ArchaeoCafé Podcast – Episode 13 – Tales from the trenches: An interview with W. Michael Gear (Part 1)

hosted by Otis Crandell

In this episode, I talk with author and archaeologist W. Michael Gear about popularising the long history of North America, the challenges of writing historical fiction, and bringing archaeological research to the public.

Listen to this episode online:



Some useful terminology and links

First North Americans series
The series explores various civilizations and cultures in prehistoric North America.

Oral tradition
a form of communication wherein knowledge, art, ideas and cultural material is received, preserved and transmitted orally from one generation to another.

a religious practice that involves a practitioner, a shaman, who is believed to interact with a spirit world through altered states of consciousness, such as trance.

Haudenosaunee (Iroquois)
a confederacy of nations in the Great Lakes region of North America.

Chaco Canyon
Between AD 900 and 1150, Chaco Canyon was a major centre of culture for the Ancestral Puebloans.

Ancestral Puebloans
An ancient Native American culture that spanned the present-day Four Corners region of the United States. They lived in a range of structures that included small family pit houses, larger structures to house clans, grand pueblos, and cliff-sited dwellings for defence. They possessed a complex network that stretched across the Colorado Plateau linking hundreds of communities and population centres. They held a distinct knowledge of celestial sciences that found form in their architecture.

a pre-Columbian Native American city (which existed circa 1050–1350 CE) directly across the Mississippi River from modern St. Louis, Missouri. Cahokia was the largest and most influential urban settlement of the Mississippian culture, which developed advanced societies across much of what is now the central and southeastern United States, beginning more than 1000 years before European contact.

Elizabeth Marshall Thomas
An author whose works include historical fiction novels such as Reindeer Moon and The Animal Wife.

Reindeer Moon
A fictional account of the life of a Siberian tribe 20,000 years ago.

The Animal Wife
The sequel to Reindeer Moon, set in the same place and with the same group of people.

Björn Kurtén
A palaeontologist and author of historical fiction, such as Dance of the Tiger: A Novel of the Ice Age.

Dance of the Tiger: A Novel of the Ice Age
Set in Western Europe 35,000 years ago.

Sue Harrisonaleut
An author of historical fiction, including the Ivory Carver Trilogy.

Ivory Carver Trilogy

William Sarabande
The pen name of Joan Lesley Hamilton Cline, an author of historical fiction. Her works include the First Americans series which takes place during the last ice age as people cross the Bering strait from Siberia to the Americas.

Jean M. Auel
An author of historical fiction, best known for her novel Clan of the Cave Bear, the first of the book in the Earth’s Children series.

Earth’s Children series
A series of books that take place about 30,000 years ago in Europe.


About W. Michael Gear

W. Michael Gear is an archaeologist and award winning author of fiction. Along with Kathleen O’Neal Gear, co-writes the First North American’s series of historical fiction which spans the vast period of time from when the first people migrated to the Americas at the end of the last Ice Age up until the arrival of the Europeans in the 15th century. In addition to being an authors, Michael is also also an archaeologist and anthropologist.





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