Max Friesen

Max photo

Max Friesen

Max Friesen is a professor in the Department of Anthropology, University of Toronto.  He specializes in the archaeology of Arctic North America, and has performed fieldwork in the Cambridge Bay region of Victoria Island, the Barrenlands of southern Nunavut, the Mackenzie Delta region of the Northwest Territories, Herschel Island in northern Yukon, and Kotzebue Sound in Alaska.  His research explores how the linkages between social organization, world view, economy, technology, environment, and landscape have shaped northern peoples’ lives over the past 5,000 years.  His methodological focus is on zooarchaeology, which has the potential to inform not just about the economy and environment, but also about social and ideological structures.  His current project seeks to understand the unprecedented destruction of coastal archaeological sites currently occurring in the Mackenzie Delta region.  This destruction is being accelerated by modern climate change impacts such as rising sea levels, increased storminess, and thawing permafrost.  The project, developed in collaboration with the Inuvialuit Cultural Resource Centre, involves extensive regional helicopter survey to monitor vulnerable sites, including several that are eroding at a rate of over one metre per year.  The project also involves large-scale excavations at the eroding site of Kuukpak, which is the largest known pre-contact Inuvialuit site in the Mackenzie Delta, and contains over 20 very large semi-subterranean houses.

 

 

Photo Info:  Max Friesen examines a Middle Dorset harpoon head at Iqaluktuuq on Victoria Island.

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