Sunday, March 08, 2009

A New Perspective on Native/Norse Contact in Arctic Canada

2 March 2009

The following information was released by the University of Arkansas:

Patricia Sutherland, curator of the Canadian Museum of Civilization, is a widely known North American archaeologist who has undertaken pioneering research into the history of remote Northern regions of the continent. She will discuss “A New Perspective on Native/Norse Contact in Arctic Canada” at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 4, in Giffels Auditorium, Old Main. The lecture, the final Robert L. Stigler Jr. Lectureship in Archaeology of the academic year, is free and open to the public.

Since 1975, Sutherland has been involved in archaeological research throughout Arctic Canadaandhas collaborated on a number of international projects in Greenland. Her recent research is focused on the question of Norse/Aboriginal contact in the Eastern Arctic in the centuries around A.D. 1000.

Last year, her work on medieval Norse-Inuit/Dorset relations in the Eastern Arctic won major funding as an International Polar Year project. Sutherland contends that in the Arctic, unlike in Newfoundland, the Norse had frequent and prolonged contact with aboriginal peoples — the first sustained close encounter of the Old World with the New. To read more, go to

A Fellow of the Arctic Institute of North America, Sutherland is the recipient of the Lowell Thomas Award from the Explorers Club of New York for her accomplishments in field research and scientific exploration. She has also received the Canadian Museums Association’s Award for Outstanding Achievement in Research, as well as its Distinguished Service Award for significant contributions in museum work. Among her publications are The Franklin Era in Canadian Arctic History, 1845-59 and “Norse and Natives in the Eastern Arctic” in The Viking World.

The Stigler Lectureship honors Robert Leath Stigler Jr., an honors graduate in 1939 of Pine Bluff High School who attended graduate school at Columbia University and received a Ph.D. in anthropology in 1954. Most of Stigler's professional career was associated with Columbia, where he served as a lecturer and projects administrator. He also served as an assistant professor at Brandeis University and as the director of that university's Middle East Archaeology Project to Iran and Israel. He was a Fellow of the American Anthropological Association and held memberships in the Society for American Archaeology and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.