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Robert McGhee
Illustrations by Gilles Archambault and photographs by Harry Foster

Hull (Que.), Canadian Museum of Civilization/Musee Canadien des Civilisations, 1989. 175pp, cloth, $29.95
ISBN 0-660-10795-3. CIP

Grade 8 and up/Ages 13 and up
Reviewed by Joan Skogan.

Volume 18 Number 2
1990 March

Ancient Canada: An Illustrated Prehis­tory is an impressive and much needed presentation of discoveries made about Canada's earliest people.

Robert McGhee begins with the journey of the hunters who wandered on to a new continent over the ice bridge from Siberia and then describes the twentieth-century research at Bluefish Caves, west of Old Crow in the Yukon. Careful and clear accounts of the work of archaeologists, paleontolo­gists and other scientists are combined with site descriptions and reminders of the climate changes.

As the people in the fourteen chapters of Ancient Canada move closer to us in time, their homes and hunting grounds range across the country from caribou hunters' camps on the shores of what were once glacial lakes in the fields of southern Ontario to the buffalo jumps near Fort McLeod, in use since before the birth of Christ; from the arctic whaling cultures to the Tsimshian hill forts of British Columbia.

Ancient Canada is clearly written and beautifully laid out. The text is well spaced on the page and interspersed with photographs, both archival and new, the occasional line drawing, and double-page artists' reconstructions of life in prehistoric times by illustrator Gilles Archambault.

Robert McGhee writes thoughtfully about archaeology's limitations, and he avoids an ethnocentric point of view. Teachers introducing prehistory may wish to consider McGhee's comments on the public's continuing fascination with unfounded theories of New World settlement by Celts, Atlanteans or the lost tribes of Israel, rather than by the courageous and adaptable people Canadian archeology reveals.

Highly recommended.

Joan Skogan, Vancouver, B.C.
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