Max Friesen

Max Friesen

Max Friesen, Ph.D. (McGill University, 1995)
Professor, St. George Campus; Chair, Arctic Working Group

(416) 978-4505
Office: AP 400A (Main), AP 400 (Lab)

Research Keywords: Arctic, Archaeology, Zooarchaeology, Ethnohistory, Community Archaeology, Climate Change

Research Region: North American Arctic

Research Bio

Max Friesen is an arctic archaeologist.  His research explores how the linkages between social organization, world view, economy, technology, environment, and landscape have shaped northern peoples’ lives over the past 5,000 years.  He has performed fieldwork in the Cambridge Bay region of Victoria Island, the Barrenlands of southern Nunavut, the Mackenzie Delta region of the Northwest Territories, and Kotzebue Sound in Alaska.  His current project seeks to understand the unprecedented destruction of coastal archaeological sites in the Mackenzie Delta region, caused by modern climate change impacts such as higher sea levels, increased storminess, and thawing permafrost.  The project, developed in collaboration with the Inuvialuit Cultural Resource Centre, will determine which threatened sites are most important, and will then excavate them in order to salvage critical heritage resources.  The Anthropology Department at the U of T is an excellent place to perform graduate research, and Max is always interested in hearing from talented prospective graduate students.

Related Websites

Kitikmeot Heritage Society:
Dynamic Inuit Societies in Arctic History:
Polar Archaeology Network:


2016 Friesen, T. Max, and Lauren E. Y. Norman. The Pembroke Site: Thule Inuit Migrants on Southern Victoria Island. Arctic 69(1):1-18.

2015 Friesen, T. Max. The Arctic CHAR Project: Climate Change Impacts on the Inuvialuit Archaeological Record. Les Nouvelles de l’archéologie 141:31-37.

2013  Friesen, T. Max.  When Worlds Collide: Hunter-Gatherer World-Systems in the 19th Century Canadian Arctic.  Tucson: University of Arizona Press.

2013  Friesen, T. Max. The Impact of Weapon Technology on Caribou Drive System Variability in the Prehistoric Canadian Arctic. Quaternary International 297:13-23.

2013  Friesen, T. Max.  North America: Paleoeskimo and Inuit archaeology.  In The Encyclopaedia of Global Human Migration, edited by Immanuel Ness., pp. 1-8. Hoboken: Wiley-Blackwell.  DOI: 10.1002/9781444351071.wbeghm845

2013  Friesen, T. Max And Andrew Stewart. To Freeze or To Dry: Seasonal Variability in Caribou Processing and Storage in the Barrenlands of Northern Canada. Anthropozoologica 48(1):89-109.

2013  Betts, Matthew W., and T. Max Friesen. Archaeofaunal signatures of specialized bowhead whaling in the Western Canadian Arctic: a regional study. Anthropozoologica 48(1):53-73.

2012  Friesen, T. Max.  The Importance of Reading Ernest: Applying Burch’s Study of Interregional Interaction to Inuvialuit Ethnohistory. Arctic Anthropology 49(2):29-40.

2012  Friesen, T. Max.  Alaskan Analogues and Eastern Uncertainties: Reconstructing Thule Inuit Interaction Networks in the Eastern North American Arctic. Mémoires de la Société Finno-Ougrienne No. 265: 3-26.

2012  Friesen, T. Max.  Inuvialuit Archaeology.  In Herschel Island Qikiqtaryuk: A Cultural and Natural History, edited by Christopher R. Burn, pp.146-150.  Calgary: University of Calgary Press.

2010  Friesen, T. Max.  Dynamic Inuit Social Strategies in Changing Environments: A Long-Term Perspective. Geografisk Tidsskrift – Danish Journal of Geography 110(2):215-225.

2010  Norman, Lauren, and T. Max Friesen.  Thule Fishing Revisited: The Economic Importance of Fish at the Pembroke and Bell Sites, Victoria Island, Nunavut. Geografisk Tidsskrift – Danish Journal of Geography 110(2):261-278.

2009  Friesen, T. Max.  Event or Conjuncture?  Searching for the Material Record of Inuvialuit-Euroamerican Whaler Interaction on Herschel Island, northern Yukon.  Alaska Journal of Anthropology 7(2):45-61.

2009  Friesen, T. Max.  The Last Supper: Late Dorset Economic Change at Iqaluktuuq, Victoria Island. In The Northern World AD 900-1400, edited by Herbert Maschner, Owen Mason, and Robert McGhee, pp. 235-248.  Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press.

2009  Friesen, T. Max.  The Cache Point Site: An Early Thule Occupation in the Mackenzie Delta. In On the Track of the Thule Culture from Bering Strait to East Greenland, edited by Bjarne Grønnow, pp. 63-74. Copenhagen: National Museum of Denmark.

2008  Friesen, T. Max, and Charles D. Arnold.  The Timing of the Thule Migration: New Dates from the Western Canadian Arctic.  American Antiquity 73(3): 527-538.

2007  Friesen, T. Max.  Hearth Rows, Hierarchies, and Arctic Hunter-Gatherers: The Construction of Equality in the Late Dorset Period. World Archaeology 39(2): 194-214.

Graduate Students

Paulina Scheck

Taylor Thornton