Cynthia Zutter

Professor, Anthropology
Honours Advisor, Anthropology

PhD (Alberta), MA (Alberta), BA (California, Santa Barbara)

7-368A, City Centre Campus
10700 – 104 Avenue
Edmonton, AB


Dr. Cynthia Zutter was appointed Vice-Provost at MacEwan University on January 1, 2016. She holds the rank of professor in the Faculty of Arts and Science. She was a collegiate student-athlete (swimming) and graduated from the University of California, Santa Barbara, in both anthropology and geography before earning her Master’s and Doctorate in anthropology from the University of Alberta.

Dr. Zutter has worked as an archaeologist throughout the North Atlantic region, examining past interactions and the interplay of humans in their environment. Her initial work in Iceland focused on how the original Norse settlers altered this fragile northern landscape. More recently, she has held multiple SSHRC research grants for her work on 17th and 18th century Inuit sites in Labrador. A key component of her work is the analysis of how Inuit used the limited available plants in the arctic region to supplement their diet and economy.

Available to supervise honours or individual study students.

Archaeology, Archaeobotany, Anthropology, Environmental Research, Arctic, Norse, Inuit

Teaching and Research Interests

  • Anth 101 Introduction to Anthropology
  • Anth 110 Gender Age and Culture
  • Anth 150 Race and Racism
  • Anth 206 Introduction to Archaeology; lecture and lab
  • Anth 207 Introduction to Socio Cultural Anthropology
  • Anth 219 World Prehistory
  • Anth 246 Canadian and Circumpolar Peoples
  • Anth 320 Archaeology of Gender
  • Anth 410 Humans, Climate and Culture
  • Anth 411 Environmental Archaeology
  • Anth 481 History of Archaeological Theory

Current research involves looking at the history of plant use by Labrador Inuit over the last four centuries. It includes looking at plants and cooking residues from various pots and archaeological sediments to help understand what types of plants were being consumed and when the Inuit started to include European foods that were introduced by Moravian Missionaries into their diet.

Selected Publications / Presentations / Conference Papers

Pigford, A. and C. Zutter (2014) “Reconstructing Historic Inuit Plant Use: An exploratory phytolith analysis of soapstone vessel residues” Arctic Anthropology 51(2), 81-96.

Zutter, C. (2012) “The shrubs in the forest: The use of woody species by 18th century Labrador Inuit” Inuit/Etudes Studies vol. 36(1):139-155.

Zutter, C. (2009) “Palaeoethnobotanical Contributions to 18th C. Inuit Economy; an example from Uivak, Labrador” Journal of the North Atlantic Special Volume 1, 23-32.

Ross, J and C. Zutter (2007) “Comparing Norse Animal Husbandry Practices; Palaeo ethnobotanical Analyses from Iceland and Greenland.” Arctic Anthropology 44, 62-85.

Zutter, C. (2000) “Wood and Plant-use in 17th-19th century Iceland: Archaeobotanical Analysis of Reykholt, Western Iceland.” Environmental Archaeology 5, 73-82.

Awards / Grants / Fellowships

  • Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC), Canadian Environmental Research Development Initiatives (2008-2012)
  • MacEwan University Research Grant (2008)
  • Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC)
  • Northern Development Research Grant (2005-2007)
  • Canadian Circumpolar Institute BAR Grant (2005)

Professional Associations / Memberships

  • Canadian Archaeological Association
  • Society for American Archaeology
  • Association of Environmental Archaeology

Boards / Committees

  • Committee on the Status of Women (COSWA), Society for American Archaeology