September Lecture Series

SEPT 20th: ES 162

Presenter:  Dr. Craig Lee, Principal Investigator at Metcalf Archaeological Consultants, a Research Scientist II/Associate Professor at the Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research (INSTAAR), and an Adjunct Instructor in the Department of Sociology & Anthropology at Montana State University

Title:  Ice Patch Archaeology in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem

Periglacial alpine snow and ice is melting in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem (GYE) and around the world in response to changing weather patterns. As it melts, some of this ancient ice is releasing an astonishing array of paleobiological and archaeological material, including trees, plants, animals, and insects, as well as rare and unique organic artifacts such as dart shafts, basketry, and other pieces of material culture.  Consistent with the oral traditions of many tribal groups, the GYE ice patch record allows for the conceptualization of the alpine—in ancient times, at least—as an ecosystem in balance where humans and animals alike took advantage of a seasonally-enriched biome; however, much remains to be learned.

Ice patch resources are finite and may be lost in the coming decades.  The exposure of ancient archaeological and paleobiological materials by the retreat of moisture-starved and heat-ravaged ice patches in the GYE is a tangible indication of climate change in the Rocky Mountain West, and the impacts transcend the divide between the cultural and natural world.  The archaeological record demonstrates repeated use of ice patches by Native Americans for millennia.  They were an important element of their sociocultural and geographic landscape.

A project sponsored by the Greater Yellowstone Coordinating Committee (GYCC) in 2013 resulted in the identification of over 450 prospective ice patches consistent with a posteriori criteria developed from observations at known ice patch archaeological and paleobiological sites in the GYE and elsewhere.  Even more recently (2016), the ‘Camp Monaco Prize’ from the Buffalo Bill Historical Center’s Draper Natural History Museum, University of Wyoming’s Biodiversity Institute, and the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation enabled a group of scientists from the Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research at the University of Colorado, the Institute on Ecosystems at Montana State University, and the US Geological Survey to undertake an intensive analysis of GYE ice patches, including a coring effort and field survey.

Public Excavation: Cluny Fortified Village

Public Archaeology Program Cluny Fortified Village: May 23rd – June 23rd 

The University of Calgary is offering a volunteer excavation program at Blackfoot Crossing Historical Park. Participants will excavate alongside members of the Archaeology Field School at the famous Cluny Fortified Village site. First time participants will receive a tour of the archaeological site. Volunteers will be supervised by experienced University of Calgary graduate students, and training in archaeological excavation techniques will be provided on site. All artifacts from the site are the property of the Siksika Nation and, ultimately, will be stored at Blackfoot Crossing Historical Park Interpretive Centre.

The program will operate from May 23 to June 23, 2017, Monday–Friday. Participants must commit to a minimum of two days with the program.
Cost consists of the daily admission fee to Blackfoot Crossing Historical Park ($12.00 + GST for adults, $8.00+GST for children and seniors). Participants will meet with volunteer program supervisors at the Blackfoot Crossing Historical Park Interpretive Centre parking lot at 9:00 AM each day—please note that there are no overnight accommodation facilities at the park. The work day runs from 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM.
Minimum age of participation is 12. Participants under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a responsible adult at all times. All participants will be required to complete a Volunteer Liability Waiver Form and a Photography Waiver Form. The guardian of participants under the age of 18 must also complete an Informed Consent Form.

Visit https://arky.ucalgary.ca/public-archaeology/ for more information. To register or for more information, email pubarky@ucalgary.ca or call 403-220-8537.

The Public Archaeology Program, the Department of Anthropology and Archaeology, and the University of Calgary are not responsible for cancelled registrations or cancellations as the result of severe weather conditions. In the event of severe weather conditions, the Public Archaeology Program will attempt to contact excavation participants either the night before or early on the day of excavation. Changing weather conditions in the field may require cancellation of the workday while at the site. In either case, no refunds of the Blackfoot Crossing Historical Park admission fee or costs relating to travel to the park will be provided. Participants may re-register for alternative participation dates, but there is no guarantee that there will be other dates available in the excavation program.

April Lecture

APRIL 19th:
Presenter: Meaghan Peurmaki-Brown
Title:  Ancient Maya Settlement and Resource Development in East-Central Belize
Abstract: From 2014-2016, the Stann Creek Regional Archaeology Project (SCRAP) initiated Phase I Reconnaissance and Phase II Testing at the ancient Maya centre of Alabama, nestled up against the Maya Mountains in the Cockscomb region of the Stann Creek District of east-central Belize. First located by the Stann Creek Project in the 1970s, and later investigated by the Point Placencia Archaeological Project in the 1980s, the epicenter of the site was found to have been rapidly constructed during the late facet of the Late Classic and into the Terminal Classic (ca. 750-900 AD). In 2014, SCRAP members returned to the site in order to investigate settlement development at Alabama and its possible relationship to local resource extraction and trade. Phase I and Phase II had three goals: 1) to assess the Alabama epicenter for the first time since archaeological investigations in the 1980s, 2) to initiate the first systematic settlement survey, surface collection, and test excavations of residential zones in the area, and 3) to begin assessment of local, mesolocal, regional, and exotic resource development and use by the ancient Maya of the area. This presentation will introduce the audience to Alabama; discuss our current “boomtown” research framework and preliminary results; and outline our proposed plans for relational geography research in the larger Cockscomb region.

To check out Past Lecture Series please visit http://arkycalgary.com/lecture-series/

Castrum Cumidava in the Context of the Roman Occupation of Dacia

April 20, 2016. University of Calgary Room ES 162. 7:30pm

Dr. Álvaro Ibarra, College of Charleston

The emperor Trajan completed his conquest of Dacia (present-day Transylvania) in 106 CE. However, the Dacians were neither pacified nor ever fully romanized. The latest research conducted by the lecturer (via Braşov Archaeological Projects) suggests the presence of an ongoing native insurgency, one fought more intensely on the eastern frontier of Dacia through the end of the Roman occupation, 271 CE.

Through remote-sensing methods, ArcGIS, and landscape analysis, project contributors discovered a significant change in Roman military operations in eastern Dacia, an approach we are confident in effectively calling a counter-insurgency. The Roman counter-insurgency is evidenced in a shift from forts designed to support open-field battles to those positioned at key choke points and manned by smaller, mixed, mobile units suited for guerrilla warfare.

To compliment this overarching view of Roman strategy, BAP researchers also examined the material remains and data sets from the excavation of one specific frontier fort: Castrum Cumidava. In completing the narrative of the border experience in eastern Dacia, a more intimate picture of everyday life emerged from the common artifacts and personal effects utilized by the Roman auxiliary soldier stationed in a foreign and hostile environment. In this lecture, the speaker will relate how the everyday experiences of the inhabitants of a site like Castrum Cumidava are key to understanding the complex and violent interactions between Romans and Dacians, from the personal motivations of a career soldier to the political motivations of emperors.

From the Desert to the Plains: A Paleoethnobotanical Research Program

February 17, 2016. University of Calgary Room ES 162. 7:30pm

Dr. Glenn Stuart, University of Saskatchewan

In this presentation, Dr. Stuart will be describing paleoethnobotanical research he has conducted in the American Southwest and how the methods employed there are being adapted for his research on the Northern Plains. First, he will review results of archaeological pollen and macrobotanical analyses from recent work in the Phoenix Basin. Then he will explore the possibilities that similar research holds for elucidating the character of the archaeological record from Wanuskewin Heritage Park (WHP) in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. Finally, a few preliminary results from his research at WHP will be presented, to illustrate how greater concern with plant use might affect our interpretations of precontact subsistence practices.

Aboriginal response on the plains to the Hudson’s Bay Company pemmican trade, 1780-1879

January 20, 2016. University of Calgary Room ES 443. 7:30pm

George Colpitts, University of Calgary

Scholars are presently divided over the extent to which aboriginal plains people responded to the market demand for bison pemmican to support the fur trade in Western Canada. This presentation explores the type of market developing in the British West, particularly after 1821 when the Hudson’s Bay Company, through its district purchasing system, could better control prices it paid for bison dried meats, fats and pemmican offered by aboriginal people. The company’s monopoly created distinctive encounters between newcomers and aboriginal people on the plains and likely affected long-term colonial developments.

Life and Death in the Napoleonic Era Royal Navy stationed at English Harbour, Antigua, West Indies

November 18, 2015. University of Calgary Room ES 443. 7:30pm

Dr.  Tamara Varney, Lakehead University

Nearly two decades of investigation of two burying grounds that were associated with the Royal Naval Dockyard at English Harbour, Antigua, West Indies has revealed some interesting insight into what life was like for Naval personnel posted to the West Indies. Sometimes referred to as the ‘Graveyard of Englishman’, the West Indies posting included many challenges such as tropical disease and lead poisoning. Both regular and enslaved personnel are represented in one of the cemeteries that was associated with a former Naval Hospital, while the other site appears to have been a less formal expedient burial ground allowing for a nice representation of lower ranking personnel.

Recent Discoveries in the Sierra de Atapuerca (Spain)

October 21, 2015. University of Calgary Room ES 162. 7:30pm

Dr. Rolf Quam, Binghamton University

The Pleistocene cave sites in the Sierra de Atapuerca in northern Spain are well-known for a number of important paleoanthropological discoveries. In particular, the site of the Sima de los Huesos (the Pit of the Bones) has yielded the largest collection of human fossils from the Middle Pleistocene time period. These fossils are generally considered to represent ancestors of the later Neandertals. The site has been under excavation for the last 30 years and has provided an abundance of data on the course of human evolution in Europe, including the earliest evidence for human funerary behavior in the archaeological record. An overview of the discoveries and the significance of the site will be presented, along with some discussion of the latest findings.

The Ninth Clan—Exploring Apachean Origins in the Promontory Caves, Utah

September 16, 2015. University of Calgary Room ES 162. 7:30pm

Dr. Jack Ives, University of Alberta

Twentieth century anthropologist Julian Steward concluded in the 1930s that the Promontory Caves on Great Salt Lake, Utah, contained highly suggestive evidence that Navajo or Apache ancestors had lingered briefly in the eastern Great Basin on their way between Canada and the American Southwest. Compelling though Steward’s arguments were, comparatively few archaeologists took them seriously. Today we can use the astonishing array of perishable materials (including hundreds of moccasins, as well as mittens, other clothing, basketry, bows, arrows, and bison robes) from Steward’s as well as our own more recent excavations in the Promontory Caves to illustrate how Steward was indeed correct, and how Dene ancestors originally from the Subarctic had begun their transformation toward historic Navajo and Apache cultural identities.