Bryan Gordon

Adjunct Research Professor (Carleton) and Curator Emeritus (Can. Museum of Civilization)

Degrees:PhD Calgary
Phone:(819) 776-8195
Office:Archaeological Survey of Canada
Canadian Museum of Civilization

External Research Funding

1990’s National Geographic Society, Washington, D.C., grant on Rise of Chinese Civilization based on Paddy Rice Agriculture.


Life-time summary

  • Books authored: 6
  • Chapters in books: 4
  • Papers in refereed journals several dozen
  • Major invited contributions and/or technical reports: 6
  • Abstracts and/or papers read several dozen


1996 People of Sunlight; People of Starlight: Barrenland Archaeology in the Northwest Territories of Canada. Mercury Series No. 154, Canadian Museum of Civilization.
(Using 10,000+ artifacts from 1002 archaeological sites in the Beverly range of the Northwest Territories, this book compares the material of each herd-following culture from the post-glacial to the present. Each chapter describes the effects of mobility on the development of tool and trade. Site locations, carbon dates and tools are compared according to their location on the tundra or in the forest. The final chapter compares each culture for finding general rules governing herd followers. Anthropological factors such as birth spacing, amenorrhea and seasonal nutritional deficits in women, women’s and men’s tools and activities for tracing movement and band composition and estimates of regional and local band size are discussed).

Papers and Chapters:

1995 Nadlok and the Origin of the Copper Inuit. IN Threads of Arctic Prehistory: Papers in honour of William E. Taylor, Jr. (ed. by David Morrison & Jean-Luc Pilon). Mercury Series No. 149, Canadian Museum of Civilization. Pp. 325-340.

1999 Archéologie des Dènès dans l’aire de distribution du caribou de Beverly dans le Nord canadien. IN Du futur au passé: Les Athapascans septentrionaux. Recherches amérindiennes au Québec 28(3)93-108. Hiver 1998-99 (condensation of Dene portion of People of Sunlight; People of Starlight in French).

Submitted for publication:

2001 The Enigma of the Far Northeast European Mesolithic: Semi-sedentery Hunters or Herd-Followers?
(in English to be published in Sweden and different from that below, but same subject matter)

2002 The Enigma of the Far Northeast European Mesolithic: Semi-sedentery Hunters or Herd-Followers?
(in Russian to be published in Syktyvkar, Russia).

2005 Deciphering Seasonal Palimpsests in Canadian Barrenland and Northeast European Mesolithic Sites. Meso2005 Conference, Queen’s University, Belfast, Northern Ireland. Aug.28-Sept.4. Oxbow Books, Great Britain.

Recent Fieldwork

February-March 1997 – one month laboratory work in northern Russia.

Autumn 1997 – three weeks in China on early rice/civilization project. Created project in Dongting Lake area, including Lixian city and Bashidang and Chengtoushan sites.

December 1998 – three weeks in China on early rice/civilization project. Sampling of 7 levels in Bashidang site and 8 levels in new Shiligang site for remains of rice phytoliths, insects, pollen and carbon for AMS dates. Analysis is ongoing.

Recent Research

ca. 200 technical papers on the rise of Chinese civilization, with 20 in process and carried out by 23 volunteers. The aim of our Carleton University website is to partly correct the imbalance of our knowledge of the rise of Western vs. Eastern Civilization.