Abstracts of Papers


Sable, Trudy: Saint Mary’s University.

“Putting the Meat back on the Bones: Can archaeology be relevant to Aboriginal education? Can Aboriginal peoples find relevance in archaeology?.”

Aboriginal peoples in Canada have experienced alienation within the educational systems of Canada, finding schools culturally barren and offering little with which they can identify or find meaningful. For many Aboriginal students this alienation comes from their cultures long being the object of scientific inquiry conducted by foreign researchers trying to make Aboriginal cultures understandable within a Eurocentric historical context. In turn, this research becomes the stuff of history and science text books within the educational systems where Aboriginal students find their cultures represented in terms of historical time periods and classification systems not of their making. This presentation will focus on how archaeology can become educationally meaningful for Aboriginal peoples, as well as an educational tool of empowerment, through exploration of a unique educational program situated within the Innu ancestral landscape of Kamestastin in Labrador. Core to the program was that it was based within Innu cultural practices, values, and land use traditions, and included elders (tshishennuat) in the teaching and evaluation. Further, the program was timed to occur when the large herd of George River Caribou migrates through the area, a time that Innu from time immemorial have gone to the country to camp and hunt. Within this landscape, archaeology was presented as emerging from and informed by the long and continuous knowledge tradition of the Innu rather than the key that unlocked their hidden past.

Session: “Don't be bossy, don't be greedy.’ -- reflections on a decade of community archaeology initiatives in Canada.”

Sanger, David: Anthropology and Quaternary Studies, University of Maine.

“Quoddy Region Terminal Archaic.”

The Quoddy region refers to Downeast Maine and adjacent southwestern New Brunswick. For several decades now we have been aware of a Terminal Archaic presence which has been poorly defined by lithics in less than stellar contexts. My analysis suggests the presence of locally distinctive lithic expressions which do not fit comfortably into commonly utilized macro traditions, especially the Susquehanna tradition as it is manifested in coastal and interior Maine. I suggest that the difficulty of defining the Quoddy region version of Terminal Archaic stems from a common problem in the Northeast: the over-reliance on widespread stemmed biface forms to characterize whole cultural traditions.

Session: “After the Gouge, Before the Bullet: post-Archaic Archaeology in the eastern Subarctic and far Northeast.”

Schwarz, Fred: Black Spruce Heritage Services.

“A Beguiling Simplicity: The Intermediate Period in Central Labrador Prehistory.”

The Intermediate period in Labrador has been negatively-defined as a period of brief and ultimately unsuccessful Amerindian occupations (the “Culture-Sink Model”) intervening between the better-known Maritime Archaic and “Recent Indian” occupations. In comparison with earlier and later periods, Intermediate sites are smaller and rarer, offering few diagnostic artifacts and poor organic preservation. A fuller understanding of this period, one that may clarify the Culture-Sink Model, or even move beyond it, has remained elusive, in large part because of limited archaeological evidence. However, archaeological CRM projects over the last ten years have now identified many additional sites of this period in the central Labrador interior. Many of these sites have so far yielded only small survey collections. However, even a review of site distributions and regional variations in lithic raw material types among interior Intermediate sites suggests new and alternative interpretations of cultural dynamics in the Intermediate period of central Labrador.

Session: “Revisiting Eastern and Central Subarctic Pre/history.”

Siegfried, Evelyn: Royal Saskatchewan Museum.

“Human Remains and Sacred Objects: An Example of Repatriation by the Royal Saskatchewan Museum.”

For decades, archaeologists have excavated burials of Aboriginal peoples throughout North America for research purposes. The remains and accompanying grave goods often end up stored in the warehouses of museums. This has led to archaeologists being viewed with distrust and resentment by many Aboriginal people who think of all excavation as “grave robbing”. One way to rebuild trust in archaeologists is by the return/repatriation of that which was taken in the past. Over the last decade, the Royal Saskatchewan Museum has been involved in consultations with Native Elders to address their concerns for human remains and sacred objects in the museum collection. Human remains issues were of the greatest concern and were addressed first with development of a provincial policy for repatriation and reburial. Most recently, consultations with Elders of the tribal councils of Saskatchewan is leading to new understandings and repatriation policy development for the sacred objects in the museum collection.

Session: “Don't be bossy, don't be greedy.’ -- reflections on a decade of community archaeology initiatives in Canada.”

Spence, Michael W. and Dana R. Poulton: Lawson Chair of Archaeology, University of Western Ontario (Spence), D.R. Poulton & Associates Inc (Poulton).

“The Public Burying Ground, an Early Nineteenth Century Cemetery.”

The Public Burying Ground in Guelph, Ontario was established by the Canada Company in 1827, the year the city was founded by John Galt. The cemetery was in use for 26 years, until 1853. Burials in the former cemetery were exhumed and removed into the 1890s. Partial archaeological salvage excavations in 2005 and 2006 led to the identification of 12 intact burials, one reburial, 25 exhumed graves and 11 finds of scattered bones. The intact burials provide data on the health threats (including trauma) that faced the early residents of Guelph. Equally interesting, though, are the social attitudes revealed in the exhumation choices that were made in the late Nineteenth century. The exhumed burials and scattered finds, categories that are often overlooked in cemetery analyses, proved to be as informative as the intact burials.

Session: “The Social Dimensions of Historic Canadian Cemeteries.”

Stevens, Jamie and Jamie Moses: Cree Regional Authority (Stevens), Cree Nation of Eastmain (Moses).

“Community-Based Research and Hydro Mega-Projects: The Nadoshtin Archaeology and Cultural Heritage Program.”

How does one carry out community-based archaeology in the context of a hydro-electric mega project? This question is at the heart of the Nadoshtin Archaeology and Cultural Heritage Program (ACHP). This unique program was established through a 2002 agreement between the Cree Nation and Hydro-Québec concerning the Eastmain-1 hydro-electric project, which resulted in the damming of the middle section of the Eastmain River and the creation of a reservoir of over 600 km2 on Cree traditional lands. The preliminary results of the Nadoshtin ACHP are discussed in relation to some of the broader objectives of the program: to use Cree knowledge as a starting point for investigations, to involve the community in the production of archaeological knowledge, to create an archaeological record which is not divorced from modern and contemporary history of the area, and to train Crees in archaeology.

Session: “Don't be bossy, don't be greedy.’ -- reflections on a decade of community archaeology initiatives in Canada.”

Stewart, Frances: (Affiliation not provided.)

“Abernaki Subsistence systems in times of European conflict.”

Abernaki living independently in their Norridgewock I village on the western bank of the Kennebec River in south central Maine relocated across the river to settle in a Jesuit Mission site in response to escalating European conflicts. The faunal remains were analyzed to determine how the conflict affected subsistence. The faunal remains revealed anticipated subsistence changes but also much continuity.

Session: “Indigenous Historical Archaeology.”

Sullivan, Kristian: Department of Archaeology, University of Saskatchewan.

“The French Counts of St. Hubert: A History, A Story, An Archaeology.”

The development of history at the local level largely informs small-scale archaeological projects. This paper details my initial investigations into the “French Counts of St. Hubert”, a late 19th century community of French aristocrats who attempted to recreate their high society lifestyle in the grasslands of Saskatchewan. My own understanding of the archaeological record begins with the locally constructed histories concerning the French Counts. I argue that these sources derive from storytelling and folklore that have been shaped to convey a specific commentary on the French Count lifestyle. I believe this entails a peculiar context relevant to many historical archaeology research projects.

Session: “The Historic Archaeology of survival in the New World.”

Sutherland, Patricia: Canadian Museum of Civilization.

“Dorset “Longhouses”: New Evidence from the South Coast of Baffin Island.”

Dorset “longhouses” have been found throughout much of the Canadian Arctic, as well as in northwest Greenland, and have been generally interpreted as evidence of short-term seasonal aggregation. It has been suggested that they may have served as gathering places for the strengthening of social ties, for undertaking ritual activities, and for exchange of goods and information among members of dispersed Dorset communities. Recent survey along the southeastern coast of Baffin Island has located ten previously unrecorded longhouses. These features, together with those recorded across Hudson Strait in Ungava Bay, represent 40% of the total number of longhouses which are currently known. This paper compares the structures from the south coast of Baffin Island with those found elsewhere, and explores reasons for the apparent concentration of these features in the Hudson Strait area, including the potential for exchange outside the local system.

Session: “Small Scale Societies of the North Atlantic.”

Suttie, Brent D.: Archaeological Services Unit, Heritage Branch, Department of Wellness, Culture and Sport, Province of New Brunswick.

“The Acadians Strike Back: Recent Evidence of Acadian Resistance to the mid 18th Century British Policy of Expulsion from New Brunswick, Canada.”

Recent research along the Lower Saint John River Valley drainage in New Brunswick has identified two sites along the Oromocto River which are believed to be associated with an ambush carried out by French settlers of a large British Raiding party in November of 1759. This paper presents the results of the preliminary work conducted to date at the sites, as well as a discussion with particular reference to the historical accounts which have survived of this event.

Session: “The Historic Archaeology of survival in the New World.”

Swinarton, Lindsay: Department of Anthropology and Archaeology, Memorial University.

“How the Thule Conceptualised Animals: A Tale from Nachvak Fjord, Labrador.”

In an attempt to move beyond a dietary analysis of the faunal remains recovered from two sites in Nachvak Fjord, Labrador, ethnographically recorded myths and taboos are used to elucidate some aspects of Thule conceptualisation of animals in their environment. The faunal remains used in this study were recovered from house and midden contexts at a late prehistoric site (Nachvak Village, IgCx-3) and an early historic site (Kongu, IgCv-7). The spatial distribution and ubiquity of particular species identified within these remains are compared between contexts, and this data is combined with information recorded in regional ethnographies that not only describe physical interactions between historic Inuit and locally available animals, but also ideological interactions in the form of animal myths and rituals.

Session: “Indigenous Historical Archaeology.”

Symonds, Leigh: Trent University.

“Investigating Place and Identity in an Island Context: archaeological research on early medieval Isle of Man.”

This paper addresses some of the benefits of landscape research in an island context as well as some of the challenges. It focuses on the identification of early medieval sites and discusses the ways in which multidisciplinary research can be used to investigate the identification and negotiation of identity during the early Christian and Viking periods.

Session: “Global Perspectives in Archaeology.”

Updated November 08, 2008

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