2018 Conference Session Submissions

Proposed 2018 Conference Sessions

A Call to Action: Gauging Canadian Archaeology’s Response to the Coastal Erosion Crisis

The inundation and erosion of shorelines due to sea level rise and climate change has been characterized as a global archaeological crisis. With the longest coastline in the world, Canada sits at the apex of this dilemma. For the Indigenous Nations of Canada, this destruction represents a heritage catastrophe appalling in its scope – and one difficult to address within current funding paradigms and initiatives. The loss of an archaeological past has dire implications for Indigenous peoples seeking to assert their culture, heritage, history, and rights. A morning session of papers will reveal a snapshot of the scope of the erosion catastrophe, and Canada’s current response to it. The afternoon will be devoted to a workshop aimed at answering the following questions: What is the nature of the challenge we are facing? Is the current level of response adequate? What strategies have proved successful? Is a national program needed to address the crisis?  How should Indigenous perspectives, aims, and personnel be integrated into the management and execution of the program? How might a national strategy co-exist with current academic, provincial, territorial, and Indigenous initiatives?

  • Matthew W. Betts, Canadian Museum of History

This is an open session for bioarchaeology presentations that seeks to recognize and acknowledge the importance and sensitivity of working with the skeletal remains of individuals from all archaeological time periods across Canada. Bioarchaeologists must work closely with descendent communities, archaeologists, and other stakeholders, to ensure that the individuals whose remains with which they work are fairly represented and cared for appropriately. There is much to learn from the people that came before, yet bioarchaeologists are not the voice of these people. Instead bioarchaeologists have the unique opportunity to facilitate the telling of the stories of ancient people through respectful, transparent and collaborative partnerships. This session encourages submission of abstracts that highlight ongoing projects, the results of past projects and the development of partnerships.As the theme for this year's meeting is "Where the Spirit Resides", it is important to recognize that one place the spirit resides is in the physical body. Skeletal remains therefore hold special significance and deserve appropriate respectful care. In this regard, the repatriation of ancestors of Indigenous groups is an important step towards reconciliation. Abstracts that can address aspects of this are strongly encouraged.

  • Emily Holland
Canadian Pre-Columbian Archaeology in Cuba

The Archaic Age in the Caribbean is estimated to have lasted between 5000 BCE and 200 BCE, characterized by a marine-based subsistence with no food production. However, results of Cuban-Canadian research project developed during the last 10 years build a more complex picture of Archaic Age groups in the Greater Antilles. Rigorous application of scientific techniques to skeletal material and archaeological remains from several sites from Matanzas and Granma provinces demonstrate very early use of (exotic and local) cultivated plants, the concurrent existence of two different subsistence systems in the western parts of Cuba, and a survival of these groups till the end of the 1st millennium CE.In this session, participants will be presenting – and discussing the implications of – new data collected through archaeological, bioarchaeological, paleoethnobotanical, isotope analysis, bathymetric, and linguistic studies conducted on the island of Cuba, and explore the problems of migration and exchange within the Greater Antilles and between the islands and the mainland (Central America). Introducing novel research results from Cuba will invigorate current discussions and provide a blueprint for better understanding of Archaic Age societies and of the peopling of the Greater Antilles.

  • Ivan Roksandic, University of Winnipeg
  • Yadira Chinique de Armas, University of Winnipeg
Collaborations and Corroborations in CRM

Any successful person will say that they couldn’t have done it without the help of a few friends. Consulting archaeology is no different; we often find ourselves collaborating with people from First Nations, and/or other companies, disciplines, and industries, as well as applying new technologies that are not as regularly used in archaeology. This can result in better results and/or improved relations, making what we do that much greater. This session will bring together recent collaborations in CRM, showing how working together can help provide further evidence (corroborations) to those answers that we seek.

  • Margarita J. de Guzman, M.A., Circle CRM Group Inc.
Digital Heritage as Disruptive Technology

Disruptive technologies are technological innovations that upset existing networks supporting the ways that things have traditionally been done. This session explores how digital technologies are “disrupting” the ways we document, manage, access, and even perceive tangible and intangible heritage. What implications do such transformations have for heritage agencies, museums, Indigenous communities, and archaeologists? Topics of relevance include methodological advances in digitally capturing and mobilizing traditional knowledge; digitally preserving large and small-scale heritage sites using UAV’s and terrestrial laser scanners; using point cloud data to identify and track changes impacting heritage resources; designing and developing online archives and metadata schemes for managing digital heritage data; 3D replication and reconstruction of heritage resources; and virtual exhibits and online tours as tools for repatriating objects and knowledge. We are interested in papers exploring these and other theoretical and methodological issues surrounding digital heritage, and welcome case studies from across Canada and around the world.

  • Peter C. Dawson, University of Calgary
  • Scott Hamilton, Lakehead University
Historicizing the Present: Canadian Perspectives in Late Historical and Contemporary Archaeology

With increasing archaeological interest in the recent past, the archaeology of the contemporary world has developed in recent years into a legitimate subfield of archaeology which seeks to develop a material understanding of the sociopolitical and economic history of the late 20th and early 21st century. Themes such as social housing, homelessness, poverty, and exclusion, which disproportionately affect First Nations people in Canada, have emerged as particularly salient; the field also provides a unique context for thinking about heritage policies, migration, tourism, public and collaborative projects, centered on the relationship of contemporaneity between the archaeologist and her or his research community. For this session, we would like to extend an invitation to contemporary archaeologists working creatively on a Canadian topic or from a Canadian institution. Our focus is on the period between the end of the Second World War and the present, and particularly on the impact of the welfare state and subsequent rise of neoliberalism on the wellbeing of contemporary societies, and especially First Nations groups. Papers focusing on earlier topics that bear on the recent past and the present are welcome.

  • Paulina Scheck (paulina.scheck@mail.utoronto.ca), University of Toronto
  • Francisco Rivera Amaro (f.riveraamaro@gmail.com), Université de Montréal
Innovation and Agriculture at the Lockport Site: New Analyses to Re-examine Old Ideas About Pre-contact Farming in Southern Manitoba.

This session is devoted to sharing the results and insights gained through recent innovative research on the Lockport site (EaLf-1). The Lockport site exhibits the best evidence for maize farming by ancestral Indigenous groups prior to European settlement in Western Canada. Domesticated and local native plant species comprised local subsistence systems. E. Leigh Syms (Curator emeritus, Manitoba Museum) and Coleen Rajotte, noted Cree film producer, initiated a large-scale project to document pre-contact farming practices in southern Manitoba focusing on the Lockport site. To support the documentary, the University of Manitoba ran a field school to collect archaeological and archaeobotanical data. Students gained further experience analyzing artifacts and floral remains through coursework at the University of Manitoba. Researchers at the University of Manitoba and Lakehead University conducted cutting-edge research using biochemical, advance microscopic, and petrographic analyses documenting new and exciting facets of subsistence practices, artifact construction and decision making processes. We invite contributions by researchers and students involved in the project that focus on specific analyses and resulting information, experiences of students- from fieldwork to lab work to participating in a documentary, or research focused on pre-contact farming practices or general lifeways as expressed by materials from the Lockport site. 

  • Sara Halwas Ph.D., University of Manitoba
  • E. Leigh Syms, Ph.D. C.M., Curator Emertitus, Manitoba Museum
Learning from the Ancestors II: Collaboration and Community Engagement

In recent decades, repatriation debates have forced heritage practitioners around the world to confront the problematic pasts of their disciplines. Protective heritage legislation and policy has since offered a means to return Indigenous heritage and ancestors. But without a clear path forward, these discussions have sometimes exacerbated existing tensions between Indigenous communities and researchers. Explosive cases like Kennewick Man, or the Ancient One, demonstrate this. However, collaborative projects offer an opportunity to address both problematic disciplinary pasts and build productive, mutually beneficial relationships. Well known cases like Kwäd̖āy Dän Ts’ínch̖i in Canada or the On Your Knees Cave project in the US offer examples of the potential benefits for both researchers and community partners involved. Building from a recent session held at the University of Calgary’s Chacmool conference in 2017, this session will continue to explore a diverse group of projects in North America that actively collaborate and engage with Indigenous communities in the care, scientific study, and repatriation of ancestors and their belongings.

  • Chelsea Meloche, Simon Fraser University
  • Katherine Nichols, Simon Fraser University
  • Laure Spake, Simon Fraser University
Reclaiming the Past: Community-Led Archaeology and Collections Management

This session presents an opportunity for community members and researchers to share stories of collaboration and community-led projects. As the topic of truth and reconciliation within archaeology becomes increasingly important, so too does the need for respectful, open communication and strategies to transition the discussion into actions. Transparency within archaeology as well as in museums, that house ancestors and material culture of Indigenous communities, is essential in developing pragmatic, culturally sensitive methods and policies. That viewpoint will allow the opportunity for archaeologists and Indigenous communities to move forward together. Topics of discussion may include: repatriation; the accessibility of museum collections to Indigenous communities; reconciliation through collections and exhibit management; and the digitization, sharing, as well as returning of knowledge about communities to them. Stories concerning the evolution of narrative, examples of partnerships and community-directed projects in which archaeologists act as facilitators, in addition to how to begin and maintain these important conversations are welcomed. If time allows, this session will be followed by a moderated round-table discussion enabling the opportunity to share ideas generated during the session.

  • Kayleigh Speirs, Rainy River First Nations
  • Tasha Hodgson, Rainy River First Nations
Tell Us About Your Rocks!: An Exchange of Ideas and Lithic Raw Materials

Many archaeologically recovered lithic materials tend to be erroneously categorized during the cataloguing process.  These decisions often occur due to limited comparative collections, misunderstanding of regional geological formations, and only well-known types being published in the literature.  Furthermore, some archaeological rocks and minerals look very similar superficially, and without geochemical testing, can be misidentified.  Since the range and variability of lithic raw materials is not well known to many individuals, it can be difficult to properly identify them if tools are made from either a local or distant source.  In order to gain a better understanding of the range and variability of lithic raw materials, this session will provide an opportunity for attendees to do an informal presentation about their region, bring local materials to display, discuss, and exchange, as well as participate in a flintknapping workshop.  Attendees are encouraged to bring labeled specimens for exchange, unidentified stone artifacts for some opinions on material type, and flintknapping kits.

  • Clarence Surette, Lakehead University
Testing the Waters: Fathoming the Archaeology of Lake Systems in the Canadian Boreal Forest

Indigenous peoples have inhabited the Canadian boreal forest since plants and animals first spread into the ecozone following deglaciation. It is this landscape where people adapted through time to become the diverse groups that are present today. One of the most striking and significant characteristics of this hinterland is the thousands of large freshwater lakes that have often been overlooked from a cultural perspective. Archaeology, ethnohistory, and oral history demonstrate that along with the other waterways that connect them, these lakes were, and still are, an essential part of Indigenous peoples’ transportation networks. Even more importantly, lakes continue to be places that people inhabit for longer periods of time and repeatedly (i.e., representing their homes, ceremonial centres, grocery stores, banks, and other important locales). In this session, presenters will celebrate these significant Canadian subarctic geographic features and the landscape, cultures, and history associated with them.

  • Scott Neilsen, Department of Archaeology, Labrador Institute, Grenfell, Memorial University
  • Jill Taylor-Hollings, Department of Anthropology, Lakehead University
Unsettling Archaeology

This session frames "unsettling" archaeology in the broadest possible sense. It is, in part, about rethinking archaeological practice to move it away from the colonial history of our discipline and make it more inclusive. It is also about shaking up our traditional approaches and interpretations, highlighting "activist" archaeological research that promotes social change, and identifying areas where archaeological practice and knowledge construction continue to marginalize some elements of the population. We invite contributions that highlight archaeological research that challenges accepted methods and understandings, aims to correct stereotypes (past and/or present), or promotes social change in the present. We also welcome analyses and personal narratives that illustrate how certain individuals or groups are marginalized within the discipline, thereby highlighting the need for change.

  • Laura Kelvin, Memorial University
  • Lisa Hodgetts, University of Western Ontario
Where the Spirit Resides in Northern Prehistory

There has been a long interest in understanding the workings of non-human agency in anthropology, from early debates about animism and totemism to more recent archaeological theorizing about “things.” The topic remains pertinent because many cultures do not narrowly demarcate between inanimate and animate, natural and supernatural, the physical and the spiritual. This is certainly true for the native inhabitants of subarctic and arctic North America, who shared a landscape with non-human persons, spirits, and animate objects for millennia. This session offers case studies and theoretical papers that identify and examine the entangled relations between people and these non-humans in the archaeological record. Papers are welcomed that explore these relationships wherever they occur: on the landscape, in hunting and gathering, food preparation, consumption, and discard, the crafting and use of technology, settlement and household organization, caching, burial, and ritual.

  • Donald H. Holly Jr., Eastern Illinois University & Memorial University