John F. Dormaar (en anglais seulement)

Date award received: 

I am pleased to nominate Dr. John Dormaar for the James Pendergast Award.
To me John epitomizes everything an avocational archaeologist should be.   His own field of expertise is in soils and organic chemistry and he has been called in as a consultant by many archaeologists in Alberta, (Forbis, Reeves, Oetelaar, Freeman, and Kooyman to name a few) since the late ‘60’s.   With this work his interest in archaeology evolved and he has become an expert in the archaeology and ethnology of the Milk River/Sweetgrass Hills area of Southern Alberta and Northern Montana.  This area is rich in sites including major rock art panels, NWMP posts, tipi rings, buffalo jumps and pounds. He has developed a special interest in sacred landscapes, and has recorded many previously unknown vision quest sites.   He is widely read and uses the journals of the early explorers of southern Alberta to great effect in his writings.

His list of publications dealing with archaeology can be divided into two parts - those related to his soils work and those resulting from his avocational interests.

Scientific Publications Relevant to Archaeology

Dormaar J.F. and L.E. Lutwick 
1969   Infrared spectra of humic acids and opal phytoliths as indicators of palaeosols. Can.J. Soil Sci. 49: 29-37

Reeves B.O.K. and J.F. Dormaar 
1972  A partial Holocene pedological and archaeological record from the southern Alberta Rocky Mountains.  Arctic Alpine Res. 4: 325-336.

Dormaar J.F. and L.E. Lutwick 
1975  Pyrogenic evidence in paleosols along the North Saskatchewan River in the Rocky Mountains of Alberta.  Can. J. Earth Sci. 12: 1238-1244.

Dormaar J.F. 
1976  Effect of boulderflow on soil transformation under tipi rings.  Plains Anthropologist. 21(72): 115-118.

Dormaar J.F. and L.E.  Lutwick 
1983  Extractable Fe and A1 as an indicator for buried soil horizons.  Catena 10: 167-173.

Dormaar J.F. 
1983  Aliphatic carboxylic acids in buried Ah horizons in Alberta, Canada, as paleoenvironmental indicators.  Can J. Earth Sci. 20:859-866.

Valentine K.W.G., R.H. King, J.F. Dormaaar, W.J. Vreeken, C. Tarnocai, C.R. De Kimpe and S.A. Harris. 
1987  Some aspects of Quaternary soils in Canada.  Can. J. Soil. Sci. 67: 221-247.

Dormaar, J.F. 
1990  Soils transformation under boulders in situ as a means of relative dating of archaeological sites.  Plains Anthropol. Soc. 35(128): 205-207.

Dormaar J.F. and A.B. Beaudoin 
1991  Application of soil chemistry to interpret cultural events at the Calderwood Buffalo Jump (DkPj-27), Southern Alberta, Canada.  Geoarchaeology 6:85-98.

Dormaar J.F. 
1994  Monosccharide status of pre-Mazama Ahb horizons in Alberta, Canada.  Can J. Soil Sci.  74: 55-58.

Dormaar J.F. 
Submitted to Can. J. Archaeology, special issue to commemorate the Life of Dr. Richard Forbis.  Manyberries Cairn DgOo-1, Alberta, Canada.

Other Publications related to Archaeology

Westgate J.A., R. Bonnichsen, C. Schweger and J.F. Dormaar. 
1972  The Cypress Hills. pp. 50-62 in Guidebook for Excursion C-22 of the International Geological Congress 24th Session.

Dormaar J.F. 
1977  Soil Analysis.  Pp 239-240 in R. Gruhn, A.L. Bryna and J.D. Nance, Los Tapiales: a Paleo-Indian campsite in the Guatemalan Highlands.  Proc. Amer. Philosophical Soc. 212(3): 235-273.

Dormaar J.F. 
1978  Palaeosols in Canada Pp 54-56 in B.K. Rutherford, et al (Eds).  The Geosciences in Canada – 1977.  Annual Report and Review of Soil Science.  Energy Mines and Res. Ca., Geol. Surv. Pap. 78-6.

Dormaar J.F. 
1978  Palaeosol Studies in Western Canada.  Pp. 209-221 in W.C. Mahaney (Ed).  Quaternary Soils.  3rd York Quaternary Symp. Geo. Abstracts. Norwich, England.

Dormaar J.F. 
1981  Effect of boulderflow on soil transformation.  Pp 31-37 in M. Wilson, K. Road, and K.J. Hardy (Eds).  Megaliths to Medicine Wheels: Boulder Structures in Archaeology.  Archaeological Assn. University of Calgary (Chacmool).

Dormaar J.F. 
1987  Are Palaeosols Recognizable? Pp 53-57 in N.A. McKinnon and G.S.L. Stuart (Eds) Man the Mid-Holocene Climatic Optimum.  Archaeological Assn. University of Calgary (Chacmool).

Dormaar, J.F. L.V. Hills, B. Luckman, G. Osborn, B.O.K. Reeves, N.W. Rutter, M.C. Wilson and N.R. Catto. 
1987  Wuaternary of the South and Central Rocky Mountains and Foothills of Albert and B.C. 
XIIth INQUA Congress Field Excursion C-16.  54 pp.

Dormaar J.F. 
1988  Waiting for a Vision.  The Explorers Journal 66(4): 144-149.

Dormaar J.F. 
1992  The Mystic Landscape.  The Canadian Alpine Journal 75: 115.

Dormaar J.F. and B.O.K. Reeves 
1993  Vision quest Sites in Southern Alberta and Northern Montana.  Pp 162-178 in B.O.K. Reeves and M.A. Kennedy (eds) Kunaitupii – Coming Together on Native Sacred Sites.  Archaeological Society of Alberta, Calgary.  Alberta.

Dormaar J.F. 
1997  Sweetgrass Hills, Montana, USA.  Alberta Archaeological Review.  Supplement to Number 26.  April 1997.

Dormaar J.F. 
1999  Sacred Paint.  Alberta Archaeological Review 28.  May 1988 4-13.

Dormaar J.F. 
1999  The Sweetgrass Intrusives in the Milk River Area.  Alberta Archaeological Review 30.  Spring 1999):15-21.

Dormaar J.F. 
1999  The Place of the Milk river Canyon in the Nomadic Culture.  Alberta Archaeological Review 31, Fall (1999): 13-21.

Dormaar J.F. and R.L. Barsch. 
2000  The Prairie Landscape: Perceptions of Reality.  Occasional Paper #3, Prairie Conservation Forum.

Dormaar J.F. 
2000.  Landscape Analysis of Vision Quest Sites in Grasslands National Park, Saskatchewan, Canada.  Report for Parks Canada, Canadian Heritage, Professional and Technical Services, Winnipeg, Manitoba.  8 pp.

Dormaar J.F. 
In Press.  Vision Questing in Glacier National Park.  Archaeology in Montana.

Dormaar J.F. 
In Press.  Archaeology and the Geography of Vision Quest Sties.  Archaeology: the Last 2000 Years”  Edited by John Brink and John F. Dormaar, to be published by the Archaeological Society of Alberta.

In addition to the above publications, John’s c.v. lists four pages of papers related to archaeology which he has presented at conferences, including the Canadian Archaeological Assn, the Plains Conference, the Chacmool Conference, The Archaeological Society of Alberta, the Heritage Interpretation International Third Global Congress, and various geological  conferences.  He has been called a number of times as an expert witness at hearings, asked to present at workshops and given lectures to special interest groups etc.

John is a founder member of the Lethbridge Centre of the Alberta Archaeological Society (the Centre was formed in 1966).   In his 30+ year membership of the Society he has served as a member of the Lethbridge Centre Executive, President of the Lethbridge Centre, Provincial President of the Archaeological Society of Alberta (twice), Lethbridge Centre’s director on the Provincial Executive of the Archaeological Society and this spring  he will begin a two year term as Editor of the Alberta Archaeological Review.

In addition to the positions he has held with the Archaeological Society of Alberta, he is a regular presenter of  talks to  the Society’s various Centres in Alberta as well as other groups.  His field trips are legendary (in fact they have been likened to a forced march!) covering a lot of territory and providing information on the less well-known sites of southern Alberta.  As a renaissance man, John is able to introduce participants in these field trips to the flora and fauna of the area, as well as the archaeology and history.

Although now retired from his position as a Research Scientist with Agriculture and Agri-Food’s Research Centre in Lethbridge, John continues to act as a consultant (usually unpaid or for expenses only) for many of the archaeologists working in Southern Alberta.   I know he has proven invaluable to me in my work at Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump and the St. Mary’s Reservoir megafaunal site. 

John has received a number of honours in his long career as a soils scientist:

President, Canadian Society of Soil Science (1986-87)
Elected Fellow of the Canadian Society of Soil Science 1987
Awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of Lethbridge 1991
Named Emeritus Research Scientist 1997
Received the Distinguished Service Award, Archaeological Society of Alberta, 1997
Received Immigrant of Distinction Award, Lethbridge Immigrant Settlement Ass. 1998
Admitted to Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Research Branch’s Honour Roll  2000
Listed on the website describing Canada’s Greatest Scientists – 2001

John is an active and knowledgeable avocational archaeologist and since his retirement he has  chosen to concentrate his energies in archaeology.   As can be seen above, he has a strong publication record and a long history of service to archaeology in Alberta.   I can think of no one more deserving than John to receive the Pendergast Award.


Brian Kooyman