Hamilton Chapter - Canadians and The Founding of the Society for American Archaeology, 1934-1940

  • September 19, 2019
  • 7:30 PM
  • Fieldcote Memorial Park & Museum, Ancaster

Speaker:  Mima Kapches, Independent Researcher

Topic: Canadians and The Founding of the Society for American Archaeology, 1934-1940

The Society for American Archaeology was founded in December of 1934, in Pittsburgh, PA. To set the record straight there were no Canadians who signed the founding document at the meeting in the Roosevelt Hotel. However, there was one Canadian who had been involved with the Council that had developed the Constitution for the SAA in advance of that meeting. Although not Canadian born Diamond Jenness of the Dominion Museum, Ottawa, was involved. 
Newly formed, the first objective of the SAA was to grow the membership and this is where William J. Wintemberg comes into play. Wintemberg recommended many Canadians to become affiliated with the SAA.  Some of these people joined the SAA and others did not. It’s the names of these individuals that provide a glimpse into who was interested in archaeology in Canada in the 1930s, not just in Ontario, but Canada wide. The first Canadian member of the SAA (not a Fellow, just a member) was Rutherford Smith, an amateur collector and an Undertaker from Mount Hope, near Hamilton, Ontario. 
In this talk I’ll look at the earliest Canadian men and women members of the SAA, as well as some of those who chose not join. This is an interesting period, a gap between the antiquarians and the first professionally trained archaeologists, it was a time not devoid of archaeologists but they were few and far between.
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