeological Society, London Chapter, No. 7.
1998 - Ramsden, Carol N., Ronald F. Williamson, Robert I. MacDonald, and Carol Short - Chapter Two: Settlement Patterns. In: The Myers Road Site: Archaeology of the Early to Middle Iroquoian Transition, R.F. Williamson, ed. Pp. 11-84. Occasional Publication of the Ontario Archaeological Society, London Chapter, No. 7.
1994 - [with Robert H. Pihl] - Prehistoric Landscapes and Land Uses: The Role of Predictive Modelling in Cultural Resource Management. In: Great Lakes Archaeology and Paleoecology: Exploring Interdisciplinary Initiatives for the Nineties, Robert I. MacDonald, ed. Pp. 25-59. Quaternary Sciences Institute Publication No. 10, Waterloo.
1992 - Ontario Iroquoian Semisubterranean Sweat Lodges. In: Ancient Images, Ancient Thought: The Archaeology of Ideology, A. Sean Goldsmith, Sandra Garvie, David Selin, and Jeanette Smith, eds. Pp. 323-330. Proceedings of the Twenty-Third Annual Conference of the Archaeological Association of the University of Calgary. The University of Calgary Archaeological Association, Calgary, Alberta.
1989 - [with Carol Ramsden and Ronald Williamson] The Myers Road Site: Shedding New Light on Regional Diversity in Settlement Patterns. Canadian Journal of Archaeology 13:207-211.
1988 - Ontario Iroquoian Sweat Lodges. Ontario Archaeology 48:17-26.
Other Publications and Reports
2006 - Shaun Austin, Robert MacDonald, Gregory Braun, Douglas Todd, and Andrew Riddle - Hunters of the Puslinch Lake Hinterland: 2002 Investigations by Archaeological Services Inc. (Burlington Office). Annual Archaeological Report, Ontario Volume 13 (New Series).
2003 - Williamson, Ronald F., Eva MacDonald, Robert H. Pihl, Robert I. MacDonald, Deborah A. Steiss, and David A. Robertson - Ruthven and the Collection of Andrew Thompson: A Case Study of a Nineteenth Century Antiquarian.Arch Notes 7(2): 7-34.
2002 - Late Woodland Settlement Trends in South-central Ontario: a Study of Ecological Relationships and Culture Change. Unpublished PhD Dissertation, Department of Anthropology, McGill University, Montreal
1995 – [with Ronald F. Williamson] - The Hibou Site (AlGo-50): Investigating Ontario Iroquoian Origins in the Central North Shore Area of Lake Ontario. In: Origins of the People of the Longhouse, A. Bekerman and G. Warrick, eds. Pp. 9-42. Proceedings of the 21st Annual Symposium of the Ontario Archaeological Society Inc., held at Toronto, Ontario, 1994.
1994 – [with Jack D. MacDonald] - Notes on Maps, Part 1: Up-dating the North American Datum and the UTM Grid.Arch Notes (Newsletter of The Ontario Archaeological Society) 94(6): 7-12.
1987 - Notes on Longhouse Storage Cubicles. Arch Notes (Newsletter of the Ontario Archaeological Society) 87(3): 5-11.
1986 - The Coleman Site (AiHd-7): A Late Prehistoric Iroquoian Village in the Waterloo Region. Unpublished MA Thesis, Department of Anthropology, Trent University, Peterborough.