News archives


July 11

Wendy Proverbs, MA, graduated from the Anthropology Department in the Fall of 2011 under the supervision of Dr. Andrea Walsh and Dr. Duncan McLaren.

For the past year she has been working at UBC's Museum of Anthropology (MOA) in the Ethnographic Research Lab on birch-bark basketry.

Check out her MOA blog for an overview of her research. This September Wendy has been invited to further her research as a Visiting Researcher at the Bill Holm Centre at the Burke Museum in Seattle. Congratulation Wendy!

June 26

Congratulations to the Anthropology Department's 2013 SSHRC Awards Recipients

  • Joseph‐Armand Bombardier Canada Graduate Scholarships: Doctoral Scholarship
    Karen-Marie E. Perry, PhD Student: Virtual reality and the body in Canada: a multi‐sited ethnographic study of immersive first person, through the window and mirror world techniques.
  • Joseph Armand Bombardier Canada Graduate Scholarships Program: Master's Scholarship
    Tia Hiltz, MA Student: Indigenous media relations: reconfiguring the mainstream
  • Partnership Development Grants
    Dean Peter Keller of Social Sciences and Dr. Brian Thom in collaboration with a team of researchers will be: Mapping our common ground: a community collaboratory for sustainable planning and engagement.
  • Partnership Grants
    Faculty members Drs. Michael Asch, Judith Berman, Robert Hancock and Peter Stephenson and a team of North American researchers will be working with the original Franz Boas papers to produce a Franz Boas Documentary Edition.

June 25

Field School ends with work on a rare midden on a Gulf Island in the Salish Sea

The white flecked areas of Gulf Islands' shorelines are shell middens left behind by early First Nation Peoples and are easy to recognize when sailing by the islands. Unusual is a midden found inland. There is only one within the Gulf Islands National Park Reserve and it is only in the last 30 years that these middens have "come into view".

Eric McLay and his assistant David Fargo along with thier UVic Field School Students and First Nations representatives had a chance to work on this archaeological site. Read more in today's Time Colonist.

June 12-27

ANTH 315 - Living Technologies Course - Come and see what the students are making on the grass between the University Centre and Cornett.

Every summer expert stone tool maker-primitive skills practitioner and archaeologist Dan Stueber travels to UVic with a rock-filled van and teaches students how to make items that most students only read about or see in museums.

This unique course teaches important skills to future Anthropologists and Archaeologists. Students learn to recognize North American prehistoric material culture and are taught a variety of flintknapping skills, including techniques such as percussion and pressure, stone pecking and grinding. They also are introduced to the techniques used for working bone, shell and wood with stone tools, techniques for hating stone spear points using prehistoric methods, and the use of the atlatl.

Drop by the white marquee and ask questions between 9:30-11:30am Monday-Friday.

June 14

To Reunite To Honour To Witness

Legacy Main Gallery, 630 Yates Street, Victoria

Dr. Andrea Walsh (Anthropology) and Dr. Robina Thomas (Social Work) will give the Curators' Talk on Thursday June 13 from 7:30-9pm. Doors open at 7pm.

June 4 Congress 2013

Speaker Harald Gaski, University of Tromso, Norway

June 4: First Peoples House, Room 110 from 8:30-10:30

The Keepers of the Sun's Legacy: An Indigenous Eco-Reading of Sami Multimedia Artist, Nils-Aslak Valkeapää's Poetry and Art

The title refers to the myth that explains the Sami people as descendants of the Children of the Sun. In the talk, this myth will be recapitulated at the same time as it is interpreted to tell us about the obligation given to the in-digenous peoples of the world to care for Mother Earth.

The presentation will further develop the impact this idea has had for Sami identity and arts, exemplified by the works of the late multimedia artist, Nils-Aslak Valkeapää (1943-2001).

Valkeapää was a prominent Sami poet, a marvellous performer of traditional Sami singing, yoik, and a visual artist who took pride in Sami symbols. He is also the only Sami author who has been awarded the pres-tigious Nordic Council's Literature Prize. The Sami are the Indigenous people of the Northern parts of Fenno-Scandia, and feel a strong affinity with other Indigenous peoples in the world. Sami have been active on the international stage in recent decades supporting and defending land and water rights that honor the legacy given Indigenous peoples to be caretakers of our common planet. This talk is made possible through the generous support of the Royal Norwegian Embassy and the Congress International Speakers Fund.

May 6 - June 19

Salish Sea Archaeology Field School

Week 1: May 6-10, North Pender Island

12 Anthropology students, Parks Canada archaeologists and Coast Salish Elders headed out to North Pender Island today for the welcoming ceremony for our students before they begin their archaeological inventory at Shingle Bay.

The students and their instructor Mr. Eric McLay and TA Mr. David Fargo will spend the next 6 weeks doing archaeological inventory and excavation on various Gulf Islands. The weather was warm and sunny as they arrived to set up their first camp.

The Field School Team after week one.

Week 2: May 13-17, North Pender Island

Students began looking for unrecorded inland sites at Roe Lake on North Pender and then moved on to South Pender Island.

Week 3: May 21- 27, Prevost Island and Russell Island

This week saw the return of sunshine as the students headed out to excavate an Inland Shell Midden. Further work will be done by mapping and excavating Russell Island Clam Garden. Bill Perry, Archaeologist from Parks Canada demonstrated using the GPR tool and this will be a great skill for the students. On May 27, the Times Colonist sent a reporter and film crew to learn about the "1,000-year-old First Nations clam gardens near Sidney. Read more here...

After a week of rain the field school is taken a well deserved break and will resume their work on these islands June 1st.

Week 4: June 1-7, Prevost Island

After four welcome days off to do laundry and visit the big island, that's Vancouver Island in these waters, the students and their instructors joined forces again. The students are well trained now in different technical aspects of a wet archaeological site and are keen to put their new knowledge to work. The site is turning out to be more extensive than thought and yet surprisingly intact. Instructor, grad student Eric McLay, is getting quite interesting.

This week will also see the Anthropology Department's Chair, Ann Stahl and other faculty members visit the students and their site.

Week 5: June 12-19, Last week in the field, Prevost Island

The last week in the field will continue to be at Prevost Island and this is allowing the students to really delve into the sites, which they are now familiar with and to hone their new skills. To see what they have been up to, look at this footage from CTV.

June 1

The 3rd bi-annual Forensic Anthropology Day will be held on the UVic campus this week, Saturday June 1, 2013 from 9am-3:30pm.

Students meet in Cornett B143 at 9:00. For those of you who could not participate last year, here is another opportunity to get involved with Let's Talk Science and the Department of Anthropology. Events will start inside and move outside; dress for for the weather and lots of bending as you examine evidence. This year our event is full with 32 registrants and a significant participant wait-list. It is sure to be our best event yet!

Contact Stephanie Calce, PhD candidate for more information at

Congress 2013: June 1-12

Anthropology is pleased to support the return of their alumnus, Sam Dunn who will be presenting South of Heaven, a two-day multi-media exploration of the relationship between heavy metal music and religion around the world.

The event kicks off Friday night with a screening of the iconic Canadian documentary Global Metal, followed by an audience Q & A with director Sam Dunn. Saturday afternoon, the public is invited to a free academic workshop featuring presentations by visiting scholars on the relationship of metal to religious movements and religious identity in diverse global contexts.

The event finale is a live all-ages concert at Vertigo in the UVic Student Union Building with metal bands from Victoria and the Lower Mainland. South of Heaven is a collaboration of the UVic Heavy Metal Club, the UVic Religious Studies Program, the UVic Centre for Studies in Religion and Society, and Congress 2013. We gratefully acknowledge financial support provided by the Centre for Asia-Pacific Initiatives, CFUV, Digital Humanities Summer Institute, UVic Students Society, Department of Anthropology and Department of Political Science.

May 21

MA student Jude Isabella was recognized by the Canadian Archaeology Association with their 2013 CAA Public Communication Award for her article aimed at lay readers. The article was part of a series on the Central Pacific Coast. Jude spent a week with Faculty Dr. Duncan McLaren and his crew at the Tula Foundation's Hakai Beach Institute. Read her article here...

May 24, 2013 at 10:00am Defence: Cornett A319

MA student Judith Isabella will defend her work: “Salmon: A Scientific Memoir” for the Degree of Master of Arts in the INTERDISCIPLINARY PROGRAM (ANTHROPOLOGY/WRITING) on Friday, May 24, 2013 at 10:00am in Cornett Building, Room A319. All welcome.

April 11

Congratulations goes out to Kate Markham, MA student and winner of a Sigma Xi Research Grant.

"While membership in Sigma Xi is not a requirement for application, 75% of funds are designated for use by individuals whose primary advisors are Sigma Xi members or who are Sigma Xi student members themselves."

Kate Markham is not a member of Sigma Xi, but her research in Madagascar this summer was deemed worth supporting and will be partially supported by this grant. Kate will be conducting field work for her master's at Berenty Private Reserve in Madagascar. Her thesis will examine sex-based differences in diet and foraging behavior of Verreaux's sifakas (Propithecus verreauxi) during the birth season. Read more here.

April 4

Congratulations Becky Wigen: Recipient of the 2013 Social Sciences Outstanding Community Service Award!

Becky Wigen, Senior Lab Instructor and Co-Undergrad Advisor in Anthropology, community service spans over two decades and is as varied as the bones she works with. Support for her nomination was received from past students, local forensic police units, the Royal BC Museum, a local Grade 2 teacher, Let's Talk Science co-coordinator, the UVic Speaker's bureau and her colleagues.

Anthropology Chair Ann Stahl said, "Becky has become a trustworthy and reliable member of communities not normally associated with the University and thereby a bridge maker between the two. Her outreach has excited school children, their families and teachers, and many a teacher has built a visit to Becky and the Anthropology’s bone lab into their curriculum. Her expertise has provided local police with an outside objective view point on their forensic work. Her keenness in providing university students, North American bone experts, and museum cohorts with her knowledge any time has made her a major “go to person” in research." Thank you Becky.

April 4

Congratulations to our IT support Dallas Harwood: Meritorius Staff Contribution!

Thank you Dallas for all you do to keep Anthropology's IT working seamlessly. You have helped us in setting up new computer labs and you keep the gliches away in our day to day IT environment. You are part of our team.

March 30

Repatriation Ceremony of Port Alberni Residential School's First Nation Children's Art

Survivors of the Alberni residential school, gathered with family, community and researchers from UVIC's Anthropology departmetn to reunite the artists with their paintings. Dr. Andrea Walsh, Wally Samuel a survivor and a team of researchers have worked the last two years to find the artists.

See the CHEK news reportage from March 31, 2013 "Recovered Art".

Read the TIMES COLONIST article from March 31, 2013: Paintings bear witness to B.C. residentail school's harsh life.

March 26

The Globe and Mail met with Dr. Andrea Walsh to learn about the residential school pupils' "portraits of survival".

Justine Hunter, reporter for The Globe and Mail met Dr. Walsh on March 26 at the University of Victoria to find out what Dr. Walsh and her team have been learning about the first-nations childrens' art work that was produced while the children were in a Vancouver Island residential school during the 1950s and 1960s.

The artwork was left to the University by the art teacher of the children, Mr. Aller. The project has grown into a community event with elders from Coast Salish communities looking for the artists and or their families. On March 30th there will be a repatriation ceremony of the artwork in Port Alberni, where the residential school was located. Read the whole article here.

March 19

Anthropology's Lansdowne Speaker - Professor Howard Morphy, Australian National University

March 19, 2013 at 7:00 pm in the Social Sciences and Math building Lecture Hall (SSM) A104

"The Djan'kawu sisters at Yalangbara — Material expressions of Ancestral agency."

This lecture will be videotaped. All welcome.

The lecture will introduce people to Yalangbara, a sacred landscape on the coast of Eastern Arnhem Land in Northern Australia. Yalangbara was the destination of the Djan’kawu sisters, who gave birth to the clans of the region. In theoretical terms the lecture considers the relationship between different material manifestations of the Djan'kawu sisters from a Yolngu perspective. Professor Morphy will show how a film of a ritual performance, an exhibition of objects associated with the place and a contemporary ceremonial performance all have a similar ontological status. The global distribution of Yolngu creativity, in the form of artefacts in museum collections, archived musical performance and films and photographs of people and ceremonies, has recently become an asset that can continually be reconnected to the present.

More about Professor Howard Morphy here...

March 21

Camosun Connect 2013

Welcome Camosun Anthropology Students. This annual event introduces transferring Camosun Anthropology students to Anthropology's Faculty and Staff. Lunch provided. Cornett B250 11:30

March 6

Undergraduates you're invited to the 2013 JCURA Research Fair: Discovery, Exploration, Creativity

11:30-3:00 in the SUB, Michele Pujol Room: Anthropology has three winners; Sebastian Irvine, Sarah Leckie and Emma Weatherley who will be presenting their posters and answering questions on their research. Come and see what UVic undergrads are researching. All welcome.

Cynthia Korpan, PhD interdisciplinary student is mentioned in Visual Anthropology Review, Vol. 28, Issue 2.

Cynthia Korpan has been leading the way in promoting electronic transfer of knowledge. Quoted on p. 89. More here...

Genevieve von Petzinger, PhD student and TED Senior Fellow at this year's TED annual global cultural conference.

"Genevieve von Petzinger is one of a dozen Canadians who have been selected as TED Fellows since the program began in 2009, The Vancouver Sun. More here...

Alberni Indian Residential School Art from 1959 and 1960 to be reunited with the artists on March 30th in Port Alberni

"At present, there is little known about the status of children’s art from residential schools in Canada. The art from AIRS is rare as not much of the students’ work survived the schools run across the country." The works were donated to the University from the estate of the former art teacher, Robert Aller. Dr. Andrea Walsh has been working with the artists, their families and communities on this project. More here.

February 20

Dr. April Nowell writes on Neandertal Childhoods for New Scientist

Dr. April Nowell's exploration of Neandertals, our closest ancient relatives, looks at what "childhood" for them would have been like. More here...

Dr. Erin McGuire wins Public Anthropology's Eleanor Roosevelt Global Citizenship Award

Dr. Erin McGuire in the Anthropology Department has won Public Anthropology’s Eleanor Roosevelt Global Citizenship Award. The award is named to honour the 20th century’s “First Lady of the World,” and it recognizes Dr. McGuire’s exceptionally effective participation in Public Anthropology’s Community Action Online Project as well her wider activities in the public sphere. Only a select few, less than 1% of the faculty teaching introductory anthropology courses across North America, receive this award. Read more here on page 10.

Alumna Beverly Van Ruyven BA ’79 and faculty member Dr. Andrea Walsh are being honoured with Alumni Who Have Made a Difference Awards on February 7, 2013.

Beverly Van Ruyven BA ’79 (Anthropology) Beverly is a member of the UVic Board of Governors and a strong supporter of the Vikes Championship Breakfast. The university benefits from her experience, including her past positions as executive vice-president of BC Hydro and her appointments to the Fraser Basin Council and the Vancouver Board of Trade Women’s Leadership Circle.

Andrea Walsh BFA ’91 (Visual Arts) First People’s art, artists and patrons have come to the university as a result of Andrea’s efforts to foster better understanding of the cultures, the art and the stories of the First Peoples. She organized the highly successful Pit Cook during the 50th Anniversary Festival.

Jennifer Robinson, PhD student, is interviewed on the local radio station CFUV, called Beyond the Jargon

The show is meant to demystify the grad school experience by interviewing students about their projects, but more importantly, how they got to where they are on the grad school "journey". It is meant to really explain the process of grad school, which may be useful (maybe!) to other students. Listen to the podcast here.

Eric McLay, PhD candidate, receives the Wenner Gren's "Dissertation Fieldwork Grant" (up to 20,000) and the "Osmundsen Initiative" (up to 5,000) for a total grant of 24,975.00.

Eric’s project, entitled ‘Ancestral Landscapes on the Northwest Coast: Inland Shell Middens, Memory Work and Coast Salish Narratives’ involves collaborative work with descendant Coast Salish communities today about how their cultural beliefs, values, experiences and daily practices associated with the ancestral dead and non-human beings powerfully shape Coast Salish understandings of their own settlement history.”

Eric said that he was very appreciative of this grant, as the Wenner-Gren is one of the top anthropology foundations in the world (it also publishes the journal Current Anthropology), and, "I'm fully cognizant how highly competitive it is - the website states only 16% of applicants are successful."

The Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research, Inc. is a private operating foundation dedicated to the advancement of anthropology throughout the world. Located in New York City, it is one of the major funding sources for international anthropological research and is actively engaged with the anthropological community through its varied grant, fellowship, networking, conference and symposia programs.

Project Title: “Ancestral Landscapes on the Northwest Coast: Inland Shell Middens, Memory Work and Coast Salish Narratives”
Abstract: This PhD dissertation proposes to explore social memory and the depositional practices associated with 'inland shell middens' in the Gulf of Georgia region, British Columbia, Canada. Discovered atop mountain hilltops and valleys distant from modern shorelines, inland shell middens defy ethnographic expectations and normative ecological models of hunter-gatherer foraging behaviors based on efficiency and least-cost economic principles. These investigations will examine whether the depositional practices associated with inland shell middens may represent evidence for new strategies of ritual practice beginning in the Marpole Phase (2400 to 1000 calBP), where past Coast Salish peoples gathered, feasted and ritually-deposited foods and other offerings to commemorate and commune with ancestors and non-human beings on the landscape. Survey, remote sensing and small-scale excavations will explore site chronologies, stratigraphic contexts, features and genealogies of practices associated with the deposition of foods and materials. To move beyond the deeply-plumbed Northwest Coast ethnographic literature to interpret the archaeological past, this research will draw upon dialogues with descendant Coast Salish communities today about how their cultural beliefs, values, experiences and daily practices associated with the ancestral dead and non-human beings powerfully shape Coast Salish understandings of their own settlement history.

Dr. Brian Thom, assistant professor in Anthropology profiled in Treaty Troubles: Colonial Obstacles to Settling Claims in BC, in a series of articles in The Tyee.

Dr. Brian Thom's research on overlapping First Nation land claims is being profiled this week in a series of articles called, Treaty Troubles in The Tyee, an online newspaper. Dr. Thom is quoted in the second and final article, and provided background and context for the entire series. All four articles are available on line. Find the articles here...

Coast Salish sharing their traditions at UVic, Penninsula Review, December 5, 2012

Online version of the Penninsula Review reported on this term's Anthropology 305: Anthropology of the Arts taught by Dr. Andrea Walsh. As part of the university's Salish Artist in Residence Program Local Tsartlip First Nation knitters of Salishfusion; May Sam, Joni Olsen, Adam Olsen and Sylvia Olsen taught the students each week about the Coast Salish traditions and specifically their style of knitting and wool preparation.

Over the term the students each knitted a square and these squares have been knitted and fleeced together into a blanket. The blanket will be raffled off on Monday December 10th and tickets may be purchased in the Anthropology Office for $5.00 each or 3 for $10.00. All proceeds will be donated to the Tsartlip First Nation for a new stove in their longhouse. Read more and view a photo of the blanket in the Penninsula Review.

UVic's Anthropology Department at the 2012 American Anthropological Association's Annual Meeting

This year's AAA's were held November 7- 10th in San Francisco and seven of Anthropology's department members were invited to present.

  • MA Student Alison Blackduck presented: Seeing Amerindian Perspectivism Anew Through a Nietzschean Lens with Tlicho Eyes, at The Ecological Mind session
  • PhD Student Jennifer Robinson presented: Archival Theatre: Place and Performance In Early 20th Century London, at the Surveying The Reach Of Visual Representation session
  • Dr. Alexandrine Boudreault-Fournier: Contaminated Mediators:  Digital Music Circulation On Memory Sticks In Cuba
  • Dr. April Nowell:Childhood, Play and the Evolution of Cultural Capacity In Neanderthals and Early Modern Humans
  • Dr. Brian Thom: Challenging Canada: Indigenous Peoples and the Inter-American Commission On Human Rights
  • Dr. Andrea Walsh: Round table: Visual Anthropology Programs Along The Pacific Rim
  • Dr. Jaime Yard: Enskilment and Super-Exploitation In British Columbian Fisheries.

Congratulations to you all. And a special thanks to those of you who stood behind our UVic information table and answered questions.

Dr. April Nowell's New Scientist interview on "Palaeo-porn: we've got it all wrong".

Dr. April Nowell, a Palaeolithic archaeologist here at UVic and her PhD student, Allison Tripp have been studying Upper Palaeolithic figurines closely and find they are much more varied than today's media typically portray. Recently Dr. Nowell was interviewed by New Scientist. Read the complete interview here.

Congratulations Genevieve von Petzinger on being chosen as one of the 2013 TED Senior Fellows.

In 2011 Genevieve von Petzinger was chosen to be a TED Global Fellow, an honour which is given to a handful of the world's young, unknown and innovative thinkers. Today it was announced that Genevieve has been chosen to be one of the 2013 TED Senior Fellows.

Being selected as a Senior TED Fellow was an incredible honour. All of the regular TED Fellows are invited to apply for this position, and only 12 are chosen each year, so as you can imagine, the competition is very stiff! This fellowship involves attendance at four TED conferences over the next couple of years as well as the opportunity to do a talk on the TED Main Stage and various types of support from TED for a specific project that spans that same time period.

Considering how many amazing projects TED Fellows are involved with around the globe, I was actually a bit surprised to have been chosen! My proposal centers on my PhD research into the geometric signs from Ice Age rock art sites across Europe. In 2013 I will be working at sites across the continent (France, Spain, Italy, Slovakia, Bulgaria, Romania, etc.) with the goal of visually documenting these abstract symbols. I will be looking to see if the same signs are used in different regions, and if so, what does that tell us about the movement of people and ideas as well as the potential for this being a very early form of graphic communication.

TEDxVictoria synopsis - this talk will delve into our deep history as a species and examine the archaeological evidence looking for the first glimmers of a spiritual sensibility that could be seen to be the roots of today's religions.

On November 17, 2012 she will be giving a talk on her research on Cave Art at the TEDxVictoria 2012.

Congratulations to Becky Wigen for 30 years of service at UVic and to the Anthropology Department for being so lucky to have her as their Senior Lab Instructor.

On October 30th the University acknowledged their long term service employees and Becky Wigen was invited for the second time. Becky graduated from the department with her MA in 1980, and immediately started working in Anthropology.

She has seen the Anthropology Department change and grow and she has provided her expertise in zooarchaeology along the way. In addition she has; assisted thousands of undergraduate students with their registration queries, volunteered with the UVic speakers bureau, opened her lab to students ranging from Grade 3-12 and other external interested groups, participated as a faunal bone expert in the department's CSI days... the list goes on. Thank you Becky!

maziniminensikaan: Performing Ojibwe Spirituality Through the Art of Traditional Beading

Celeste Pedri, CSRS Artist in Residence and Anthropology PhD Student, UVic

CSRS Lecture Series: Thursday, October 25, 2012 at 4:30 in the Social Sciences and Math Building , Room A104

Free Lecture: All are Welcome.

Much of the art created by Indigenous artists expresses a concern with the culture and spirituality of their people. As an Ojibwe artist, it is through my beadwork that ideas about spirituality take shape and are communicated to others. In this lecture, I will explore the relationship between my art and Ojibwe traditional teachings, and consider how this relationship intersects with Indigenous conceptions of care and healing.

Celeste Pedri is an Anishinabe (Ojibwe) from Ontario and a member of Lac Des Milles Lacs First Nation. She is currently a doctoral student (Visual Anthropology) at UVic. Her interests include Indigenous performance, visual and public ethnography, and creative methodologies. Celeste is passionate about demonstrating how her Anishinabe culture and art are valuable ways of knowing and experiencing the world and living a good life.

Welcome to the Soundscapes’ Presentation at the UVic Legacy Art Gallery!

Where: UVic Legacy Art Gallery, 630 Yates Street, Victoria BC

When: Friday, 19th of October 2012; 9:30-11:00am

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the University of Victoria, The UVic Legacy Art Gallery (630 Yates Street) is having a retrospective exhibition. Students from the “Anthropology of Sound” class selected a piece of art from the exhibit and composed a soundscape to accompany their chosen piece. Students will present their soundscape in the Gallery, come and listen to the students’ soundscape in situ! This visual and sonic exhibit will allow the viewers/listeners to experience the pieces of art from a multi-sensory perspective. Entry to the gallery is free: Welcome!

Coast Salish Pit Cook on Friday, September 28, 2012 from 10:00-1:00, on the grass between the First Peoples House and the University Centre

The Department of Anthropology along with Elders’ Voices jointly hosts a Coast Salish “pit cook” in collaboration with Songhees First Nation member Cheryl Bryce. The event will be opened by UVic Elders in Residence, and the pit cook will be run by Cheryl Bryce with volunteer help from students and faculty from the Department of Anthropology.

While listening to stories and teachings of the Elders, attendees can witness the creation of the pit and the layering of foods and cooking materials in the ground. When the food is ready, it will be shared with participants for tasting.

Anthropology is having an Open House, Saturday September 29, 2012 from 12:00-4:00 in Cornett's B Wing on the 2nd floor

All are welcome to this family friendly event. Get involved with hands-on demonstrations and displays showcasing the Department of Anthropology’s research.

Bone ID (Cornett B222) - check out the largest skeletal collection on campus! Did you find a bone and want to know what it is from? Bring it along and we can identify it for you.

Hul’qumi’num Treaty Board Game (Cornett B235) - learn about the BC Treaty Process in this online board game.

Humans, Howlers and Hobbits (Cornett B235) - explore the skeletal anatomy of humans, as well as our fossil and primate relatives.

Ethnographic Films (Cornett B237) - watch anthropology films produced by UVic undergraduate students.

Beyond Indiana Jones (Cornett B250) - explore the exciting world of archaeology!

Cave Art (Cornett Courtyard or Anthropology Hallway near Cornett B250, pending weather) - Paint on the prehistoric “rock art” wall or get your face painted with ancient geometric designs based on PhD student and TEDGlobal Fellow Genevieve von Petzinger’s research.

UVic Anthropology PhD Student, Stephanie Calce wins "Vanier Scholarship"

Congratulations to Stephanie Calce, recipient of the Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship (Vanier CGS) for her work on osteoarthritis and skeletal aging. The Vanier CGS aims to attract and retain world-class doctoral students by supporting students who demonstrate both leadership skills and a high standard of scholarly achievement in graduate studies in the social sciences, humanities, natural sciences, engineering, and health. This prestigious award is worth $50,000 per year for three years.

Working under the supervision of Dr. Helen Kurki, Stephanie's PhD research on the effects of joint disease on skeletal age markers examines the relationship between aging and bone health from the perspective of bone biomechanics. Her research uses a bio-cultural approach to address inquiries of human adaptation in 20th century European populations from Italy, Greece, and Portugal to understand joint formation, structure, and function in the human skeleton more fully. Stephanie's data collection will begin this summer at the University of Bologna, Italy. She's very much looking forward to working with international scientific researchers that will contribute to strengthening the potential for collaboration between Canadian universities and research institutions abroad. Well done Stephanie!

Truth and Reconcilliation Commission of Canada

The Truth and Reconcilliation Commission of Canada will be holding a two day event at the Fairmont (Empress Hotel) Conference Centre Friday April 13th and Saturday April 14th. This is the only time that the commission will be in Victoria, and all three Commisioners will be in attendance.

Kristi Bowie, a UVic Anthropology MA student will be in the Crystal Ballroom at the "The Missing Children Project". Dr. Andrea Walsh has been working with a collection of paintings created by students who attended Alberni Indian Residential School between 1958 and 1960 and is assisting with reconnecting people with these paintings. One such painting discovered in the University Art Collection was done by the late Phyllis Tate, who attended Robert Aller's weekly art classes at the residential school. Kristi Bowie comments, "Bearing witness to this process is worthwhile - it is our national history too." Read more on today's issue of the Times Colonist. See a time table of events here.

Congratulations Dr. April Nowell for being the recipient of 2012's Excellence in Teaching Award

Dr. Catherine Mateer, Associate Vice-President Academic Planning presented Dr. April Nowell with her award Wednesday April 4th at the 2012 Social Sciences Excellence Awards Ceremony.

Dr. Mateer said of Dr. Nowell, "Dr. April Nowell is a paleolithic archaeologist – a scholar of early humankind. In April’s own words, “I love Neanderthals.” Her passion inspires her students to pursue their own life passions. She is a dedicated teacher whose love of learning is infectious to those around her. She excels as an undergraduate instructor – she is highly competent, energetic, and motivates her students to learn. April is a strong advocate of effective mentoring, intended to help students discover their excitement for research, to foster their individual creativity, and, in the case of graduate students, to foster their transition to professional careers.

One undergraduate student comments, “she was a fantastic professor, as well as a fantastic person to have on the [South Africa] field school because of her amazing, positive personality… [she is] extremely passionate about the work that she does, and this enthusiasm is evident to everyone….She is one of the most positive, enthusiastic and knowledgeable professors that I have encountered at University of Victoria.”

A graduate student says, “April is an inspiring teacher….she has found the perfect balance between providing direction while still leaving enough space for students to be more self-directed and pursue their areas of interest…she is a highly respected scholar in her field, and yet she is incredibly humble and endlessly supportive of her students.”

April is truly deserving of this award. She has enriched the lives of our students, the Anthropology department, our faculty and our university through the energy, passion, and cheerful good humour that she brings to bear on her teaching.

Information about Dr. April Nowell's research, here.

IdeaFest: Passport to the Social Sciences- March 5 to March 9 - Enter to WIN $500 grand prize

Pick up your passport at any department office or download and print the PDF. For more information, please contact Unit head offices are as follows: ANTH (COR B228), ECON (BEC 360), ES (SSM B243), GEOG (SSM B203), POLI (SSM A316), PSYC (COR A236) and SOC (COR A333).


The Anthropology Department and Let's Talk Science collaborated for the second CSI day on Saturday June 9th. 32 local high school students donned their white coveralls, gathered evidence and solved the mock crime of the missing woman. Students from local high schools and home schools joined their talents and spent the morning examining 4 different potential crime scenes in the UVIC woods. Using realistic techniques and in collaboration with the Saanich Police, local Bone Expert, Becky Wigen and Ballistic Expert, Dr. Ran Donaldson the students gathered and identified significant forensic evidence. After lunch the teams met again to learn how to identify gender from bones and how to map out a grave. "Not a lot like CSI on TV", was often heard and the students were serious and diligent in solving the case. CTV filmed the students and the link c/o CTV may be found here....

110th Annual Meeting of the American Anthropological Association, November 16-20 in Montreal

We are pleased to share that the Anthropology Department was well-represented at the 110th Annual meeting of the American Anthropological Association meetings held in Montreal from November 16-20. This was the largest AAA meeting ever (6500 registrants), and 5 of our graduate students and one of our undergraduate students presented at the meetings. Faculty were also well represented and presentations were given by : Lisa Mitchell, Peter Stephenson, Brian Thom and Andrea Walsh, and two of our adjuncts Michael Asch and Rob Hancock. Very positive feedback regarding both the professionalism of our students and the strength of content of their presentations was recieved. The student presentations were as follows:

Angelique Lalonde (PhD) Embodying Ethical Consumerism through Yoga: a "Sustainable Living Project" in Costa Rica

Jennafer Roberts (MA) The "Chick Shot": Negotiating Gender and Responsibility through Young Women's Decision about HPV Vaccination

Julie-Anne Weaver (MA) Grounding Cooperative Management: The Power of Land-Based Monitoring Projects, Reciprocal Relationships and Knowledge Mobility In National Parks

Sarah Moritz (MA) Navigating Culture: St’át’imc Cultural Identity and Self-Determination within and Through Strategic Collaborative Relationships and Processes

Jane Wellburn (MA) Re-Thinking 'redneck': Making Collaboration Visible In Small Town British Columbia

Devin Tepleski (Undergraduate) participated in both a reviewed UG poster session entitled First Rites: Innovative Undergraduate Student Research in Anthropology in which he presented a poster entitled Ethic Art: Reconciling Art and Anthropology. He also had the honour of screening his film Mango Driftwood in the reviewed film room at the meetings.

Cornett Grand Opening: September 22, 2011

Welcome to the Cornett Building, a show case of Contemporary Coast Salish Art Work and home to many of the Social Sciences Departments. Explore the new surroundings.... Coast Salish Art Guide.

Graduate Student Orientation Sessions: Parts 1 & 2

The Department of Anthropology is holding two Orientation Events for their new Graduate Students. Each session will cover different aspects of the Graduate Program. Part 1 is on Friday September 9th from 9:30-11:30 in B250 and will be followed by a sandwich buffet with the Faculty. Part 2 will be on September 16 from 10:00-11:30 in B250. Dr. Lisa Gould the Grad Advisor and other guests will be attending both sessions. Each morning will start off with breakfast snacks and beverages.

TA Orientation Sessions: Parts 1 & 2

The Department of Anthropology is holding two TA Orientation Events for their new TAs. Each session will cover different aspects of TAing. Part 1 was on Tuesday September 13th. Part 2 will be on September 22 from 9:30-11:30 in Cornett A225. Dr. Erin McGuire will be the facilitator for both sessions and. Each morning will start off with muffins, fruit and beverages.

Anthropology Adjunct, Dr. Susan Crockford, National Geographic Daily News:


Curious Wolves Went to the Dogs

"In general, dogs likely became domesticated when curious wolves began to hang around Stone Age people, who left butchered food remnants littering their camps, according to study co-author Susan Crockford, an anthropologist and zooarchaeologist at the University of Victoria in Canada. This phenomenon occurred in Europe, the Middle East, and China, according to the study, published July 28 in the journal PLoS ONE. (Also see "Oldest Domesticated Dog in Americas Found—Was Human Food.") Animals that were more comfortable around humans underwent changes in their growth rates—probably regulated by hormones—that eventually changed their reproductive patterns, sizes, and shapes, turning them into dogs, Crockford said by email. For example, dogs became smaller, developed wider skulls, and gave birth to bigger litters than wolves, she said. "The somewhat curious and less fearful 'first founders' became even more so as they interbred amongst themselves," Crockford said." more...


University of Victoria PhD candidate Genevieve von Petzinger is the only Canadian on the distinguished list of 20 new international fellows at the TEDGlobal Conference 2011 next month in Edinburgh, Scotland. Von Petzinger earned international media attention last year with her discovery of ancient geometric signs from the Ice Age. As a master’s student in UVic’s Department of Anthropology, von Petzinger cracked a startling symbolic code carved on prehistoric cave walls. She has compiled a database of 5,000 geometric shapes, lines and squiggles from 146 Ice Age caves in France and garnered global attention.

As a TEDGlobal Fellow, von Petzinger will share her recent research with an international audience at the TEDGlobal Conference, July 11 to 15. “I am delighted TEDGlobal chose me,” says von Petzinger. “It is a great honour.”

TED is a non-profit organization and the annual TED Conference invites the world’s leading thinkers and doers to speak for 18 minutes and these TED Talks are then available at TED:

On June 9th, 2011 the Times Colonist printed this article about Genevieve von Petzinger's work. More...

Claudine Gravel Miguel, Anthropology MSc Student will talk about her work with L'Alliance Francaise de Victoria

Claudine Gravel Miguel will be presenting her work in french to a local organiziation for french speaking Victorians. Her talk is on the "Objets d'art portatifs et ornements decouverts dans les grottes prehistoriques. Quel pouvait etre role? Quelle etait leur provenance?" It will be held at 2:30 in the Oak Bay Library, which is located at 1442 Monterey, Oak Bay.

Darcy Mathews Anthropology PhD student talks about Upland Park Burial Sites

Darcy Mathews a University of Victoria, Anthropology PhD student has been mapping rock cairns in the park with Camousun Students. Mathews obtained permission from the Songhees band, whose people are descendants of residents of the Chekonein villiage that was located at Willows Beach until the mid-1800s, to map the 1,500 year old rock cairns. The talk and discussion is hosted by Friends of Uplands Park. It will be held at the Windsor Park Pavilion on 2451 Windsor Road and begins at 7 p.m.

UBC Anthropology Graduate Student Conference - March 18-19, 2011

The conference will follow the theme: Explorations in Practice". Informaton at: Call for papers: Deadline Monday February 28, 2011 to

The Jamie Cassels Undergraduate Research Award 2011

Click here for more information

UVic Anthropology PhD Student, Genevieve von Petzinger is interviewed for CBC's radio program SPARKS

January 25, 2011

Genevieve's interview on the impulse of early cave man to "tweet" may be heard on January 26th, 2011 at 2:00 or accessed online at the CBC website via the podcast link.

Anthropology Sessional Faculty Member Dr. Ranald Donaldson has been selected to recieve the 2010 Gilian Sherwin Alumni Award for Excellence in Teaching

December 22, 2010

Dr. Ranald Donaldson will be presented this award at the Teaching Awards Celebration, Thursday, February 10, 2010 at the University Club.

Anthropology Faculty Member Dr. Michael Asch receives Honorary Degree from Memorial University

October 21, 2010

Dr. Michael I. Asch was presented with the degree of doctor of letters, honoris causa, from Memorial University in St. John's during their Fall 2010 Convocation.

Anthropology Co-op applications now available

August 23, 2010

Social Sciences (Anthropology) Co-op is accepting applications for admission. The application deadline is Wed. September 15th. Application forms are available in the Social Sciences Co-op office SSM A204.

Anthropology Undergraduate Student Devin Tepleski featured on CBC's "On the Island" with Gregor Craigie

July 29, 2010

Devin Tepleski was fetured on the July 29th edition of "On the Island" with Gregor Craigie. Click here for more information.

Anthropology Field School Featured in Times Colonist

July 29, 2010

Anthropology’s Summer Field School was recently features in the Victoria Times Colonist. Click here for more information.

Sena? A Photographic Exhibition by Devin Tepleski at the Lúz Gallery

July 17, 2010

In 2011, waters will begin to rise behind the 400 megawatt Bui Hydroelectric dam in Ghana, inundating an estimated 440 km2. The dam will deprive Banda fishermen of their livelihoods and displace villagers from homes and farmlands occupied for centuries.  In 2009, Anthropology undergraduate Devin Tepleski, with support from SSHRC funds provided through a UVic Internal Research Grant, interviewed villagers, filmed daily life in several villages and took portraits of Bui villagers as part of a project to generate awareness around the human impacts of the Bui Hydroelectric Dam. He has produced a short film entitled Mango Driftwood which is a poignant portrayal of Bui villagers’ attachment to place as they contemplate relocation to an as yet undetermined new site. The mango trees under which villagers rest and socialize provide links to the deceased relatives who planted them, prompting elders to exhort the importance of ‘looking back’.  Equally as poignant is the question “Sena?” (Where?). Having been ordered by government officials to stop planting new crops in anticipation of relocation, “Sena? was a question much on villagers’ minds in summer 2009. Devin’s haunting portraits of villagers standing in the river that is both sacred to them and that will engulf their village simultaneously attests the villagers’ strength and the limits of their ability to respond to progress’s latest challenge.

Devin’s portraits are the focus of a July 29-August 28 exhibit at the Lúz Gallery, 1844 Oak Bay Ave., Victoria. Funds raised through the exhibition will be used to assist villagers affected by the hydroelectric dam. Luz is selling prints and accepting donations to provide much needed capital for microfinance projects and local educative initiatives.

A bitter pill to swallow

July 17, 2010

Dr. Peter Stephenson was featured in the Times Colonist for his research on Adverse Drug Reactions in seniors. Click here for more information.

Undergraduate Research Scholars Fair features two Anthropology students

April 13, 2010

Two Undergraduate Anthropology students, Chelsea Wilson and Jacob Earnshaw will be participating in the Undergraduate Research Scholars Fair. Both scholars will have a presentation of their research on display all day Wednesday April 14 in the Harry Hickman Building, and will be present themselves to explain their projects between 10-12 (Jacob) and  12-2 (Chelsea). Click here for more information.

New analysis of "cave signs" suggests an early symbolic system

Feb 22, 2010

A recent study by UVic graduate student Genevieve von Petzinger reveals that dots, lines and other geometric signs found in prehistoric European caves may be the precursor to an ancient system of written communication dating back nearly 30,000 years. Von Petzinger, under the supervision of UVic anthropology professor April Nowell, compiled the markings from 146 different sites in Ice Age France, making it possible to compare the signs on a larger scale than had ever previously been attempted.

“What makes my research ‘new’ is that I was able to use all the wonderful modern technology at my disposal to compare inventories and digital images from nearly 150 locations— this gave me the ability to observe some startling similarities among the different sites,” says von Petzinger.

Building on previous work by other scholars who tended to focus on the local or regional level, von Petzinger and Nowell were surprised by the clear patterning of the symbols across space and time—some of which remained continually in use for over 20,000 years.  The 26 specific signs may provide the first glimmers of proof that a graphic code was being used by these ancient humans shortly after their arrival in Europe from Africa, or they may have even brought this practice with them. If correct, these findings will contribute to the growing body of evidence that the “creative explosion” occurred tens of thousands of years earlier than scholars once thought.

Von Petzinger and Nowell’s findings have been reported in New Scientist and their research continues to explore the meaning of the symbols. Click here to watch the interview on the Discovery Channel.

Anthropology 392 class gets their hands dirty

Feb 22, 2010

Andy Roddick’s Anthropology  392 class recently visited Yunomi Studio and Gallery with Ann Coleman. The class is studying ceramic production from both an archaeological and ethnographic perspective in order to ask detailed social questions of the past. In this visit they had the chance to "get our hands dirty" and actually think about the people behind the pot sherds that are so often found in archaeological sites around the world. Click here for more information.

Libby Seabold featured in UVic's Annual Review

Feb 2, 2010

Congratulations to Libby Seabold, who is featured in the 2009 University of Victoria Annual Review for her research with the Ministry of Children and Family Development. Click here for more information.

Keeping the Music Alive

Jan 4, 2010

Published in Monday’s Globe and Mail, Tom Hawthorn celebrates Michael Asch, grandson of the late Shalom Asch, and Adjunct Professor in the Department of Anthropology. Click here for the full story.