Lynda Gullason

Adjunct Research Professor

Degrees:Ph.D. (McGill)


Archaeologist Lynda Gullason’s research broadly concerns indigenous cultures; identity and intercultural interaction; and technology in Arctic Canada, Alaska and Greenland. She draws on the intersecting fields of archaeology, history, ethnohistory and geochemistry to study the Thule and Historic Inuit occupation of the Arctic over the past thousand years, and the kinds of interactions these people had with the various European cultures they encountered.

She has conducted field work in southeast Baffin Island in the eastern Arctic on the impact of the Elizabethan voyages of explorer Martin Frobisher and subsequent commercial whaling and fur trade contact on Thule Inuit culture, particularly the role that gender played in cross-cultural contact, in terms of access to and use of European goods and materials. She received her PhD from McGill University for this work.

Her postdoctoral project was a systematic, large-scale, circumpolar examination of the role of one material, metal, in Thule Inuit cultural development. Using archaeological and ethnographic museum collections from Arctic Canada, Greenland and Alaska, she studied the evidence for copper and iron use in bladed tools prior to and during European contact.

She extended her interdisciplinary approach into the fields of geoarchaeology and archaeometallurgy to use geo-chemical compositional analysis to identify the sources of the metals (Inuit or European) and trace their use and circulation among Thule Inuit populations. As part of the Geological Survey of Canada’s Geo-Mapping for Energy and Minerals (GEM) initiative, she analyzed artifacts and mineralogical samples of copper and iron to distinguish between these metals and their various alloys rapidly and non-destructively by measuring their elemental composition using portable x-ray fluorescence spectrometry (pXRF).

Her current research addresses the impact that climate change is having on Nunavut’s archaeological heritage. Its focus is the rescue archaeology of a Thule site in the High Arctic with significant research potential which is being heavily damaged by coastal erosion. The project is endorsed by all four nearby communities. It will help train Inuit youth in techniques for understanding and preserving their cultural heritage in the face of climate change.

Research Interests
Prehistory and History of Arctic and Subarctic Canada, Alaska and Greenland
Archaeology of Gender
Archaeology of Interaction
Archaeological Evidence of Thule Metal Use
Geo-chemical Compositional Analysis of Metal Using Portable X-Ray Fluorescence (pXRF) Spectrometry
Climate Change Impacts on Arctic Archaeological Heritage