Brown Bag Lecture with Bruce Bourque, The Swordfish Hunters: The History and Ecology of an Ancient American Sea People
Location: Rines Auditorium
The Swordfish Hunters or Red Paint People as they are called because of the red ochre in their burial sites, were a remarkable culture living on the coast of Maine between 4500 and 3800 years ago. They appeared, briefly flourished, and then vanished without explanation, leaving plentiful evidence of their maritime prowess, from exquisitely carved bone daggers to harpoons and fishing gear whose basic design has not been improved upon in five millennia.
About the Author
Bruce Bourque teaches anthropology at Bates College in Lewiston, Maine, and is curator of archaeology at the Maine State Museum. He grew up in Massachusetts but spent boyhood summers in Maine, where he heard stories of the Red Paint People. Educated at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, the University of Colorado, Boulder, and Harvard University, he matriculated in engineering school, but found his attention drawn to thoughts of the past. Eventually, he found his way to archaeology and hasn’t looked back. He lives in Freeport, Maine.