Category Archives: Archaeology

Sara Perry: Intersection of Archaeology and Visual Anthropology

Brave hunter, guided by arrows. Source: Perry (2009).

We’ve featured the newish blog anthropologies here before – its thematic issues are always worth a read. The January 1 edition was particularly interesting because its theme, Visual Anthropology, is of keen interest to the department here since we are currently hiring in that subdiscipline.

But it was of particular interest because one of our distinguished alumna, Dr. Sara Perry, has a short essay entitled Fluid Fields: The (Unspoken) Intersections of Visual Anthropology and Archaeology.  Sara writes an elegant account of how her long-standing research interest in how archaeologists create, consume, and circulate images matters within a holistic anthropological project:

However, on the other side, amongst audiences of archaeologists, I am often similarly loath to declare myself to be a visual anthropologist. This is because I have repeatedly been challenged by both my archaeological students and colleagues for doing research that is purportedly “not real archaeology.” My response to such a baseless statement is that archaeologists are—and always have been—skilled users and makers of multi-media, capitalising on various visual anthropological methodologies to facilitate or augment their work.

It’s almost a manifesto for how archaeologists and visual anthropologists need to learn from each other, not so much through shared attention to material culture, but through shared attention to images as artifacts.  It’d be hard to find a better example of the niche that our department’s thematic approach to graduate studies is designed to fill.

Sara’s work is best known to us here in the form of her brilliant M.A. thesis on visual representations of the First Peopling of North America, Australia and the Pacific (downloadable PDF!).  Since leaving us, she went to complete her Ph.D. in 2011 at the University of Southampton, working with Professor Stephanie Moser, and as of this month she has started as lecturer at the University of York, U.K.  Congratulations to Sara on her new position!



Perry, Sara (2009). Fractured media: Challenging the dimensions of archaeology’s typical visual modes of engagement. Archaeologies: Journal of the World Archaeological Congress 5(3): 389-415


October 24 Colloquium: Genevieve von Petzinger on Upper Palaeolithic Art

von Petzinger. Source: TED

From the Walls to the Grave: Linking the Parietal and Portable Geometric Signs found in European Upper Paleolithic Art

Genevieve von petzinger

Ph.D. Candidate,

Anthropology, UVIC

Monday Oct. 24, 2011


MACLaurin D103

Free and open to the public

Outline: The geometric signs found in French rock art during the Upper Paleolithic (10,000 – 35,000 BP) show definite spatial and temporal patterning between the sites. This continuity suggests the geometric signs were being used with purpose, and that they were meaningful to those who created them. If they did have significance, and were being used to convey information, then we could be looking at a very early form of graphic communication. This implies that there was a system, but how can we identify the manner in which the creators of these markings organized and utilized them? This talk will examine some of the ways in which we can approach function and meaning, including the potential for comparison with portable art objects from the same time period.

Bio: Genevieve von Petzinger is a Ph.D Student in the Department of Anthropology, where she also recieved an M.A. degree.  Her thesis received wide attention in the media for its novel approach to geometric or non-figurative European cave art and forms the basis of publications in preparation.  She recently became a TED fellow, and  her biographical interview for that or is rich with information about her ideas. She also has a page at the Bradshaw Foundation.

Colloquium Monday October 3: Peter Stahl

Early Holocene Humans and Indigenous Fox in the Neotropical Lowlands of South America

Peter Stahl
Department of Anthropology , University of Victoria  

  Monday October 3, 2011

11:30, MAC D103

Tropical areas of the western hemisphere are recognized as important hearths for the domestication of a wide range of plants; however, it has always been somewhat puzzling to consider that few, if any, animals were ever domesticated in the tropical lowlands of South America. Although the domesticated dog (Canis lupus familiaris) was likely the first exotic animal domesticate to have been introduced into the western hemisphere, its widespread acceptance in the Amazon basin appears to have been a very recent phenomenon.  Continue reading

Coast Salish Clam Gardens

Screenshot of Jude Isabella's Archaeology Magazine Article.

U.Vic graduate student Jude Isabella – interdisciplinary between Anthropology and Writing – has written a fascinating article for the high-profile, general-interest magazine Archaeology.  Her topic is recent archaeological research in the Salish Sea, with an emphasis on “Clam Gardens”, a traditional practice of mariculture, or cultivation, of shellfish.

Continue reading