Current News

What’s new.

Here you’ll find recent and current news and events.


January 2021

In collaboration with Musqueam and the world-class UBC Pacific Centre of Geochemical and Isotopic Research (PCIGR), we are working to collaboratively produce robust and useful archaeological data based on Indigenous-led research initiatives using sophisticated and specialized geochemical techniques.

After almost a year of COVID-related postponements, we have move our talk to an online format with Green College (UBC), which will include a co-delivered description of our partnership with Musqueam and the details about how and why we can draw long transport vectors across the Pacific Northwest based on tiny, morphologically-insignificant volcanic glass samples.

Paint Analysis at the Museum of Anthropology (UBC)

August 2020

Dr Rhy McMillan (GeoArchaeo) and researchers and conservators at the UBC Museum of Anthropology (MOA) have been working to non-destructively characterize potential heavy metal contaminants in paints and other materials stored in the museum’s collections.

Here, Dr McMillan and MOA intern Hope Lafarge analyse a wooden mask (while wearing COVID masks) in the MOA Conservation Laboratory using GeoArchaeo’s Olympus Vanta X-ray Fluorescence analyser.

GeoArchaeo, Dr McMillan, and MOA are collaboratively working on a number of similar projects associated with conservation challenges and material analysis for safety precautions.

Rhy McMillan Receives AGU Outstanding Student Presentation Award

January 2020

PhD Candidate (now Dr) Rhy McMillan received the AGU Outstanding Student Presentation Award (OSPA) for his poster, “Identifying long-distance transport of obsidian across the North American landscape in antiquity based on Indigenous-led research initiatives,” presented at AGU’s Fall meeting in December 2019.

Rhy worked in partnership with xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), an Indigenous community in modern-day Vancouver, BC, to investigate the geographic origins of small (<1 cm) fragments of obsidian excavated from c̓əsnaʔəm (Marpole), a key xʷməθkʷəy̓əm village site. Using a unique combination of non-destructive and minimally invasive analytical techniques, the obsidian was shown to likely originate from at least two volcanic sources as far as 1,000 km away. This evidence for long-distance trade and exchange supports the oral history and continuity of complex xʷməθkʷəy̓əm social and material networks, which still exist today.

The prestigious OSPA promotes and recognizes students for high-quality research in the Earth and space sciences, and is only granted to the top 5% of student participants. Rhy’s abstract is available here.