Keynote Lecture: Thursday Nov. 8 (Salon B) 8:00 pm

Dr. Chris Meicklejohn, Emeritus Professor
Dept. of Anthropology, University of Winnipeg

Chris Meiklejohn is Professor Emeritus at the University of Winnipeg where he taught from 1970 to 2007 and won both teaching and research awards. He was born in the UK (1941) and came to Canada as a small boy, growing up in Ottawa where he went to school, obtaining a B.Sc. in Biology and Geology from Carleton University (1964). He went to the University of Toronto, obtaining an M.Phil. (1968) and Ph.D. (1974) in Physical Anthropology. His Master’s thesis, directed by Lawrence Oschinsky and James E. Anderson, studied whether Inuit crania could be discriminated from those of First Nations origin. His Doctorate, directed by David R. Hughes, built a series of nested models concerned with whether it was possible to predict the biological structure of late glacial/early postglacial populations in Western Europe.

During his doctoral research he spent a year (1968/69) examining Upper Palaeolithic and Mesolithic skeletal material in European museum collections. He also taught at the University of Pennsylvania (1967/68) and the University of Toronto (1969/70) before accepting a position in Winnipeg. Since completing his thesis he has conducted extended research on European and Middle Eastern skeletal collections, in cooperation with archaeologists in the regional field, projects that have involved Neolithic material from Iran and Syria (1974
to present), and Mesolithic material from Holland, (1976 to 1981), Portugal, (1983 to present), and Denmark, (1985 to present).

Since the early 1990s his research, beyond the above, has focused on dating and interpreting Mesolithic human remains in Europe, and analyzing European Upper Palaeolithic through Neolithic cranial, dental and postcranial data, in the search for chronological trends and issues associated with the agricultural transition. The dating and interpretation project focuses in two related area, the first a revision of the catalogue of Mesolithic human materia
l he worked on during his first sabbatical (Journal of Human Evolution 1979). The second has examined the chronology of cemeteries, centred on the question of whether cemeteries are a late phenomenon associated with cultural complexity. The data analysis project has, to date, looked at trends in long bone length and at dental reduction. A study Upper Palaeolithic craniometric trends is underway. In the data analysis project Chris is a cooperating member of the project “Charting the population history of anatomically modern Europeans from their first arrival to the advent of agriculture”, directed by Dr. Ron Pinhasi, Trinity College, Dublin. 

In retirement Chris Meiklejohn continues his research, travels to see his extended family and elsewhere, gourmet cooking, and a life in bird watching that goes back to when he was 5 years old.

From Lawrence, Kansas, to Victoria in 40 years; some thoughts on the history of Physical Anthropology in Canada, CAPA and a career in Bioarchaeology

Abstract: The idea for CAPA was spawned in a hotel room in Lawrence, Kansas, in the spring of 1973. In 2012 the 40th anniversary of the association is being celebrated in Victoria. I will talk about the founding of the association within the framework of the history of Physical Anthropology in Canada, and will muse on the twists and turns that led me to a career at the boundary between Physical Anthropology and Old World Archaeology.

Banquet Address: Friday Nov. 9 (West Harbour Ballroom) 8:00 pm

Dr. Ted Steegmann
, Emeritus Professor
Dept. of Anthropology, State University of New York at Buffal
o. (link)

Our banquet address will be delivered this year by Dr. A. Theodore Steegmann Jr., a world leading researcher in in human cold adaptation.

In recognition of over five decades in the field and his significant contributions to our current understanding of human physiological adaptation, Dr. Ted Steegmann received the 2012 Franz Boas Distinguished Achievement Award from the Human Biology Association (HBA). Since receiving his PhD from the University of Michigan in 1965, he has held numerous academic and professional positions including 46 years as a member of the anthropology department at the University of Buffalo., serving as chair of the department from 1979 to 1988. Dr. Steegmann  has also served as chair of the Anthropology Section of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (2007-2008), president of the Biological Anthropology Section of the AAA (1986), editor of the “Yearbook of Physical Anthropology” (1992-1997), and President of the Human Biology Association (2005-2007). Dr. Steegmann’s research focuses on both contemporary and prehistoric human morphological and physiological response to environmental change and stress, and his fieldwork in these areas has taken him to China, the Philippines, Western New York, Alaska, Canada, and Hawaii.

His most recent publications can be found in the American Journal of Human Biology and the Journal of Physiological Anthropology. In 2006 Dr. Steegmann delivered the Raymond Pearl Memorial Lecture calling for renewed academic attention to human physiological cold adaptation among human biologists, a call that he is himself answering with the work being presented in his keynote address (abstract below).  Dr. Steegmann was named professor emeritus in Department of Anthropology at the University of Buffalo in 2004.

Stress and Resilience in the Medieval Crisis: Northern Sweden.

Abstract: Following a benign early medieval period, northern Europe fell into crisis. About 1300 A.D., the Little Ice Age began, followed by crop failure, famine, plague, war, and faltering institutions of both civil and religious management. Our knowledge of contemporary human biology suggests that all of this should have produced reduced stature, developmental errors and heightened morbidity/mortality in Norse populations. This presentation briefly reviews evidence of the crisis, and outlines a research proposal. The site is Jamtland, north central Sweden—the northernmost inland medieval farming area and one we predict should have been hardest hit by the environmental/social crisis. To gauge the level of local stressors, environmental archaeology will be used to examine factors in the abandonment or persistence of local farms. In the same parishes, we will excavate human skeletons buried in the 14th and 15th centuries to compare to the Westerhus population from the immediately preceding medieval warming period in Jamtland. Far from proving the obvious, it may well be the skeletal evidence will show local populations suffered minimal effects of environmental stressors. If so, that would open a dialog about specific resilient behaviors by human populations for protection in face of environmental change. We need to understand that in preparation for what is now on the horizon.