50th Annual Meeting of the Canadian Archaeological Association: 2017 Ottawa-Gatineau, Ontario May 10–13, 2017

Proposed 2017 Conference Sessions


The Prospects and Limits for Core and Auger Sampling in Archaeology: a Cross-Canada Survey

Organizers : Aubrey Cannon (McMaster), Brent Suttee (Archaeological Services Branch, Province of New Brunswick)

The use of coring and augering devices, both manual and mechanical, is a widespread practice in CRM and academic archaeology, but there remains little systematic or comparative evaluation of the effectiveness of these methods as alternatives or complements to traditional excavation or site-testing methods. Their time-saving efficiency and area and depth coverage in the field have to be weighed against the requirements for sample analysis and the constraints imposed by the examination of limited volumes of matrix. Focusing on particular case studies, this session brings together archaeologists employing core and auger sampling in CRM and academic research projects across Canada to highlight the results, advantages, and limitations (regulatory, technical, and interpretive) of these as primary methods of site and regional investigation. The contributors explicitly evaluate the efficacy of core and auger sampling and subsequent analysis for the acquisition of archaeological knowledge and understanding.

Contactez : Cora Woolsey

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Research and Cultural Resource Management in Parks Canada’s Heritage Places

Organizers: Martin Perron (Parks Canada, Gatineau) and Donalee Deck (Parks Canada, Winnipeg)

This session invites presentations on research and cultural resource management work that have occurred across the country within Parks Canada’s diverse national parks, national historic sites and marine conservation areas. The session will showcase the work that has resulted from federal infrastructure projects, heritage conservation and collaborations with our Indigenous partners on traditional land use and traditional knowledge in documenting and interpreting archaeological resources to enhance our understanding of thousands of years of dynamic cultural history.

Contact: Donalee Deck

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Questioning Canadian Archaeology

Organizer: Jerimy J. Cunningham (University of Lethbridge)

Canadian archaeology is most conventionally associated with the study of the archaeological record found within Canada’s national boundaries. However, for the occasion of the 50th Anniversary of the Canadian Archaeological Association, this session aims to invite reflections on whether Canadian archaeologists working at home or abroad have any distinct theoretical, methodological, or ethical tendencies in their research. In other words, after fifty years of the CAA, can we reasonably speak of a “Canadian” approach to archaeology? To address this question, we solicit contributions from scholars who wish to explore the social, political and economic contexts for Canadian Archaeology today or at any point in its history, including analyses of how archaeological training, historical resources legislation, or programs of funding in Canada may have produced distinct theoretical and/or ethical tendencies. Does the location of Canadian Archaeology on the alleged peripheries of many dominant theoretical developments in archaeological theory (i.e., processual, post-processual, logicist) give it unique standpoints? We encourage contributions from both archaeologist working in Canada and scholars researching and/or employed abroad, and especially hope to receive case studies in both official languages that highlight key themes.

Contact: Jerimy J. Cunningham

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Canadian Perspectives on Zooarchaeology

Organizer: Christyann Darwent (University of California, Davis)

In 1992, the journal Canadian Zooarchaeology was first published by Dr. Kathyn Stewart. From 1993 through 1998, a series of papers were published summarizing research on zooarchaeology across the various regions of Canada (see below). Given this is the 50th anniversary of the Canadian Archaeological Association and 25 years since Canadian Zooarchaeology was initially published, this session will focus on zooarchaeology in Canada and by Canadians. How have new theoretical perspectives (e.g., niche construction, conservation biology) and methodological approaches (e.g., aDNA, isotopic analysis) influenced zooarchaeological research? This session will allow zooarchaeologists to come together and share their current research and historical perspective on Canadian zooarchaeology.

Contact: Christyann Darwent

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Current Research in BC Archaeology

Organizers: Thomas C.A Royle (Simon Fraser University) & Travis D. Crowell (Simon Fraser University)

Archaeology has a long history in British Columbia, spanning over a hundred years. Early foundational studies in the region focused on constructing regional cultural-historical frameworks that documented changes in subsistence strategies, technology, settlement patterns, and social structure. Although these studies are useful tools for exploring cultural variation at broad-scales, they can obscure the heterogeneity of local histories. Where deviation from regional trends were once classified as oddities, new research projects are demonstrating that culturally-meaningful variation was commonplace throughout British Columbia. Papers in this session will seek to add to this growing body of research by showing how new methods and interpretive avenues are illuminating British Columbia’s dynamic cultural mosaic.

Contact: Travis D. Crowell

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Methodological Challenges, Logistical Nightmares and Untold Stories: CRM Contributions to Urban Archaeology

Organizer: Peter Timmins (Western University/TMHC)

In recent years, urban archaeology has emerged as significant focus of Canadian cultural resource management. Conducting archaeological assessments and excavations in urban cores involves numerous methodological, logistical and regulatory challenges. In some jurisdictions, the archaeological potential of brownfields and other urban spaces is not recognized by provincial or municipal authorities and the potential for urban archaeology remains unrealized. When such potential is recognized, specific standards for research on land use history, assessment methods, site testing, and excavation in urban contexts are often poorly defined or may not exist. Further, the analysis and curation of the extensive artifact collections from urban projects significantly increases their cost. Yet recent experience has shown that these projects have enormous potential to further our understanding of both the Indigenous and Euro-Canadian history of urban spaces while engaging broad audiences and specific interest groups. This session will explore a variety of case studies that highlight the methodological, logisticaland regulatory challenges of urban projects and/or reveal untold stories of the history of urban places.

Contact : Peter Timmins

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Archaeology of the Franklin Expedition: Now What?

Organizers: Ryan Harris (Parks Canada) & Martin Magne (Parks Canada, Retired)

What is in store following the discoveries of HMS Erebus and HMS Terror? This full-day session describes ongoing archaeological research by terrestrial and underwater research teams, the design of studies to begin in 2017, museum exhibit preparations, school and public outreach programmes, co-management planning, material culture investigations, artifact conservation, as well as logistical, recording, and data manipulation challenges and solutions. The Franklin Expedition archaeological project is coordinated in the context of multi-jurisdictional regimes, and reflecting this, contributions will be made by federal, territorial, and academic experts.

Contact : Martin Magne

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The State of Cultural Resources Management in Canada

Organizers: Robin Woywitka (Archaeological Survey of Alberta) & Jenny Lewis (Kleanza Consulting Ltd.)

Cultural Resources Management (CRM) projects account for the majority of archaeological work in Canada. Because there is no Federal heritage legislation or a national CRM professional association, practitioners in each of the ten Provinces and three Territories tend to operate within their own jurisdictional silos. However, there are many common challenges and goals that are of national relevance, and formal discussion of these topics across borders can benefit the entire Canadian CRM community. This session will examine the history of CRM in the country, and the challenges that face CRM in Canada today. Papers will focus on “big picture” aspects of CRM such as existing regulatory frameworks, professional standards, data management and dissemination, indigenous engagement, advances in field methods, integration with academia, and future goals. There will be a panel discussion of invited speakers at the conclusion of the paper presentations.

Contact : Robin Woywitka

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Foundations of Canadian Archaeology: The Role of Early Collectors and Antiquarians in Regional Research

Organizer: Lisa Rankin (Memorial University of Newfoundland)

In most parts of Canada, the history of archaeological research features prominent, late 19th or early 20th century figures who made significant collections of artifacts and information relating to the archaeological history of Indigenous People and Europeans. Some of the collections were published in one form or another, and many were deposited in public museums or archives. These early collections and publications underpin the development of modern archaeology across Canada. At the same time, they have occasionally had the effect of mis-directing subsequent archaeological research, or discouraging alternate interpretations of the past. In this session, archaeologists from across the country will offer insights into the ways in which the objects and information documented and preserved by these early collectors, stimulated, or hampered, modern archaeological research, and our understanding of Canada’s past.

Contact: Lisa Rankin

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Recent Paleoindian Research in the Great Lakes/Northeast

Organizers: Chris Ellis (University of Western Ontario) & Robert von Bitter

This session presents recent research on the earliest well-documented archaeological sites in the Great Lakes/Northeast that will facilitate information exchange between researchers on both sides of the Canada-USA border. It provides a forum for researchers to share and explore an exploding Paleoindian information base that is being revealed through research on previously unreported sites as well as the continuing documentation and analysis of long known sites and collections. These new data, combined with a substantial data base amassed over 60 years of research, allows well-grounded, insights into many long standing issues and to the development of refined, more nuanced syntheses/explanations, relating to temporal/spatial frameworks, lithic technological strategies and organization, the intra-site spatial organization of activities, inter-assemblage variability and patterns of landscape use.

Contact: Robert von Bitter

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Take this Job and Shovel It Better: Methodological Frontiers in Consulting Archaeology

Organizer: Elizabeth C. Robertson (Circle CRM Group Inc.)

Consulting archaeology works in a space defined by the legislation which mandates its existence and the needs of the industries and developers who require its services. As such, its methods are driven not only by generally accepted standards for professional archaeology, but also by the regulatory frameworks within which it operates, as well as the scheduling and logistical requirements of its client base. Consulting archaeology therefore is strongly motivated to find optimal and efficient strategies both in its use of traditional field and laboratory methods and in its adoption of new and innovative techniques. This session will provide a forum to explore the opportunities and the issues presented by this situation; it welcomes not only the perspectives of consulting archaeologists, but also those of government, academic and other colleagues concerned with the improvement of methods in all aspects of consulting archaeology.

Contact: Elizabeth C. Robertson

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What’s in a Name: Conventional Canadian Culture Histories

Organizers: Scott Neilsen (Memorial University of Newfoundland) & Matthew Beaudoin (Timmins Martelle Heritage Consultants Inc.)

Culture history often forms the cornerstones of archaeological practice, interpretation, and dissemination. How a site is recognized, excavated, interpreted, and reported are all influenced and informed by the local cultural historical conventions and practices. Characteristically, the cultural historical frameworks in most areas of Canada are regionally specific and have not drastically changed since their initial conception. These facts mean that our basic interpretive conventions are potentially premised on outdated or tenuous frameworks that make country-wide discussions difficult. The papers of this session highlight and critique some of the longstanding conventions that have emerged over the last 50 years of Canadian archaeology, and provide some suggestions of how to improve these conventions for the future.

Contact: Scott Neilsen

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Arctic Architecture: Context, Construction, and Meaning

Organizer: Max Friesen (University of Toronto)

From diffuse tent rings to deep semi-subterranean houses, the Arctic holds a great diversity of dwelling remains. Some unique regional phenomena such as snow block construction and entrance tunnels are linked mainly to environmental factors, while others such as axial features and selective incorporation of whale bones relate more closely to ideational variables. Dwellings have often been the focus of archaeological attention, due to their status as reservoirs of social, technological, and economic information. However, despite impressive advances over the past decades, we are still learning how best to approach their excavation and description, and how to coax them to divulge their occupants’ stories. This session is intended to bring together the full range of research relating to Arctic dwellings - from detailed descriptions of dwelling form and construction techniques, to studies concerned with reconstructing the spatial activities, social lives, and world views of their occupants.

Contact: Max Friesen

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Indigenous Engagement in Heritage Resource Management

Organizer: Whitney Spearing (Williams Lake Indian Band / Sugarcane Archaeology)

Legal, ethical, and practical mandates for indigenous engagements in Heritage Resource Management (HRM) continue to grow and diversify in conjunction with expansions of natural resource industries and other land alterations in Canada and abroad. Indigenous engagement issues range from climate change adaptation, cultural site conservation, and environmental justice to benefits sharing, job creation, capacity building, and government decision making in an age of neoliberalism. This session will explore how and to what ends indigenous communities engage with HRM professionals and projects. We will examine tensions between resource management and heritage stewardship regimes; challenges from and solutions to logistical, ethical, and political complexities; disposition of artifacts and human remains; and the emergence of new policy standards and guidance from Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the U.N. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The session is intended to stimulate and encompass discussions across jurisdictional, geographical, cultural, and disciplinary contexts as means to expand indigenous engagement in and beyond HRM archaeology.

Contact: Whitney Spearing

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Radiocarbon and Archaeology in Canada: Challenges, Advancements, and Datasets

Organizers: Grant Zazula (Yukon Government Palaeontology Program) & Carley Crann (A.E. Lalonde AMS Laboratory)

Archaeology is a discipline rooted in the past. Without accurate and reliable chronology, many hypotheses about human history are left as conjecture. For much of the archaeological record, radiocarbon dating is the primary means to determine when events happened and how those events correlate with others at a local and regional scale. From the study of the first people in the Americas during the Pleistocene, to establishing regional Holocene culture histories, radiocarbon dating is a key component of most contemporary archaeological research.

There have been many methodological advancements in the field of radiocarbon dating in recent decades. With the advent of AMS (Accelerator Mass Spectrometry) and ability to directly date very small samples, radiocarbon dating has become a routine part of archaeological investigations. However, not all radiocarbon data can be taken at face value and caution must be taken when interpreting radiocarbon results. Advancements in collagen preparation such as ultrafiltration techniques, and dating of single amino acids or bulk amino acids, have made radiocarbon dating of bone much more reliable. The statistical treatment of radiocarbon dates now enables researchers to pin-point dates and correlate them more precisely than ever.

This session invites contributions on methods and application of radiocarbon dates and datasets to problems in archaeology and associated paleoenvironments. We especially encourage presentations that discuss radiocarbon dating in an interdisciplinary context. Presentations on the history of radiocarbon dating, especially in Canada, are also encouraged. This session is also intended to highlight the new A.E. Lalonde AMS Laboratory at the University of Ottawa which hosts Canada’s only accelerator mass spectrometer.

Contact: Grant Zazula, Carley Crann

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Public Archaeology

Organizer: Courtney Cameron  (Cameron Heritage Consulting)

Public Archaeology is not a new idea, but it is constantly evolving and is an important means of advocacy for the discipline. This session is dedicated to all aspects of public archaeology in Canada including the evaluation and ethics associated with public archaeology programs. Public Archaeology includes, but is not limited to: Archaeologists working with the public (community archaeology and heritage projects run by museums, and universities); Archaeology by the public (local archaeological societies, avocational/amateur archaeologists and independent scholars); Archaeological Education (Formal and informal learning about archaeology in schools, museums, online and other platforms); Open archaeology (archaeological work that is made publicly accessible through viewing platforms, webcams, guides or interpretive materials); and Popular archaeology (television, museums, books magazines, and websites about archaeology).

Contact: Courtney Cameron

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Digital Futures: Methods and Theory in Canadian Archaeology

Organizers: Katherine Cook (University of Victoria) & Neha Gupta (Memorial University of Newfoundland)

Geospatial, digital and Web-based tools are central to carrying out research and communicating of archaeological information in a globalized world. Until recently, the accumulation and management of digital archaeological data have been the primary focus of archaeologists, overlooking opportunities to broaden the scope of digital methods. At the same time, this wealth of information, coupled with the technical skills to create virtual realities and 3D models from digital data and to print cultural heritage for display outside of their intellectual and social contexts raises ethical challenges for archaeologists, heritage management professionals and descendant communities alike.

This session calls on scholars to begin addressing a digital future of the past in which the accumulation of digital data is not the only task facing Canadian archaeologists, broadly defined. In recognition of the 50th anniversary of the CAAs, we draw attention to the want for meaningful processing, ownership and interpretation of digital archaeological information. How can digital methods challenge colonial practices in archaeology? How do we engage members of marginalized communities with digital heritage? What skills, tools and technologies will Canadian archaeologists, heritage professionals and indigenous peoples require to lead Canada into the digital future? This session critically assesses how to improve the ways in which we examine and communicate the past, how best to train archaeologists in open digital research, and to enhance and promote Canadian innovation locally, nationally and internationally.

Contact: Katherine Cook

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Remote Sensing in Canadian Archaeology

Organizers: Scott Hamilton (Lakehead University) & Terry Gibson (Western Heritage Inc.)

While remote sensing has been widely applied as an archaeological prospecting and site characterization tool, it is surprisingly under-developed in Canada. This reflects equipment cost and data interpretation issues, the ephemeral nature of cultural features of interest to Canadian archaeologists, and also the focus of conventional archaeological training in the country. This session seeks to feature diverse methods and their archaeological fieldwork application, preferably as case studies. This might include near-surface geophysics, geochemistry, geoarchaeology, sonar and aerial imaging.

Papers should address archaeological application, methodological strengths and weaknesses, and their effectiveness in improving comprehension of archaeological sites, their contents and surrounding geographic contexts.

Contact: Scott Hamilton

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Forensic Archaeology in Canada: From Crime Scenes to Court Rooms

Organizer: Janet Young (Canadian Museum of History)

This symposium will focus on the use of archaeological techniques in criminal investigations in Canada and how their implementation may vary between the provinces and territories. Through individual experiences of archaeologists and law enforcement personnel trained in archaeological techniques - practices, policies, and procedures will be identified, compared, and contrasted to develop a broadened understanding of the role of forensic archaeology in Canada.

Contact: Janet Young

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Celebrating Canadian Participation in Belizean Archaeology: 50 Years and Still Going Strong!

Organizers: Arianne Boileau (University of Florida) & Meaghan Peuramaki-Brown (Athabasca University)

The archaeological connection between Canada and Belize can be traced back to the 1960s, when the Royal Ontario Museum undertook excavations at Baking Pot and Altun Ha. In the 50-some years since, Canadian archaeologists working in Belize have tackled numerous big-picture questions to document the life of the ancient Maya of the eastern lowlands, including socio-environmental dynamics, the rise and fall of city-states, the display of social inequalities, responses to climate change, settlement patterns, culture contact, and diet. A diverse set of methods, including ceramic and lithic analysis, zooarchaeology, stable isotope analysis, ethnography, and settlement survey, have been used to address these and many other questions. Canadian institutions have also invested heavily in the training of future archaeologists by establishing archaeological field schools at several Maya sites in Belize. These field schools, along with a number of purely research oriented projects, have provided opportunities for graduate students to conduct their own research. Finally, a close working relationship has been developed with the Belize Institute of Archaeology (formerly Department of Archaeology), in particular through the education of and cooperation with Belizean archaeologists and administrators regarding cultural resource management and tourism. To celebrate the roads that Canada and Belize have travelled together, this session will highlight how Canadian archaeologists (from Canada or in Canada) have successfully developed research programs abroad and fostered long-lasting relationships with Belizean scholars and cultural managers. It will underscore the breadth of research conducted both past and present by Canadian researchers in all stages of their academic career.

Contact: Arianne Boileau  Meaghan Peuramaki-Brown

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Archaeological Sciences

Organizer and chair : Adrian L. Burke (Université de Montréal)

This is a general session dedicated to the archaeological sciences or archaeometry.  The purpose of the session is to highlight the latest applications, among Canadian archaeologists, of new technologies and instrumentation in answering archaeological questions.  Presentations can cover any geographic area in the world and any time period.  Presenters should include basic information on the instrumentation used and precision, accuracy, limits of detection, calibrations, and any methodological challenges or constraints.  We strongly encourage presenters to also focus on the archaeological question at the root of the archaeometric analyses and how the application of new technologies or instrumentation helps to address questions of a social, political or economic nature.

Contact: Adrian L. Burke

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Carrying on Past Ethnicity: Material Culture Studies of Social Practice in the Eastern Woodlands

Organizer : Steven Dorland (University of Toronto)

Traditionally, material culture studies in the Eastern Woodlands have been grounded in frameworks that focus on placing archaeological assemblages and sites into time-space systematics to reconstruct culture histories of past peoples. More recently, research foci have shifted towards technological practices and attempts to bridge the style/function dichotomy that hinders material culture studies. Building on these discussions, this session addresses how Eastern Woodland studies are contributing to broader questions of social practice. We encourage presenters who focus on material culture studies that investigate chaine-operatoires and habitus, learning and apprentice frameworks, childhood, personhood, and gender construction.

Contact: Steven Dorland

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Hopewellian Influences, Archaic Precursors and Mound Building: The Journey into Southern Ontario

Organizers : Lawrence Jackson (Northeastern Archaeological Associates Limited) and James Conolly (Trent University)

Beginning with the earliest mound excavations of David Boyle and Henry Montgomery in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, Southern Ontario has seen a number of research-driven excavations of Middle Woodland period mounds and associated mortuary activities. An improved engagement framework has led to First Nation communities becoming actively engaged in protecting these sacred sites of their past, without excavation, whenever possible. Accordingly, since the 1970s, ancestral mortuary locations have been left untouched except in cases of mitigation, as at the Hastings Preston Mound Group in 2011 and Jacob Island in 2012-2016. Reduction in research-driven field programs hasn’t hindered interpretation, and the past 40 years have seen intriguing progress in our understanding of how different components of the Adena and Hopewell cultural package entered and influenced practices in Ontario. Earlier interpretative traditions explained the origins of complex mortuary programs entirely by reference to Hopewellian influences and ‘emigres’, but more recent work has considered the Archaic antecedents of local practices and how wider regional influences mapped onto local traditions. We have invited papers from within and outside of Ontario to help build understanding of the origin and context of Middle Woodland mounding tradition. We are especially interested in the use and integration of Traditional Knowledge to inform or direct interpretation of the archaeological record.

Contact:Lawrence Jackson

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