Monday, May 21, 2012

Canadian Archaeological Association Public Communication Award Winners 2012

Archaeologists don't get to keep what we find.  The objects and the understanding that come from archaeological research belong to everyone.  Every year the Canadian Archaeological Association celebrates those people and institutions inside and outside the profession who do an exemplary job of communicating with the public about Canadian Archaeology by handing out Public Communication Awards.  Currently, the awards are in two categories; Writer/Producer and Professional/Institutional.  I'm on the awards committee and I've been chomping at the bit to mention the winners ever since we discussed the submissions at the end of April.  The winners have finally been announced, so I don't think that I'll spoil anything if I add my congratulations to all the winners.  Well done, everyone.  Two awards were handed out in each category at the Canadian Archaeological Association Annual Conference in Montreal last week.


Hydro Crew Hits Historical Bonanza: Rock Piles Mark Thompson Post  by Bill Redekop, Winnipeg Free Press. This article about an accidental discovery of an unusual pile of rocks that turned out to be the remains of a fort built and burned by David Thompson in 1792-93, weaves together the work of the archaeologists uncovering the site with the life and adventures of Thompson himself.

Field School Experience Par Excellence: Anthropology graduate oversees work on a significant archaeological site near Thunder Bay by Erin Collins and Frances Harding, Agora Online.  Co-authored by a student journalist, this article explores the work done by Lakehead University alumni, students, and staff at one of the richest PalaeoIndian sites ever excavated in Ontario.


The Yukon and Northwest Territories are leading the country in the quality and availability of their archaeology publications.

Inuvialuit artifacts from Kuukpak: a 500 year old village near the mouth of the Mackenzie River, Northwest Territories, Canada by Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre, Government of Northwest Territories.  I love this book.  It doesn't contain a lot of text, but the story that it tells through photographs and illustrations is a rich one with contributions from archaeologists and Inuvialuit elders and students.  Perhaps best of all, you can view the entire book online through the Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre website.

The Frozen Past: The Yukon Ice Patches by Government of Yukon.  Another Fantastic book from the Canada's north.  Ice Patch archaeology is one of the biggest stories to break in Canadian Archaeology in the past 15 years.  Delicate organic objects are melting out of receding ice patches that have been frequented by caribou and caribou hunters for thousands of years.  Its a well-illustrated and detailed story that brings together archaeologists, climate researchers and First Nations peoples.  This book is also available free of charge, in its entirety online as a .pdf.   The link in the title takes you directly to the .pdf of the The Frozen Past, but you really should check out this link to the full list of publications by the Government of the Yukon, Department of Tourism and Culture - there are dozens of high quality publications available free in .pdf or html format.  

I hope everyone keeps these awards in mind over the upcoming year as they publish and promote their own work or see an outstanding example of public communication by a friend or colleague.  The deadline for next year's awards will be March 15, 2013.  Details for submission are on the CAA website.

Photo Credits: Screen captures from the linked websites, books and articles.

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