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Archaeologist Adrian Burke to speak at the University of Maine at Fort Kent

March 14, 2003


Adrian L. Burke, assistant professor of anthropology and quaternary and climate studies at the University of Maine campus, will give a presentation entitled Archaeology in the Upper Saint John Valley: Past, Present, and Future on the UMFK campus on April 1. The event will take place from 6:00 to 7:00 p.m. in the Nadeau Hall Teleconference Center.

Archaeology in the Upper Saint John Valley: Past, Present, and Future is a look at the 100 year history of archaeology in the upper St. John Valley. He will also review work he performed in 2002, along the Fish River, where he conducted preliminary surveys for prehistoric Native American sites, and he will speak about future research plans in the area.

"The Native American past of the upper Saint John has largely been ignored by historians and archaeologists, despite a rich history of research in the surrounding regions of Quebec, Gulf of Maine, and the Maritimes," said Burke. "I believe that the Saint John Valley was a crucial artery in the Native American geography of the Northeast, and the archaeology is now starting to bear this out."

Dr. Burke received his Ph.D. from the University of Albany in New York. He is an archaeologist interested in the history of the Algonquian and Iroquoian peoples of the Northeast North America prior to European contact. His research has focused on the Maritime Peninsula, a region occupied today and in the past by the Penobscot, Passamaquoddy, Maliseet, and Mi'kmaq people, and in particular the St. John River Valley of Maine, New Brunswick and Quebec.

Burke's work in prehistoric archaeology includes the study of stone tool technology and especially the raw materials used to make stone tools, for example: the extraction sites or quarries, the chemical and physical characterization of these materials using methods from the earth sciences, and the movement of these materials throughout the Northeast by trade or group movements. As an archeologist, he is also interested in the use of early written sources, or ethnohistory, in the reconstruction of past Native life ways.

His most recent research includes the identification and characterization of Late Paleoindian (ca. 7000-6000 B.C.) chert quarries along the north shore of the Gaspé Peninsula using geoarchaeological approach. He is also completing the analysis of the chipped and ground stone tools and their raw materials from the Allumettes and Morrison Island Archaic sites (ca. 6000-2500 B.C.) in the Upper Ottawa Valley.

Burke has also written a number of articles for publication including Témiscouata: Traditional Maliseet Territory and Connections between the St. Lawrence Valley and the St. John River Valley, published in Actes du Trente-deuxième Congrès des Algonquinistes, and a book on the prehistory of the upper Saint John entitled La préhistoire du Témiscouata: Occupations amérindiennes dans la haute vallée de Wolastokuk (with Éric Chalifoux and Claude Chapdelaine, 1998, Recherches amérindiennes au Québec: Montreal). Dr. Burke is also fluent in French.

The live presentation will also be delivered via compressed video to the Presque Isle Campus.

The presentation and slide show by Burke will be of particular interest to students and teachers, and to members of the community curious about history and archaeology.

Admission is free, and no registration is required. For more information contact Don Eno, in the Academic Outreach office at 834-7835.