October Meeting Announcement — First Lecture of Fall 2018!

Join us on Fri­day, Octo­ber 12th at 7:00 pm in Room 132 of the Archae­ol­o­gy Build­ing (55 Cam­pus Dri­ve) for our first meet­ing of Fall 2018! Dr. James Basinger (Depart­ment of Geo­log­i­cal Sci­ences, Uni­ver­si­ty of Saskatchewan) will be pre­sent­ing “Fos­sil Forests of the Cana­di­an High Arc­tic: A Win­dow into Polar Envi­ron­ments Dur­ing a Peri­od of Glob­al Warmth”. All are wel­come!

Abstract: Cana­di­an High Arc­tic: A Win­dow into Polar Envi­ron­ments Dur­ing a Peri­od of Glob­al Warmth
Cli­mate change is dom­i­nat­ing our glob­al envi­ron­men­tal con­scious­ness, and Humanity’s role in glob­al warm­ing is now a mat­ter of con­sen­sus among the sci­en­tif­ic com­mu­ni­ty. Our impact on Earth’s cli­mate, and the con­se­quence, in turn, on ecosys­tems, exists, how­ev­er, with­in the con­text of con­stant change. The fos­sil record illus­trates Earth’s chang­ing cli­mate, and nowhere is the con­trast between past and present so vivid as in the polar regions.

Remains of ancient polar com­mu­ni­ties are pre­served in the Cana­di­an High Arc­tic, most notably on Axel Heiberg Island, where mum­mi­fied fos­sil forests of Mid­dle Eocene age (45 mil­lion years old) are found. Tree stumps are still root­ed in their ancient soils, and for­est-floor lit­ters are pre­served in exquis­ite detail. As revealed by these fos­sils, the Arc­tic once host­ed tow­er­ing cedars and dawn red­woods, rich hard­wood forests of wal­nut, oak, sycamore, and birch, and upland forests of pine, larch, and spruce. Lush veg­e­ta­tion thrived in the warm, humid polar envi­ron­ment of this “Green­house Earth”, and arc­tic tun­dra and ice did not exist.

Glob­al cli­mate has changed dra­mat­i­cal­ly, as first the South­ern, then the North­ern Hemi­sphere slipped inex­orably into an Ice Age. Arc­tic fos­sils help us under­stand how Earth’s cli­mate changes and appre­ci­ate the impact of glob­al cli­mate change. These great changes in cli­mate occur nat­u­ral­ly in response to evo­lu­tion of the Earth Sys­tem, pro­found­ly alter­ing Earth’s bios­phere over geo­log­i­cal time. Humans have become agents of cli­mate change, and we must antic­i­pate our impact on Earth’s envi­ron­ments. Per­haps the Arc­tic fos­sil record may serve as a win­dow onto both the past and the future.

Dr. James Basinger received a B.Sc. in Bot any at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Alber­ta. He then earned an M.Sc. in 1976 and Ph.D in 1979 at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Alber­ta in Pale­ob­otany. After two years as a post­doc­tor­al fel­low in the U.S.A., Aus­tralia, and Cana­da, he joined the fac­ul­ty of the Depart­ment of Geo­log­i­cal Sci­ences in the Col­lege of Arts and Sci­ence at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Saskatchewan in 1981. He served as Head of the Depart­ment of Geo­log­i­cal Sci­ences from 1997–2003, Asso­ciate Dean Sci­ence from 2004–2007, and Asso­ciate Vice-Pres­i­dent Research from 2008–2016.

His research pro­gram on the evo­lu­tion of plants and envi­ron­ments has includ­ed exten­sive field-based research in West­ern Cana­da and the Cana­di­an High Arc­tic. Since 1982 he has inves­ti­gat­ed the remains of fos­sil plants in north­ern­most Cana­da and was involved in the much-pub­li­cized dis­cov­ery of the 45–60 mil­lion- year-old fos­sil forests of Axel Heiberg and Ellesmere islands. These fos­sil forests pro­vide a win­dow into Earth’s past, to a time when glob­al cli­mate was much warmer than present, and forests exist­ed through­out the polar regions. His arc­tic research has also brought to light one of the best sources of some of the world’ s old­est land plants, in 400-mil­lion-year-old rocks of Bathurst Island, in the cen­tral Arc­tic Arch­i­pel­ago of Cana­da.

April Meeting Announcement & Notice of AGM

Join us on Fri­day, April 13th at 7:00 pm in Room 132 of the Archae­ol­o­gy Build­ing (55 Cam­pus Dri­ve) for our month­ly meet­ing! Jen­nifer Rych­lo will be pre­sent­ing “The Camp Rayn­er Site: Ear­ly Cul­tur­al Tran­si­tions on the North­ern Plains”. This meet­ing will also include our Annu­al Gen­er­al Meet­ing. All are wel­come!

Abstract: The Camp Rayn­er Site: Ear­ly Cul­tur­al Tran­si­tions on the North­ern Plains
The Camp Rayn­er site is a mul­ti­com­po­nent site locat­ed on the north­ern shores of Lake Diefen­bak­er in cen­tral Saskatchewan. The ear­li­est lev­els at the site date to the end of the Ear­ly Pre­con­tact peri­od and the begin­ning of the Mid­dle Pre­con­tact peri­od; a time believed to rep­re­sent a tran­si­tion of cul­tur­al prac­tices on the North­ern Plains. Ear­ly Pre­con­tact groups are broad­ly known as big-game hunters who uti­lized exot­ic, high-qual­i­ty lithics to cre­ate stone spears and tools. This changes dra­mat­i­cal­ly by the Mid­dle Pre­con­tact peri­od, where groups uti­lize more broad-based sub­sis­tence strate­gies and focus their efforts on exploit­ing local­ly avail­able resources. Addi­tion­al­ly, this era coin­cides with a cli­mat­ic event known as the Hyp­sither­mal, which caused increased warmth and arid­i­ty on the North­ern Plains and may have been a cat­a­lyst for cul­tur­al change and adap­ta­tion. Unfor­tu­nate­ly, sites which con­tain lev­els dat­ing to these time peri­ods are rel­a­tive­ly rare on the North­ern Plains and the mechan­ics regard­ing these cul­tur­al changes remain poor­ly under­stood. The com­po­nents at the Camp Rayn­er site offer archae­ol­o­gists a rare oppor­tu­ni­ty to explore the man­ner in which this cul­tur­al tran­si­tion took place and how human groups were adapt­ing to envi­ron­men­tal change on the North­ern Plains. Specif­i­cal­ly, through ana­lyz­ing the lith­ic and fau­nal mate­ri­als present in the Ear­ly Pre­con­tact and Mid­dle Pre­con­tact lev­els at the Camp Rayn­er site, pat­terns of behav­iour relat­ed to food and resource pro­cure­ment can be com­pared between the two time peri­ods and more­ful­ly under­stood.

Jen­nifer Rych­lo stud­ied Archae­ol­o­gy at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Saskatchewan and received her B.A. in 2013 and her M.A. in 2016 under the super­vi­sion of Dr. Ernest Walk­er. Her the­sis focused on the tran­si­tion­al time peri­od between the Ear­ly Pre­con­tact (or Pale­oin­di­an) peri­od and the Mid­dle Pre­con­tact peri­od on the North­ern Plains, occur­ring approx­i­mate­ly 7,500 years ago. Cur­rent­ly, Jen­nifer works as a con­sul­tant archae­ol­o­gist for Gold­er Asso­ciates in Saska­toon, Saskatchewan where she con­ducts her­itage resource impact assess­ments across Alber­ta, Saskatchewan, and Man­i­to­ba.

March Meeting Announcement — Jessie Caldwell Memorial Lecture

Join us on Fri­day, March 16th at 7:00 pm in Room 132 of the Archae­ol­o­gy Build­ing on the U of S Cam­pus (55 Cam­pus Dri­ve) for our annu­al Jessie Cald­well Memo­r­i­al Lec­ture! Dr. Mary Malainey (Bran­don Uni­ver­si­ty) will be speak­ing on “Archae­o­log­i­cal Sci­ence and the Archae­ol­o­gist”. All are wel­come to attend!

Abstract: Archae­o­log­i­cal Sci­ence and the Archae­ol­o­gist
Archae­ol­o­gists have a some­what awk­ward rela­tion­ship with sci­ence. Ana­lyt­i­cal tech­niques are used to esti­mate the age of a site, study arti­fact func­tion, estab­lish human behav­iours and inves­ti­gate migra­tion and trade. Although archae­ol­o­gists rely on infor­ma­tion derived from sci­en­tif­ic prin­ci­ples, process­es and pro­ce­dures, they are typ­i­cal­ly trained with­in the Fac­ul­ty of Arts. This can make it dif­fi­cult for archae­ol­o­gists to eval­u­ate dif­fer­ent ana­lyt­i­cal tech­niques, under­stand the sci­ence behind them and know what results are real­is­ti­cal­ly attain­able. An added chal­lenge is that the mate­ri­als under inves­ti­ga­tion may have degrad­ed over time or been con­t­a­m­i­nat­ed by the bur­ial envi­ron­ment (or the archae­ol­o­gists who col­lect­ed them). A wide vari­ety of meth­ods used to study archae­o­log­i­cal mate­r­i­al will be dis­cussed with respect to how they work and how archae­ol­o­gists can use them to their best advan­tage to address their research ques­tions.

Biog­ra­phy: Dr. Mary Malainey
Dr. Mary E. Malainey is an archae­ol­o­gist and pro­fes­sor at Bran­don Uni­ver­si­ty with degrees from the Uni­ver­si­ties of Alber­ta, Saskatchewan and Man­i­to­ba. A strong inter­est in archae­o­log­i­cal sci­ence led her away from CRM work in Saskatchewan and into the lab where she devel­oped nov­el tech­niques for the study of ancient food residues. Using gas chro­matog­ra­phy and gas chro­matog­ra­phy-mass spec­trom­e­try, she ana­lyzes lipid residues extract­ed from archae­o­log­i­cal mate­ri­als. This approach makes it pos­si­ble to char­ac­ter­ize the for­mer con­tents of pre­con­tact Indige­nous ves­sels, deter­mine the types of foods pre­pared using hot rock cook­ing tech­niques and assess the func­tion of flaked and ground stone tools. Dr. Malainey has ana­lyzed archae­o­log­i­cal mate­r­i­al from sites locat­ed across North Amer­i­ca and oth­er parts of the world, includ­ing South Africa, Tunisia, the Balka­ns and Tier­ra del Fuego. Her pri­ma­ry research involves West­ern Cana­di­an Late Pre­con­tact pot­tery, its func­tion and impli­ca­tions for set­tle­ment and sub­sis­tence pat­terns. She also uses com­put­er-assist­ed design soft­ware to trans­form par­tial­ly recon­struct­ed ves­sels into mod­els of whole pots, which are more suit­able for mor­pho­log­i­cal stud­ies. Her 2011 text­book titled A Consumer’s Guide to Archae­o­log­i­cal Sci­ence was writ­ten to help archae­ol­o­gists bet­ter under­stand the sci­en­tif­ic tech­niques avail­able for the analy­sis of their mate­ri­als.

February Meeting Announcement

Join us on Fri­day, Feb­ru­ary 9th at 5:00 pm in Louis’ Loft (2nd Floor of the Memo­r­i­al Union Build­ing, 93 Cam­pus Dri­ve) for our month­ly meet­ing! Dr. Mar­garet Kennedy (Depart­ment of Archae­ol­o­gy & Anthro­pol­o­gy, U of S) and Butch Amund­son (Stan­tec) will be pre­sent­ing “Results of Archae­o­log­i­cal Inven­to­ry and Remote Sens­ing by UAV of the South­ern End of the Cabri Lake Basin”. All are wel­come!

Abstract: Results of Archae­o­log­i­cal Inven­to­ry and Remote Sens­ing by UAV of the South­ern End of the Cabri Lake Basin
For the past five years, Mar­garet Kennedy and Bar­ney Reeves of Alber­ta have been con­duct­ing archae­o­log­i­cal inven­to­ry of the moraine land­scape around the Forks of the Red Deer and South Saskatchewan rivers where they have found a very rich and impor­tant array of stone fea­ture sites. The shift of the project into the south­ern end of Cabri Lake basin has allowed them to assess how the site pat­tern­ing found at the Forks con­nects with the equal­ly impres­sive archae­ol­o­gy of Cabri Lake. Our 2017 field­work took place around the impor­tant water source called Mud­dy Springs on the Palmer Ranch and, thanks to the help of vol­un­teers, we were able to inves­ti­gate a large area around the springs in May and June. Mar­garet will present the results of that work, set with­in the con­text of cur­rent under­stand­ing of the archae­o­log­i­cal land­scape of the area.

In Octo­ber 2017, mas­sive wild­fires burned through the Empress area of south­east­ern Alber­ta and south­west­ern Saskatchewan, expos­ing thou­sands of stone fea­tures. The fires burned through Kennedy and Reeves’ spring 2017 study area. Butch Amund­son, with sup­port from Tom Howat, Kevin Grover and Grant Wise­man of Stan­tec, kind­ly agreed to fly a por­tion of the burned area on the Palmer Ranch by UAV as an exten­sion to their ear­li­er research into the com­par­i­son of the results of con­ven­tion­al archae­o­log­i­cal sur­vey vs. pho­to­graph­ic and near-infrared sen­sors, high res­o­lu­tion satel­lite imagery and appli­ca­tion of veg­e­ta­tive analy­sis and com­put­er object recog­ni­tion. Butch will present the results of that study.

Mar­garet Kennedy is an Asso­ciate Pro­fes­sor in the Dept. of Archae­ol­o­gy and Anthro­pol­o­gy at the U of S and a long-stand­ing Direc­tor of the Saska­toon Archae­o­log­i­cal Soci­ety and First Vice-Pres­i­dent of the Saskatchewan Archae­o­log­i­cal Soci­ety. The research into pre-con­tact stone fea­ture sites along the low­er Red Deer and South Saskatchewan rivers (with Bar­ney Reeves) and Cabri Lake (with Chris and Lau­ra Foley) has tak­en most of her atten­tion over the past sev­en years but not detract­ed from her long­time pas­sion for His­tor­i­cal Archae­ol­o­gy as well.

Butch Amund­son is an archae­ol­o­gist, anthro­pol­o­gist and geol­o­gist with 38 years of expe­ri­ence, includ­ing 32 years as a full­time, pro­fes­sion­al archae­ol­o­gist in all phas­es of archae­o­log­i­cal impact assess­ment and mit­i­ga­tion, palaeon­to­log­i­cal assess­ment, tra­di­tion­al knowl­edge stud­ies, Indige­nous and pub­lic engage­ment, envi­ron­men­tal site assess­ments and envi­ron­men­tal geol­o­gy. In 2016 Butch, along with Kevin Grover and Grant Wise­man of Stan­tec, very suc­cess­ful­ly demon­strat­ed that mul­ti­spec­tral pho­togram­me­try, cap­tured from a UAS plat­form, would dis­cov­er archae­o­log­i­cal fea­tures in a native prairie land­scape.

Bri­an (Bar­ney) Reeves has over 50 years of research and pro­fes­sion­al expe­ri­ence, spe­cial­iz­ing in North Amer­i­can archae­ol­o­gy, eth­no­his­to­ry and cul­tur­al resource man­age­ment. He was a pio­neer in the devel­op­ment of tra­di­tion­al-use stud­ies with Indige­nous groups in Alber­ta and has been active­ly involved in many con­sul­ta­tion pro­grams. Bar­ney is the Founder and Prin­ci­pal Archae­ol­o­gist of Life­ways of Cana­da Lim­it­ed, Alberta’s old­est cul­tur­al resource con­sult­ing and con­tract­ing com­pa­ny, estab­lished in 1972. He is also Pro­fes­sor Emer­i­tus in Archae­ol­o­gy, Uni­ver­si­ty of Cal­gary, where he taught for 30 years.