Bruce Graham Trigger

Bruce Graham Trigger, anthropologist, archaeologist (born 18 June 1937 in Preston, ON; died 1 December 2006 in Montréal, QC). Bruce Trigger worked for most of his career as a professor in the Department of Anthropology at McGill University in Montréal, and made significant contributions to the fields of Egyptology, the archaeology and ethnohistory of eastern Canada, and archaeological theory.

Fascinated from an early age by the mystery of the Ancient World, Trigger studied anthropology at the University of Toronto and later obtained a Ph.D. from Yale University. He conducted research in the Sudan and Egypt before joining McGill in 1964. Most of his fieldwork in Egyptology took place in Nubia. His most important publications in this area include History and Settlement in Lower Nubia (1965), The Late Nubian Settlement at Arminna West (1967), The Meroitic Funerary Inscriptions from Arminna West (1970), Nubia under the Pharaohs (1976) and Early Civilizations: Ancient Egypt in Context (1993).

Bruce Trigger's pioneering works on the archaeology and ethnohistory of northeastern indigenous peoples made him a leading figure in Canadian prehistory. In addition to numerous journal articles, he wrote several books on the Huron. He is best remembered for his outstanding two-volume history The Children of Aataentsic (1976). In 1990, Trigger was adopted as an honorary member of the Huron-Wendat nation in recognition of his contributions to its cultural history.

Trigger published several books and articles on archaeological method and theory, which had an international impact on archaeological thought and practice. Among his most outstanding contributions in this field is A History of Archaeological Thought (1989, revised edition published in 2006). This work traces the history and context of archaeological research and practice around the world, and examines underlying ideas and values. Understanding Early Civilizations (2003), which is a comparative study of ancient civilizations focusing on the forces that shape social change, is another impressive piece of theoretical work.

A Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, Trigger was awarded the Innis-Gérin Medal in 1985 and he also won the Québec government's Prix Léon-Gérin in 1991. He was made an officer of the National Order of Québec and an officer of the Order of Canada in 2001 and 2005, respectively. His achievements were also celebrated by the publication of The Archaeology of Bruce Trigger (2006), a volume of tributes that outline his influence in archaeology.