D. Jacobs, D. White, N. Ferris and M.W. Spence-2020-Learning from Ancestors caring for Ancestors: The antiquity of reburial on Bkejwanong. In: C.H. Meloche, L. Spake, and K. Nichols (eds.), Working with and for Ancestors; Collaboration in the care and study of ancestral remains, p.178-189. Routledge, New York.
Michael W. Spence was born in Toronto in 1941. He joined the faculty of the Department of Anthropology, University of Western Ontario in 1971 and retired as Professor Emeritus in 2006. His research areas are Ontario and Mexico, and his fields are archaeology, bioarchaeology and forensic anthropology. In Ontario he has done research on First Nation societies from 4500 to 350 years ago, and on 19th century settler health and trauma. In Mexico his work has focused on the great ancient city of Teotihuacan (2000-1400 years ago), where he has conducted archaeological investigations since 1964. In 1985 police forces in southwestern Ontario started to call on Spence to assist in forensic investigations, work which he continued for 34 years. In 2019 his aching muscles finally convinced him to stop fieldwork.
Spence has been the Lawson Chair of Canadian Archaeology (2003-2007) and has received the Canadian Archaeological Associations’s Smith-Winterberg Award for outstanding contributions to Canadian Archaeology. He also received the Ontario Provincial Police’s Lynda Shaw Award for vigilance and dedication in cold case homicide investigations.
He continues to write articles and books about his research.
M.W. Spence-1988- Installation art and political rhetoric in ancient Mesoamerica. Embassy Cultural House Tabloid p.8.
M.W. Spence-2000-The gift of a skull. In: J. Hassan (ed.), Trespassers and Captives p.11-17. London Regional Art and Historical Museums.
M.W. Spence-2013-Death and burial in Woodland times. In: M. Munson and S. Jamieson (eds.), Before Ontario: The Archaeology of a Province, p.188-200. McGill-Queen’s University Press.
M.W. Spence-2015-Personal Art in Teotihuacan: The Thin Orange Graffiti. Ancient Mesoamerica 26:295-311.
M.W. Spence and J.R. Keron-2020-The Janulis burial: A case of gender fluidity in the Middle Archaic period? Midcontinental Journal of Archaeology 45:160-186.
The first two articles reflect his long relationship through his wife Jean with the Embassy Cultural House, its members and the London cultural community.
From Western University's Anthropology Department :
Michael Spence has made major contributions in two separate regions – the Woodland period of the Great Lakes and in MesoAmerica. He has published well over 125 works including monographs, chapters and articles; making regular appearances in top journals such as American Antiquity, Current Anthropology, World Archaeology and Canadian Journal of Archaeology. It’s been said for Dr. Spence, “[his] love of archaeology – whether in the field or lab – is utterly infectious. Many of the students he taught now enjoy careers in the field because he shared his curiosity and fascination with us”.
The Spence Lecture Series was established in 2010 in honour of Dr. Michael Spence's crucial contribution to the field of anthropology and to the undergraduate education during their years at Western.
Thank you to our supporters
Artists Jamelie Hassan and Ron Benner and jazz musician Eric Stach founded the Embassy Cultural House (1983-1990) located in the restaurant portion of the Embassy Hotel at 732 Dundas Street in East London. Other former members of the board were: Debrann Eastabrook, Henry Eastabrook, Sharron Forrest, Wyn Geleynse, Janice Gurney, Jean Hay (1929 - 2008), Doug Mitchell, Kim Moodie, Gerard Pas, Peter Rist, Wanda Sawicki, Jean Spence and Jennie White.
In 2020, at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Embassy Cultural House was re-envisioned as a virtual artist-run space and website.
London, Ontario is on the traditional lands of the Anishinaabeg, Haudenosaunee, Lenape, Attawandaron and Huron-Wendat peoples, at the forks of Deshkan Ziibi (Antler River), an area subject to the Dish with One Spoon Wampum and other treaties.
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