Frozen Pasts: The 3rd International Glacial Archaeology Symposium

Frozen Pasts – The 3rd International Glacial Archaeology Conference

‘Frozen Pasts’ – the 3rd International Glacial Archaeology Conference will be held June 3 to 8, 2012 in Whitehorse, Yukon, Canada. Following the success of the two previous symposiums in  Bern, Switzerland in August 2008 and Trondheim, Norway in 2010, the 2012 symposium will highlight the discoveries of North American glacial archaeologists and showcase the opening of a major new Yukon First Nation Cultural Centre featuring ice patch discoveries. The 3rd International Glacial Archaeology Symposium will be hosted by Kwanlin Dün First Nation and Government of Yukon.

Glacial Archaeology is a developing field of study focusing on the global phenomenon of prehistoric and historical materials melting from a variety of frozen contexts. These frozen contexts may include alpine ice patches, glaciers, permafrost and arid, high elevation sites. Glacial Archaeology is a multidisciplinary field of investigation with ties to a broad range of sciences such as climatology, glaciology and conservation science. The artefacts and faunal material that emerge from these contexts are typically extremely well preserved and of high scientific value. The aim of Frozen Pasts Symposiums is to gather together researchers, land and resource managers and local communities who all share an interest in the phenomenon of glacial archaeology in a single forum for the exchange of information, ideas, methods and innovations.

Whitehorse, Yukon in Canada’s North was chosen as the site of the 3rd International Glacial Archaeology Symposium because of its prominent role in the development of ice patch research in North America.  Since 1997, researchers have been conducting annual field expeditions to alpine regions of southern Yukon amassing one of the most important collections of ancient hunting implements and preserved faunal material in North America. More than 200 hunting weapons have been recovered from 24 different localities with radiocarbon dates ranging from the late 19th century to more than 9000 years old. This research has been undertaken in collaboration with six Yukon First Nations which include Kwanlin Dün First Nation, Carcross/Tagish First Nation, Teslin Tlingit Council, Ta’an Kwach’an Council, Champagne and Aishihik First Nations and Kluane First Nation. The Yukon Ice Patch Project will be featured in a special temporary exhibit at the symposium venue at the new Kwanlin Dün Cultural Centre located beside the Yukon River in downtown Whitehorse.

The ‘Frozen Pasts’ Symposium will feature an opening night reception hosted by the Yukon Government at the Beringia Centre followed by three full days of glacial research presentations from locations around the globe. Participants will be able to sign up for two excursions offered June 7 and June 8: Excursion One includes a field trip to a sub-alpine archaeological site and a helicopter trip to an  alpine ice patch. Excursion Two is a trip to the edge of the St. Elias Mountains, to the newly opened Champagne and Aishihik Cultural Centre in Haines Junction.

All information relevant to the symposium will be posted here as it becomes available.  New information will also be sent by email to those appearing on the symposium mailing list.  Should you wish to be included on this list please contact the Symposium Organizers.