The 53rd Annual Meeting of the Canadian Archaeological Association: Edmonton May 6–9, 2020

2020 Conference Sessions

Thursday May 7, 2020

Time: 
08:00 AM
Organizer(s): 
  • John W. (Jack) Ives, Department of Anthropology, University of Alberta
Contact Email: 

Session Abstract

The Institute of Prairie Archaeology was created to conduct and promote archaeological, anthropological and interdisciplinary research relevant to the northern Plains region of western Canada and the northern United States. Its work was intended to enhance public, First Nations and Métis communities, and rural engagement with the University of Alberta in these research areas, and particularly, to provide leadership in the training of archaeologists through field schools and other professional work. Since its inception in 2008, the Institute has supported research connected with the University of Alberta archaeological field school (at both the 10,000 year old Ahai Mneh site on Transalta’s Lake Wabamun area lease and the Avonlea-Old Women’s Phase bison kill complex on the University of Alberta’s Rangeland Research Institute’s Mattheis Ranch in the Brooks area), transdisciplinary Apachean origins research with a specific focus on the rich perishable record of the Promontory caves in Utah, Early Prehistoric Period research spanning the time frame from the Western Canadian Fluted Point Database to the Cody Complex, remote-sensing and GIS based analysis of landscapes throughout western North America, paleoenvironmental studies, new research on Métis wintering sites, application of bison bone bed analytical techniques to a unique Neolithic aurochs bone bed in Jilin, China, and Besant-Sonota era investigations in Alberta, Saskatchewan, and North and South Dakota. As the Institute embarks on a new phase of activity as the Institute of Prairie and Indigenous Archaeology, the assembled papers will take stock of a highly productive decade of graduate, undergraduate and research associate research.

Friday May 8, 2020

Time: 
08:00 AM
Room: 
TBD
Organizer(s): 
  • Dr. William J. Byrne, Former Assistant Deputy Minister, Ministry of Culture, Government of Alberta
  • Dr. Raymond J. Le Blanc, Emeritus Professor, Department of Anthropology, University of Alberta
Contact Email: 

Session Abstract

This session will honour the contributions that Jack Brink has made to archaeology in Alberta and across the Northern Plains. Jack’s commitment to research, collegiality, and humour have infused his roles as former Head of the Archaeological Survey of Alberta, Curator of Archaeology at the Royal Alberta Museum, and as President of the Canadian Archaeological Association. These papers will present research that Jack has inspired or influenced, stories of encounters with Jack, and other topics that may narrowly involve this significant figure in Northern Plains archaeology.

Saturday May 9, 2020

Time: 
08:00 AM
Organizer(s): 
  • Shawn Bubel, Archaeological Society of Alberta
Contact Email: 

Session Abstract

The aim of this session is to share information about Alberta archaeology to all those interested: academics, professional working in CRM, and the general public. The Archaeological Society of Alberta (ASA) serves as a liaison between the public and the Archaeological Survey/Royal Alberta Museum. Members of the ASA help protect Alberta's cultural resources and educate people about the importance these non-renewable resources. Thus, the ASA encourages the reporting of archaeological sites and artifacts, and assists in the dissemination of archaeological discoveries and projects. Presenters in this session will share information about their recent finds, field work, and research projects relating to Alberta Archaeology. This session is open to all those interested in Alberta Archaeology, and especially welcomes students and members of the public to present and attend. 

Date/Time TBD

Organizer(s): 
  • Katherine Bishop, University of Alberta
Contact Email: 

Session Abstract

Animal remains are an important part of archaeological research. Although they were initially used to study human subsistence patterns, through quantifying minimum number of individuals or documenting species representation, the focus in recent years has been on the human-animal relationships of the past. This paradigm shift focuses on animal agency in the archaeological record and considers them as more than just food artefacts. The focus of this session is to present current approaches and research examining the complicated roles that non-human animals had in the past, both with humans and their environments. Topics focus broadly on human-animal dynamics, health, landscape use, belief systems, domestication, economy, and animal-related technologies based on faunal material recovered at sites from various spatiotemporal contexts.

Organizer(s): 
  • Kelly Monteleone, University of Calgary
  • Bryn Letham, Simon Fraser University

Session Abstract

The dynamism of coastal landscapes was a force that ancient people reckoned with and which modern populations - archaeologists included - must account for. Reconstructing ancient coastal environments helps archaeologists to better predict and understand the locations of ancient settlements and in interpreting site formation processes. Furthermore, accounting for how people experienced coastline change informs our interpretations of the past and may contribute to discussions surrounding modern-day human-coastline interactions. This session invites discussions of methods or case studies for studying Canada’s changing coasts through an archaeological lens. How has sea level change or other geomorphological transformations impacted coastal landscapes and coastal populations? What cutting-edge methods are best employed for studying the archaeological record of these landscapes? How have past and/or present perceptions of the coastal change shaped our understanding of these places?

Organizer(s): 
  • Stephanie Halmhofer, Archer CRM

Session Abstract

Popular culture reflects public interests, and with the regular appearance of archaeology and archaeologists within all types of popular culture there is no doubting the strong public interest in our field. Popular culture can provide a meeting place for archaeologists and the public. A place where gates are pushed open and ideas and knowledge can be shared. A place where the public can catch a glimpse of the world of archaeology, and where archaeologists can catch a glimpse of how our field is perceived.

This session aims to look at the relationship between archaeology and popular culture. How has archaeology influenced popular culture (e.g. the heavy influence of archaeologist Margaret Murray’s research on H.P. Lovecraft’s story, The Call of Chtulhu)? How has popular culture influenced archaeology (e.g., the role of Indiana Jones in the origin stories of many archaeologists today)? How does the appearance of archaeology in various mediums of popular culture influence public perception of our field (e.g. archaeology within video games like The Sims 4: JungleStardew Valley, and the Tomb Raider franchise)? How can archaeology in popular culture be used to educate the public about our field and the archaeologists within it (e.g., the documentary television show Wild Archaeology)? And what happens when the archaeology being shared with the public is incorrect, misappropriated, and pseudoarchaeological (e.g., television shows like Ancient Aliens and America Unearthed, books like Chariots of the Gods, and comics like Lost City Explorers)?

Organizer(s): 
  • Daniel LaPierre, Kenneth Kidd Archaeological Research Lab, Trent University
Contact Email: 

Session Abstract

Technological advances have democratized the analysis of huge suites of material culture data, providing the necessary framework for large-scale regional studies of social interaction. As the only tangible archaeological signature of social activity, material culture is a crucial aspect of archaeological studies of community interaction across time and space. The goal of this session is thus to present a range of approaches that employ big data to model community interaction through spatial and temporal analyses of material culture at the regional scale. Submissions from graduate students are encouraged.

Organizer(s): 
  • Natasha Lyons, Ursus Heritage Consulting and Simon Fraser University
  • Lisa Hodgetts, University of Western Ontario

Session Abstract

Interpretation is at the heart and soul of archaeological practice yet at times becomes a rote process. Among our interpretive sins, we may draw uncritically on ethnographic analogy, rely on the sole theoretical lens of our formative academic years, limit ourselves to particular scales of analysis, and/or create blinders to particular modes of thinking. This session provides a venue for critical reflection on archaeological meaning-making. We ask participants to both consider and unpack the rationale(s) behind their own interpretive practices and their accompanying limitations and possibilities. This process may involve high-level deconstruction of your theoretical and methodological paradigms and practices, mid-level deconstruction of your interpretive process with a compelling body of data, or re-visiting a sequence of routine small-level steps that might be re-conceived to different effect. We ask you to articulate the implications and real-world outcomes of your interpretive choices. We invite contributions from a span of geographies, specialties, and orientations (including theories, methodologies, and practitioners).

 

Organizer(s): 
  • Madeline Coleman, Tree Time Services Inc.
  • Petr Kurzybov, Western Heritage Services Inc.
  • Jody Pletz, Taiga Heritage Consulting Ltd.
Contact Email: 

Session Abstract

The Boreal forest in Canada is a challenging environment, both in the past and present, affecting how people lived, migrated, and changed their lives to adapt to these surroundings. Many of the previously discovered sites in the Boreal forest have often been smaller in size and more difficult to find than their counterparts in other regions. Over the past few decades, the Boreal forest has been represented by a variety of interesting archaeological sites and equally interesting individuals dedicated to proving that these sites are more then just dots on a map. Years of exploration in this vast landscape has facilitated changes in methodology, allowing for the discovery of not only more sites, but also larger, and more significant sites than those previously seen. This, in turn, has shifted how archaeologists have had to adapt to manage and research these unique and non-renewable resources. In this session we explore the secrets our boreal environment has revealed to those dedicated to coaxing them out: from site finds, landscape changes and people migrations to changes in the methods used for site identification and evaluation, including both successful and less fruitful results and methods. All of these avenues of research have transformed boreal archaeological sites from just dots on the map to documents worth discussing.

 

Organizer(s): 
  • The CAA Student Committee:
  • Kelsey Pennanen, University of Calgary
  • Molly Ingenmey, Memorial University of Newfoundland
  • Tekla Cunningham, University of Winnipeg
Contact Email: 

Session Abstract

To follow the theme of Where Communities Meet, this session is aimed primarily at students, early-career researchers, and those interested in gaining more presentation experience, to provide a platform for the student archaeology community to share their voice. Presenting at a conference for the first time can be nerve-wracking, especially early on, so this session will comprise shortened talks that provide experience presenting in a more informal setting. Presentations for this session can involve a research project that you may only have preliminary findings for, the results of an honour’s thesis or independent project, a research proposal in its beginning stages, a story from the field season, a short history of your favourite find to date, an archaeology book review you’ve been wanting to share, your famous archaeology field recipes, etc. The only catch is your presentation must be given in only 5 minutes, so get ready for some speed talking! As each presentation will be only 5 minutes, please practice your presentation ahead of time to make sure your timing is on. Each group of 3 presenters will then share a 5-minute question period. Presentations will be grouped based on similarity in topic matter, so please provide a general description of the topic you will be discussing, in no more than 250 words, and send it to caa.students@gmail.com. Visual components for presentations from accepted presenters, such as PowerPoint slides, will be requested at least 3 days prior to the presentation date. This will allow presentations to be compiled beforehand to allow for smoother transitions between presenters to use the short timeslots as effectively as possible. We look forward to your submission and meeting the many communities represented in archaeology!

Organizer(s): 
  • Timothy Allan, Permit Archaeologist, Tree Time Services Inc. (tim@treetime.ca)
  • Dale Fisher, Graduate Student, University of Alberta (djfisher@ualberta.ca)
  • Jolyane Saule, Graduate Student, Trent University (jolyanesaule@trentu.ca)
Contact Email: 

Session Abstract

Methods in the field of archaeological lithic analysis have been advancing rapidly in recent decades. Both destructive and non-destructive techniques, developed for geological analysis, have permitted the identification of patterns in geochemistry, mineral structure, and variations in element isotopes of lithic artifacts with ever-increasing accuracy. Archaeologists employ these analytical methods to associate lithic artifacts with procurement areas and publish findings of trade and exchange occurring in pre-contact times. More traditional methods of lithic assemblage analyses; such as morphometrics, debitage analysis, and use-wear, have drawn connections between pre-contact peoples over spans in space and time. Archaeometric publications have been generally vetted in peer-review by other archaeologists, with the occasional expert from the fields of physical science. However, conclusions presented by archaeologists can have implications on future prospects of land claim suits made by contemporary indigenous communities or nations. A discussion on the scrutiny of methods used in material studies is long overdue, with a reflection on how archaeological conclusions can impact modern indigenous nations. We propose a session to present new frontiers in the analysis of lithic materials, geologic composition and structure, material preferences of pre-contact peoples as reflected in lithic assemblages, and the interpretation of material use patterns across space and time. The intent of the session is to seek common ground between western scientific practices and contemporary Indigenous values, while recognizing that artifacts were the possessions of Indigenous people who have living descendants.


Les méthodes d’analyse lithique ont progressé rapidement au cours des dernières décennies. Tant les approches intrusives que les approches non destructives ont été utiles pour déceler des patterns dans les assemblages lithiques notamment grâce à la géochimie, à la compréhension des structures minérales ou à la variation des éléments isotopiques. Les archéologues utilisent ces méthodes analytiques, qui ne cessent de se raffiner, pour identifier des zones d'approvisionnement de matières premières et pour documenter les réseaux d’échanges. Des méthodes d'analyse plus traditionnelles, telles que la morphométrie, l’analyse de débitage ou la tracéologie, ont également contribué à la compréhension des sociétés passées. Les publications archéologiques et archéométriques sont généralement examinées par des pairs, avec l’ajout occasionnel d’experts en sciences de la terre, mais les conclusions présentées par les archéologues peuvent avoir des implications importantes sur les enjeux  actuels, particulièrement en ce qui concerne les revendications territoriales intentées par des communautés autochtones contemporaines. Ainsi, une discussion sur l'examen des méthodes utilisées dans les études lithiques est de mise et une attention particulière doit être portée à l'impact que les conclusions archéologiques peuvent avoir sur les nations autochtones d’aujourd’hui. Nous proposons une session pour présenter les nouvelles frontières de l'analyse des matériaux lithiques et de leur interprétation. L’objectif de la session est de trouver un terrain d’entente afin d’harmoniser les pratiques scientifiques occidentales et les valeurs autochtones contemporaines en plus de souligner que les artéfacts au cœur de la discussion étaient et sont les biens des peuples autochtones et de leurs descendants.

Organizer(s): 
  • Laurence Ferland, Université Laval
  • Simon Paquin, Université de Montréal

Session Abstract

Living in ‘the self proclaimed age of humans’ means living in multiple paradoxes. One of them is the lucid paralysis one experiences while figuring how to act upon the climate crisis.  We know our comfortable though imperfect world will never be the same. Yet even in this position, “knowing the facts doesn’t help [us] imagine the truth”, as John Green notes on his podcast, “The Anthropocene Reviewed”. Green could not be more accurate. We therefore need the power of storytelling and the cautionary tales emerging from the archaeological record to translate data from the social and natural sciences into clear and relatable pictures. It will help achieve the purpose of the archaeological discipline in writing culturally impactful stories resonating with inhabitants of the Anthropocene. Through storytelling, archaeologists can advocate for change and suggest solutions involving the humanities that are based in social theories, material theories, and literature for example. We now need to step in to tell, and widely tell, of our world in mutation. That involves the actualisation of ancient stories to find meaningful elements that can be levers for change in people’s worldview and behaviors. This also involves reaching out politically, valuing public outreach and popularisation, and assuming a role of leadership in a crisis that is essentially social and not the sole burden of climate scientists.

We therefore invite our fellow archaeologists to step in and present the cautionary tale their work brings to light, public outreach projects involving the telling of said cautionary tales, and papers exploring theoretical frameworks allowing the exploration of relationships and bridges between life in the Past and life in the (current) Anthropocene.

Organizer(s): 
  • Christian D. Thomas

Session Abstract

Mountains dominate the geography of western North America and evoke a sense of supernatural beauty encompassing a vast wilderness. A landscape of peaks and valleys, ecologically structured in vertical relief. Throughout human history the mountainous regions of the world were also cultural spaces where knowledge systems have guided people’s persistent relationship with mountain ecosystems and resources. And since the cordillera of Canada was born out of glacial ice 13,000 years ago, it too has been a cultural landscape. In this session, we propose to examine the human relationship with the mountains of Canada from the earliest histories of Indigenous People, through confederation and into recent times. Topics to be discussed include First Peopling of mountains, cultural landscapes, sacred spaces, resource utilization, development and exploitation, glacial archaeology, the development of traditional and colonial infrastructure, as well as the establishment of parks and protected spaces.

Contact Email: 

Session Abstract

SESSION CANCELLED

Any abstracts already submitted to this session will be re-assigned to another, related, session.

Organizer(s): 
  • Anatolijs Venovcevs, UiT - The Arctic University of Norway
  • Julia Brenan, Memorial University of Newfoundland

Session Abstract

While the last 50 years witnessed increasing development of contemporary archaeology around the world, this uptake has been relatively slow in Canada. Although disciplines like geography, anthropology, sociology, history, and folklore have tackled the remains of the recent past, archaeology’s methodological and theoretical approaches provide a unique hands-on perspective to the study of things in the present. This present has been labelled in multiple ways (e.g., late capitalism, supermodernity, the Great Acceleration, the Anthropocene) but it is generally defined by a collective knowing that the last fifty to a hundred years are somehow different from before. This difference requires a direct archaeological engagement with the contemporary period as a whole, which in turn has the power to inform the broader discipline. Therefore, this session seeks to bring together archaeologists who engage with the contemporary period from across Canada and beyond with the goal of creating a broader dialogue around theories and methods used to engage with the recent past. Topics can include, but are not limited to: modern ruins and rubble, pollution and toxic legacies, built twentieth century environments, family archaeology, cultural heritage management of twentieth and twenty-first century sites, recent Indigenous experiences within and outside the colonial systems, twentieth century military sites, plastics and modern garbage, and legacies of anthropogenic climate change. Through the meeting of a broad variety of theoretical and methodological approaches, the session seeks to spur a lively discussion of what an archaeology of the present looks like and how it can develop in the future. Papers are asked to reflect on what makes contemporary archaeology a unique sub-discipline in archaeology and how it shifts the priorities, methodologies, and modes of research communication within the field.

Organizer(s): 
  • Krista Gilliland, Western Heritage

Session Abstract

At conferences, poster sessions are the great equalizer. From students to seasoned professionals, and from all aspects of the discipline (academic, consultant, avocational, and hobbyist), the poster session brings various groups together to provide a forum for fellowship, networking, and the exchange of ideas.

The conference poster session was a favourite of the late Dr. Terry Gibson, a leader in the use of magnetometry, innovative technologies, and a scientific approach in consulting archaeology. He was inspired and energized by meeting new people from all walks of life, the exchange of ideas, and reminiscing with friends and colleagues. Those who chatted with him at conferences often walked away having made a new friend or mentor, found inspiration, or were challenged to rethink their ideas.

It is with this spirit of creativity, community, and enthusiasm that Western Heritage is sponsoring a poster session in honour of the memory of one of our founding members. Researchers from all aspects of archaeology or history and from all career stages are encouraged to present. Conference participants are invited to attend the session, meet some new presenters, talk with old friends, and discuss some novel ideas. Visit ‘Terry’s Corner’ for a retrospective on some of the key projects over the course of his career, and have a drink in his memory.

Organizer(s): 
  • Kurtis Blaikie-Birkigt, Tree Time Services Inc.
  • Krista Gilliland, Western Heritage Services Inc.
  • Grzegorz Kwiecien, Taiga Heritage Consulting Ltd.

Session Abstract

Sandy landforms, such as hills, dunes, sheets, and even small-scale localized sandy deposits, tend to be associated with archaeological sites in numbers that are disproportionate to those on other types of landforms. The reasons for this are numerous, and include the fact that sandy landforms are commonly elevated and well-drained, provide structural foundations for animal traps or pounds, are groundwater recharge or discharge areas, and can support an increased diversity of flora and fauna relative to the surrounding regions. However, sandy sites are also typically more susceptible to disturbance, destabilization, and erosion. Human activity, past or present, can be a contributing factor in this disturbance.

Experience working in sandy landscapes in the prairies, parkland, and boreal forest indicates that, although people appear to have preferentially selected these landforms, there are typically differences in the density, extent, and type of artifacts recovered, depending on the ecoregion. What explanations are there for these differences? Possibilities include: depositional environment and taphonomy, post-depositional disturbances, patterns of occupation and activity, cultural preferences, and resource availability, among others. 

We invite researchers at all levels of experience and from all related fields (archaeology, traditional land use studies, geomorphology, etc.) to participate in this session, which will focus on discussions of the rich diversity, habitability, fragility, and formation of sandy landscapes. From landforms in the boreal forest, to the prairies, to dunes on the coast and along the Great Lakes, this session will focus on addressing commonalities and key differences in sandy sites in the north.. and beyond!

Organizer(s): 
  • Brian C.Vivian, Lifeways of Canada
  • Janet Blakey, Lifeways of Canada

Session Abstract

Archaeological investigations at the Junction Site (DkPi-2) in 1981, 1991-92 and 2015-2018 have identified the site as one of the largest, most complex, and best documented winter camps known in Southern Alberta.  Results of the excavations over time that have taken place here have created a well-documented database which represents the continued cultural use of this locale over the last 1000 years. Analysis and interpretation of these archaeological finds serve to illuminate the character of past lifeways at the Junction Site and shed light on the dynamic character of traditional cultures in southern Alberta over this time period.  In a previous review of the Junction Site artifact assemblage Barney Reeves concluded the Junction Site should be recogized as the “type site” for the Old Women’s Phase. This session is dedicated to reporting on new finds and providing a retrospective review of data from the site as a means of highlighting the Junction Site as the "type site" just as Reeves has suggested.

Organizer(s): 
  • Margarita de Guzman, Circle CRM Group Inc.
Contact Email: 

Session Abstract

While forest fires are a regular occurrence, wild fire activity has been particularly prominent in recent years, threatening homes and communities throughout central British Columbia and northern, as well as southern, Alberta. Archaeologists have taken these to be fortuitous events insofar as what they can teach us about location and site type, among other things, within the Boreal forest. Through post-fire impact assessments, archaeologists have been able to judge the effects of fire devastation on archaeological resources, as well as identify previously unrecorded resources in areas not typically targeted for subsurface testing. These results can have a profound effect on archaeological potential, both from the desk and in the field, from where we are putting boots to where we are putting shovels in the ground, and may surprise both novice and experienced archaeologists alike.

Organizer(s): 
  • Rebecca Goodwin, University of Western Ontario
  • Chelsea Meloche, Simon Fraser University
Contact Email: 

Session Abstract

The process of archaeological research often extends beyond the traditional field site. With the rise of public archaeology, Indigenous archaeologies, and other engagement-based research frameworks, heritage professionals recognize the impacts of their work and are developing innovative ways to engage with non-archaeological communities. Working beyond data collection, many community-oriented projects have developed outreach and engagement activities to ensure that archaeological research is of benefit to all partners. Important examples can include hosting and participating in community workshops; visiting archaeological sites with elders and youth; developing creative educational projects; the creation of digital content; and/or repatriation. However, such outreach and engagement activities are often still considered auxiliary to “archaeological research.” In this session, we invite presenters to think beyond data collection in their work with local and descendant communities and explore unique and innovative approaches to outreach and community engagement activities. In particular, we encourage submissions that highlight work being done by graduate students and early career scholars, who represent the next generation of archaeological researchers.

Organizer(s): 
  • Tommy Y. Ng, Bison Historical Services Ltd.

Session Abstract

Immigration and migration of visible minority groups have been and continues to be, a prominent political issue. Archaeology is able to give a voice to these groups, whether they existed in the distant past or in more contemporaneous settings. What types of stories are there that archaeology can tell? How can these stories inform our thoughts about immigrant and migrant communities and the issues that affect the world today? What are the challenges and adversities immigrants and migrants face? At what point does a visible minority stop being viewed as an immigrant? This session seeks to start addressing these questions by telling some stories of visible minority immigrants and migrants as viewed through the archaeological lens.