Some Kind of Archaeologist

Hi everyone! My name is Martin Lominy and I live in Montreal, Quebec (Canada). I’m an archaeologist, educator and craftsman. So here’s a slice of my day for DOA 2013.

First grade student learning to prepare milkweed fibres.

First grade student learning to prepare milkweed fibres.

I work full-time in a craft museum as supervisor of educational services and part-time as an educator and craftsman in archaeology providing independent services through my business Aboriginal Technologies. On the one hand, my tasks at the museum are to plan, implement and manage the education department’s activities and projects, recruit, train and supervise the education staff and develop educational programmes, workshops and products for a variety of audiences. On the other hand, my work for Aboriginal Technologies consists in offering artefact reproductions, craft demonstrations and school workshops on the subject of archaeology.

Reproductions of artefact fragments for archaeological dig simulation.

Reproductions of artefact fragments for archaeological dig simulation.

My job at the museum is pretty much 9 am to 5 pm but that’s only the first part of my day. As soon as I get home, another job begins. After spending most of the day running around the museum trying to get too many things done, I gladly trade my computer and phone for an axe and crooked knife in the tranquility of my home workshop. Most of my workshop time is spent making artefact reproductions for museums, interpretation centres, universities, colleges and collectors. Thus my objective is to provide the public with a more pragmatic vision of the past and a better understanding of aboriginal cultures of North America through the experimentation of ancient technologies.

Splitting a hickory log to make prehistoric bows.

Splitting a hickory log to make prehistoric bows.

Since my reproductions are made with raw materials such as wood, bark, bone, antler, leather and stone, this evening will be spent preparing some of these materials for future projects which usually involves hacking, scraping, skinning, boiling and knapping. For instance, I harvested a large hickory log earlier this week after getting a call from a museum who had several trees on their land broken by a storm. I had already made a bow for them earlier this year so I picked up my tools along with a friend and headed out to collect one of their trees to make more bows. It seems most of my projects begin in the woods. Several hours and aches later, I had a tree in the car headed to my workshop. This wood will take several months to dry so it will be going in storage for future projects.

When I need to learn something of scientific value I use proper period tools and techniques. The rest of the time I use what works best to meet client deadlines. I work beyond academic boundaries so I don’t consider myself an experimental archaeologist but rather an archaeologist experimenting to know first hand what he’s talking about when it comes to education.

Drying salmon skins for fish glue experiments.

Drying salmon skins for fish glue experiments.

This weekend is dedicated to completing a cattail mat for an aboriginal museum and a crooked knife for a survival instructor. So many projects and so little time. It doesn’t sound like much rest compared to my job at the museum but it’s a good kind of tired. I’m always looking forward to learning something new. That’s what I mean by archaeologist, educator and craftsman!

To learn more about my work or contact me visit Aboriginal Technologies