December Meeting Announcement

Join us on Fri­day, Decem­ber 7th at 7:00 pm in Room 132 of the Archae­ol­o­gy Build­ing (55 Cam­pus Dri­ve) for our Christ­mas lec­ture! Dr. Ernie Walk­er (Depart­ment of Archae­ol­o­gy and Anthro­pol­o­gy, Uni­ver­si­ty of Saskatchewan) will be pre­sent­ing “The Hope and Promise of Wanuskewin Her­itage Park Part 2: An Update”. All are wel­come! Feel free to bring some hol­i­day good­ies to share!

Abstract: The Hope and Promise of Wanuskewin Her­itage Park Part 2: An Update
The tran­scen­dent nature of Wanuskewin Her­itage Park from a small cat­tle ranch to a poten­tial World Her­itage Site is an epic Cana­di­an sto­ry that has cap­tured the imag­i­na­tion of a diverse seg­ment of the com­mu­ni­ty both region­al­ly and  nation­al­ly. In a pre­vi­ous pre­sen­ta­tion to the SAS, the Wanuskewin Project was dis­cussed in terms of the his­to­ry of Park devel­op­ment, ongo­ing archae­o­log­i­cal research, and future plans. Since that time, a num­ber of dra­mat­ic events have tak­en place includ­ing the tremen­dous suc­cess of the Thun­der­ing Ahead Nation­al Cam­paign and inclu­sion of the Park on the UNESCO Ten­ta­tive List for World Her­itage Site inscrip­tion. This pre­sen­ta­tion is intend­ed to pro­vide an update of cur­rent devel­op­ments and activ­i­ties at the Park as well as a pre­view of what lies ahead.

Dr. Ernie Walk­er is a Dis­tin­guished Pro­fes­sor in the Depart­ment of Archae­ol­o­gy and Anthro­pol­o­gy at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Saskatchewan. Born in Saska­toon, he com­plet­ed his Bed, BA (Hons), and MA at the U of S. In 1980, he com­plet­ed his doc­tor­ate at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Texas. Dr. Walk­er is a high­ly accom­plished uni­ver­si­ty pro­fes­sor, plains archae­ol­o­gist, and foren­sic anthro­pol­o­gist. He was the dri­ving force behind the estab­lish­ment of Wanuskewin Her­itage Park and cur­rent­ly plays a key role in the revi­tal­iza­tion and expan­sion of the park. He has received many hon­ors and awards, includ­ing the Saskatchewan Order of Mer­it in 2001, the Order of Cana­da in 2004, and the 3M Teach­ing Fel­low­ship in 2007.

November Meeting Announcement

Join us on Fri­day, Novem­ber 23rd at 7:00 pm in Room 132 of the Archae­ol­o­gy Build­ing (55 Cam­pus Dri­ve) for our Novem­ber lec­ture! Tim Panas (Depart­ment of Inter­dis­ci­pli­nary Stud­ies, Uni­ver­si­ty of Saskatchewan and Parks Cana­da) will be pre­sent­ing “Sand Dunes on the North­ern Plains: The Last 6,000 Years”. All are wel­come!

Abstract: Sand Dunes on the North­ern Plains: The Last 6,000 Years
Over the past forty years, archae­ol­o­gists have iden­ti­fied hun­dreds of Mid­dle and Late Pre­con­tact archae­o­log­i­cal sites in sand dune areas across the North­ern Plains. Vary­ing from iso­lat­ed finds to com­plex mul­ti-com­po­nent sites, they rep­re­sent a set of com­plex and inte­grat­ed behav­iours that to date have not been exam­ined in a holis­tic man­ner across both time and space. When done so, a com­plex pat­tern of per­cep­tion and usage emerges that goes beyond these regions being nat­ur­al areas that are used for eco­nom­ic pur­pos­es. This con­cept will be exam­ined through the use of mul­ti­ple infor­ma­tion sources, includ­ing ethno­gra­phies, oral and writ­ten his­to­ries, envi­ron­men­tal data, and the archae­o­log­i­cal record.

Tim Panas obtained his Bach­e­lor of Arts degree in Anthro­pol­o­gy from the Uni­ver­si­ty of Alber­ta, and his Mas­ters in Anthro­pol­o­gy from the Uni­ver­si­ty of Mon­tana. Cur­rent­ly, he is com­plet­ing his PhD in Inter­dis­ci­pli­nary Stud­ies from the Uni­ver­si­ty of Saskatchewan, focus­ing on holis­tic inter­pre­ta­tions of sand dunes on the North­ern Plains. His pro­fes­sion­al expe­ri­ence in archae­ol­o­gy and anthro­pol­o­gy spans over twen­ty years, and includes work­ing with the Roy­al Alber­ta Muse­um, the Cana­di­an Muse­um of His­to­ry, the Archae­o­log­i­cal Sur­vey of Alber­ta, SaskPow­er, numer­ous uni­ver­si­ties, and pri­vate con­sult­ing firms. Cur­rent­ly, he is serv­ing as the Cul­tur­al Resource Man­age­ment Advi­sor for the South Saskatchewan Field Unit of Parks Cana­da, as well as in a sup­port and advi­so­ry capac­i­ty for research projects with the Roy­al Saskatchewan Muse­um and the First Nations Uni­ver­si­ty of Cana­da.

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.