Al Mackie



What is a scientist after all? It is a curious man looking through a keyhole, the keyhole of nature, trying to know what’s going on.”  Jacques Cousteau

Al is a coastal archaeologist whose research and consulting has spanned 40 years, with a concentration in Haida Gwaii and the west coast of Vancouver Island and broad experience in other parts of the Northwest Coast. Al first conducted archaeological research in Haida Gwaii in 1983 and has recorded at least 450 sites in Gwaii Haanas since that time. He has been involved in excavations at 10 of those sites, some of which are nearly 11,000 years old. He has carried out extensive inventory and excavation work in Gwaii Haanas as a consultant and volunteer with Parks Canada since 1992, and most recently, in 2015, conducted intertidal archaeological site inventories on the east and west coasts. 

In addition to his work in Gwaii Haanas, Al spent three years working with Washington State University in Makah First Nation traditional territory, four years working for the Museum of London in England, and 20 years working as a regulator for the British Columbia Archaeology Branch in Victoria. While at the Archaeology Branch, Al was the Provincial Liaison for the Kwädāy Dän Ts’ìnchi Project, coordinating with the Champagne and Aishihik First Nations. Here, his research focused on a man and his belongings that were found frozen in a glacier in 1999, and which led to a book that he is currently finishing. Al is presently working in the Discovery Islands on a research project based out of the University of Victoria and funded by the Hakai Institute.

Al is always excited to return to Gwaii Haanas – one of his favourite places in the world – aboard Passing Cloud and sharing some his adventures and research findings with Outer Shores guests.

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