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Canadian Museum of Civilization Curator to Deliver Richard B. Johnston Memorial Lecture in Archaeology November 19


Dr. Robert McGhee to Discuss "Archaeology, Inuit History, and the Myth of the Aboriginal" at Free, Public Event

Friday, November 16, 2007, Peterborough

The Department of Anthropology at Trent University is pleased to announce that Dr. Robert McGhee, a curator of archaeology with the Canadian Museum of Civilization in Ottawa, will deliver the annual Richard B. Johnston Memorial Lecture in Archaeology on Monday, November 19, at 7:30 p.m. at Splice (379 George St. N.).

In his lecture, entitled “Archaeology, Inuit History, and the Myth of the Aboriginal”, Dr. McGhee will be discussing the various perceptions and interpretations of Aboriginal history, specifically of the Eastern Arctic Inuit, and the impact such interpretations have in the realm of academic discussion and beyond.

Dr. McGhee was born in Canada, and educated at the University of Toronto, University of California, Berkeley, and the University of Calgary. He taught at Memorial University in Newfoundland prior to becoming a curator of Archaeology with the Canadian Museum of Civilization in Ottawa in 1976. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and of the Arctic Institute of North America, and past-president of the Canadian Archaeological Association. In 2000 he was awarded the Massey Medal of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society.

Dr. McGhee's research has focused on the archaeology of Arctic Canada and related regions. He has undertaken fieldwork from Labrador to the Mackenzie Delta and northwards to the High Arctic islands, as well as in Svalbard and Chukotka. He has excavated the remains of Sir Martin Frobisher’s sixteenth century Northwest Passage expeditions; dug a 2000 year old Eskimo village on the Siberian coast of Bering Strait; worked with the High Arctic Inuit community of Resolute Bay in reconstructing an 800 year old village; and crewed for a portion of the Atlantic crossing by the reproduction Viking ship Gaia.

His work has addressed problems such as the first peopling of the New World Arctic; the origins of Inuit culture; reactions of prehistoric populations to episodes of climatic and environmental change; and the relations between aboriginal peoples and early European visitors to Arctic Canada. This research has been reported in over 100 books and articles, including academic publications and those designed for a general audience. His most recent book is The Last Imaginary Place, a Human History of the Arctic World.

The Richard B. Johnston Memorial Lecture series was established at Trent University in 1993 to honour one of Canada’s most distinguished archaeologists and to bring leading scholars from around the world to share their visions of antiquity with the University and Peterborough communities. Dr. Richard B. Johnston came to Trent in 1971 and served as chair of the Department of Anthropology through its formative years, from 1975 to 1980. He supervised major archaeological research at the Serpent Mounds site on Rice Lake near Keene, the Le Caron Huron village site near Midland, and the Atherley Narrows site near Lake Simcoe, before returning to Rice Lake to excavate the early Archaic MacIntyre site. He was also heavily involved in the Anthropology graduate program at Trent, where he supervised many students who have gone on to successful careers in archaeology. Prof. Johnston died in 1987 at the age of 56.


For more information, please contact:
Dr. Paul Healy, Professor, Department of Anthropology, Trent University, (705) 748-2367 (home) or (705) 748-1011 x7877