(HYBRID IN-PERSON / ONLINE) Empowering Young Women in Archaeology: A Platform for Emerging Voices

Session Hosting Format: 
in-person session
Thursday, May 4, 2023 - 8:30am to 10:30am
Kluskap C (Hybrid)
  • Margarita de Guzman, Circle CRM Group + The Fair Field Foundation
Contact Email: 
Session Description (300 word max): 

Despite the important contributions made by female archaeologists throughout history, young women in the field still face barriers to recognition and advancement. This session aims to provide a platform for emerging female voices in archaeology and to inspire the next generation of women to take an active role in shaping the future of the field. We will bring together young female scholars, practitioners, and advocates to present their research, share their experiences, and discuss the challenges and opportunities facing women in archaeology today. The session will also provide a space for networking, mentorship, and support. Whether you are a young woman in archaeology or an ally, this session is an opportunity to connect, learn, and be a part of creating a more inclusive and equitable future for the field.

08:30 AM: Isotopic Reconstruction of Camelid Managment at Cerro de Oro, Peru
Presentation format: In-Person
  • Julia McCuaig - Trent University
  • Adrián González Gómez de Agüero - Trent University
  • Francesca Fernandini - Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú
  • Paul Szpak - Trent University

The examination of camelid management practices in ancient Peru provides important insights into the social, political, and economic interactions between populations. We applied a multi-stable isotope approach (δ13C, δ15N, and δ34S) to camelid remains from the Early Intermediate Period to the Middle Horizon (AD 500-800) occupation at Cerro de Oro in the Cañete Valley to examine their diet, management, and geographic origins. A total of 72 individuals were analyzed for δ13C and δ15N, and 29 for δ34S. The δ13C and δ15N values indicated high intra-group variability and a small proportion of C4 plants (less than 50%) within the diet. Camelids were characterized by a wide range of δ34S values, which suggested that some individuals were consuming maize fertilized with marine products (i.e., seabird guano or fishmeal) which may also be an indicator of local management. Therefore, the camelids raised at Cerro de Oro consist of both local and non-local individuals, which suggests the exchange of camelids between different environmental zones and human populations.

08:50 AM: A History that was Never Meant to Survive: The Future of Sexuality and Gender Studies in Archaeology
Presentation format: In-Person
  • Caylee Dzurka - Memorial University of Newfoundland and Labrador

Archaeologists interpret the past through a predominantly heteronormative lens. In countless studies, researchers assume that men and women in past communities exclusively practiced heterosexual pair-bonding, with the ‘nuclear’ family being universal. While early feminist archaeologists challenged the application of Western gender norms and power dynamics to all past cultures, they also reinforced the idea that gender is static and binary by failing to deconstruct the existence of that categorization. More recent feminist studies have pulled from Queer Theory to expand notions of gender and sexuality in the discipline and ensure that the perspectives of queer women, transgender women, and gender diverse people can impact our interpretations of the past. Despite Queer Archaeology dwindling over the past ten years, I will argue that this sub-discipline can breathe new life into the study of gender and sexuality in the archaeological record through engagements with modern LGBTQ2S+ communities and Queer Inhumanisms. By shifting to community-based approaches and queering human-centric ideologies, Queer Archaeology will not only identify the material traces of non-human agency in the construction of sexuality, kinship, and gender, but will also empower modern queer people to contribute to the creation of past and future cultural narratives. 

09:10 AM: Raising the Next Generation of Archaeologists
Presentation format: In-Person
  • Cassidy Wambold - Institute of Prairie and Indigenous Archaeology, University of Alberta
  • Dawn Wambold - Institute of Prairie and Indigenous Archaeology, University of Alberta

In academic contexts, PhD and Masters students often find themselves in mentorship relationships with undergraduate students. While these relationships often arise from the formal Teaching Assistant and Student situations related to classes and field schools, there are sometimes more informal opportunities for mentorship. In this presentation, we share our experiences as a mother and daughter navigating academia and archaeology together. Although our primary relationship is that of a parent-child, we also have a relationship of PhD student to undergraduate student within the same university department. This has resulted in a delicate balancing act where we leverage our personal relationship while maintaining professional standards. We believe that sharing our learnings can help other archaeologists who find themselves in mentor and mentee relationships.

09:30 AM: The Decimation and Destabilization of Alberta’s Boreal Forest Sand Dunes: An Archaeological Case Study
Presentation format: Online - pre-recorded
  • Maegan Huber - University of Alberta

Sand dunes are unique geological features that exist throughout Alberta. Archaeological investigations on dune features found within Alberta’s boreal forest have resulted in the identification of a plethora of archaeological sites. Dune formation began between ca. 15.6 and 13.5 Cal ka BP as the Laurentide and Cordilleran ice sheets retreated. The dunes stabilized as boreal forest vegetation covered the region between 13.0 and 9.0 Cal ka BP (Wolfe et al, 2004). These isolated stable dune fields are still present today and have seen little or no reactivation through the Holocene (Wolfe et al 2004). One of these small stable dune fields in west-central Alberta was investigated archaeologically in 2019 during a Historic Resource Impact Assessment (HRIA) (ASA permit 19-072). Site revisits in 2022 revealed that timber harvesting has since occurred on three of the dunes. The true impact of forestry on these fragile landforms was immediately obvious: deforestation and the construction of roads along the tops of the dunes have drastically changed these landforms, exposing the fine sediments to aeolian processes. The destabilization of these landforms threatens both identified and unidentified archaeological sites on the dunes and is contributing to the erasure of geological and human history in Alberta.

09:50 AM: Mentorship Matters - Finding your champions
Presentation format: In-Person
  • Laureen Bryant - City of Calgary

Mentors help with professional development, building confidence, and guiding their mentees through challenges.  A mentor acts as a sounding board and they help us navigate challenging career situations.  Think of a mentor as a nonjudgmental person who listens with an open mind, and who can help you steer clear of the mistakes they made in their careers. I had some great mentors throughout my career; however, hindsight is 20/20 and I would have approached it differently had I to do over.  This is an informal session to share ideas on forming positive mentoring relationships throughout one's career.