Home page for the Institute of Prairie Archaeology

Institute of Prairie Archaeology

Grasslands National Park
The Institute of Prairie Archaeology conducts and promotes archaeological, anthropological and interdisciplinary research in the northern Plains region of western Canada and the northern United States. Its work is intended to enhance public, First Nations and rural engagement with the University of Alberta in these research areas, and particularly, to provide leadership in the training of archaeologists through field schools and other professional work. Through its activities, the Institute plans to cultivate a strong intellectual presence for the University of Alberta in the Plains region of North America.

The Institute of Prairie Archaeology was created in May of 2008, when it was approved by the Provost and Vice President Academic through the General Faculties Council Academic Planning Committee of the University. Its Executive Director, Professor John W. (Jack) Ives reports jointly to the Chair, Department of Anthropology and the Associate Dean for Research, Faculty of Arts, University of Alberta. The Institute is housed in dedicated facilities at 8915 HUB on the University of Alberta North Campus.

For current information about the Institute of Prairie archaeology, its affiliated researchers and graduate students, research programs, graduate student opportunities, field schools, and news items, please visit Institute of Prairie Archaeology. or Dr. Ives’ home page

John W. (Jack) Ives, Executive Director

Dr. Jack Ives

Dr. Ives’ interests lie in Plains, Subarctic, Great Basin and Northeast Asian prehistory (Palaeolithic, Jin Dynasty), archaeological theory (kinship and economic organization), Paleoindian studies, and Public Archaeology. In a large interdisciplinary project, he is currently investigating the Promontory Caves of Utah for traces of Dene ancestors who had left Subarctic Canada and were on their way to becoming the Navajo and Apaches of the American Southwest. Ives maintains the Western Canadian Fluted Point Database, is working with MA and PhD students on Besant and Sonota archaeological sites in Canada and the United States, and is conducting research at the University of Alberta’s Mattheis Ranch north of Brooks, Alberta.

From 1979-2007, Ives served with the Archaeological Survey of Alberta, the Royal Alberta Museum, and the Historic Resources Management Branch, with senior management responsibilities as Alberta’s Provincial Archaeologist for 21 years, and extensive cross-ministry experience in Aboriginal policy initiatives (including leading the drafting team for Canada’s only repatriation legislation, the First Nations Sacred Ceremonial Objects Repatriation Act of Alberta). He has undertaken executive and curatorial roles in developing the World Heritage Site of Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump, the Royal Alberta Museum’s Gallery of Aboriginal Culture and international exhibitions (Rise of the Black Dragon). Ives is the recipient of the University of Michigan’s Distinguished Dissertation Award, three Alberta Premier’s Awards, and the University of Alberta’s Landrex Distinguished Professorship (2012-2017). He was honoured to receive the name Awoutaan from distinguished Blackfoot ceremonialists Allan Pard and Blair First Rider.