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Department of Anthropology

Fitzhugh in diving gear
Bill Fitzhugh in SI Office

William W. Fitzhugh

Curator of Archaeology and Director, Arctic Studies Center

Division: Arctic Studies Center

Area of Specialization:
archaeology, northern cultures, and environments

Fax:  202-357-2684
E-mail Address:

Department of Anthropology Mailing Address


M.A. and Ph.D. from Harvard University
B.A., Dartmouth College

Professional Activities:

He conducts fieldwork and research on circumpolar archaeology, northern cultures, and environments with special attention to human-environmental interactions; initiates and produces exhibitions and public programs; prepares scholarly and popular publications, websites, films, and other products; serves as advisor for graduate and PhD students and instructs undergraduates, interns, and volunteers in field and laboratory work. In addition to curatorial duties, the Arctic Studies Center (ASC) conducts a wide range of research, education, outreach, and publication programs dealing with northern cultures and environments, past and present. Visit the ASC website at:

Research Interests/Profile:

His research interests include history and archaeology of circumpolar peoples, cultures, and environments; comparative studies of northern and subantarctic regions; Eskimo-Indian contacts and developments along the forest-tundra boundary in northern Eurasia and North America; circumpolar culture contacts and connections; theory and history of culture contact and change in northern regions; European-Native contacts; origins and development of Eskimo and northern art; Bronze Age archaeology of Mongolia and eastern Asia; archaeology and history of the Vikings/Norse, Ainu, and other groups.

Selected Publications:

Arctic Studies Center Publications Series:

Contributions to Circumpolar Anthropology
Arctic Studies Center Newsletter
Arctic Studies Center website:


Environmental Archaeology and Cultural Systems in Hamilton Inlet, Labrador, Smithsonian Contributions to Anthropology, 16. Washington: Government Printing Office. (245 pp., plus maps, illus., tables, plates). 1972

Inua: Spirit World of the Bering Sea Eskimo. Washington: Smithsonian Institution Press, 296 pp. (with Susan A. Kaplan). 1982 (exhibition catalogue)

Cultures in Contact: the European Impact on Native Cultural Institutions in Eastern North America, A.D. 1000-1800. Edited by William W. Fitzhugh. Anthropological Society of Washington Series. Washington: Smithsonian Institution Press. 1985

Crossroads of Continents: Culture of Siberia and Alaska. Edited by William W. Fitzhugh and Aron Crowell.  Washington: Smithsonian Institution Press. 360 pp. 1988 (exhibition catalogue)

Archeology of the Frobisher Voyages. Edited by William W. Fitzhugh and Jacqueline Olin. 288 pp. Washington: Smithsonian Institution Press. 1993

Anthropology of the North Pacific Rim. Edited by William W. Fitzhugh and Valérie Chaussonnet. 368 pp. Washington: Smithsonian Institution Press. 1994

Crossroads Alaska: Native Cultures of Alaska and Siberia, edited by V. Chaussonnet. Smithsonian Institution. Project director, William W. Fitzhugh. National Museum of Natural History. Washington: Arctic Studies Center. 1995 (exhibition catalogue)

Ainu: Spirit of a Northern People. Edited by William W. Fitzhugh and Chisato Dubrueil. 415 pages. Washington DC and Seattle: Arctic Studies Center (National Museum of Natural History) and University of Washington Press. 1999 (exhibition catalogue)

Vikings: the North Atlantic Saga, edited by William W. Fitzhugh and Elisabeth I. Ward. 424 pages. National Museum of Natural History and Smithsonian Institution Press. 2000 (exhibition catalogue) (Society for American Archaeology Annual Book Award winner for 2001)

Honoring Our Elders: History of Eastern Arctic Archaeology. A Festschrift to Elmer Harp, Jr.  Edited by William W. Fitzhugh, Stephen Loring, and Daniel Odess. Contributions to Circumpolar Anthropology, 1. Washington D.C.: Arctic Studies Center, Smithsonian Institution. 2001.

The Deer Stone Project: Anthropological Studies in Mongolia 2002-2004. Edited by William W. Fitzhugh, J. Bayarsaikhan, and Peter K. Marsh. 256 pp. Arctic Studies Center and the National Museum of Mongolian History. Washington and Ulaanbaatar. (2005)

Taymyr: The Archaeology of Northernmost Eurasia, by Leonid P. Khlobystin. Translated by Leonid Vishniatski and Boris Grudinko. Edited by William Fitzhugh and Vladimir Pitulko. Contributions to Circumpolar Anthropology, 5. National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution.


Origins of Museum Anthropology at the Smithsonian Institution and Beyond. In: Anthropology, History, and American Indians: Essays in Honor of William Curtis Sturtevant, edited by William L. Merrill and Ives Goddard. Smithsonian Contributions to Anthropology 44:179-200. Washington: Government Printing Office. (2002)

Yamal to Greenland: Global Connections in Circumpolar Archaeology. In: Archaeology: the Widening Debate, edited by Barry Cunliffe, Wendy Davies, and Colin Renfrew, pp. 91-144. Oxford: Oxford University Press. (2002)

Cultures, Borders, and Basques: Archaeological Surveys on Quebec’s Lower North Shore. In: From the Arctic to Avalon: Papers in Honour of James A. Tuck Jr. Edited by Lisa Rankin and Peter Ramsden. British Archaeological Reports International Series 1507:53-70. (2006)

Settlement, Social and Ceremonial Change in the Labrador Maritime Archaic. The Archaic of the Far Northeast. Edited by David Sanger and M.A.P. Renouf. Pp. 47-82. Orono: University of Maine Press. (2006)

North America: Arctic and Circumpolar Regions.  Encyclopedia of Archaeology. Edited by Deborah M. Pearsall. Pp. 246-271. New York: Academic Press. (2008)


Ice Ages Mammals and the Emergence of Man (NMNH 1974); Inua: Spirit World of the Bering Sea Eskimo (1982-4); Inua: Spirit World of the Bering Sea Eskimo (Alaska, 1983-6); Crossroads of Continents: Cultures of Siberia and Alaska (1988-92); Crossroads Alaska/Siberia (1993-96); Crossroads Siberia: Native Cultures of Alaska and Siberia (1996-97); Native Peoples of the Circumpolar Region (Bonn, 1997-98);  Ainu: Spirit of a Northern People (1999); Vikings: the North Atlantic Saga (2000); Arctic: A Friend Acting Strangely (2006).


Secrets of the Lost Red Paint People -- 1987 European TV, Spofford Films
Mysteries of the Lost Red Paint Culture -- 1988 NOVA broadcasts
Viking America -- 1994 European TV and 1995 NOVA broadcasts, with Spofford Films
Baffin Field Notes -- with A. Henshaw, Ted Timreck, Spofford Films.   
Leif Eriksson: the Man Who (Almost) Changed History  Ward-Chronkite Television
The Vikings—History Channel Production 2002


Case Book Award for Inua: Spirit World of the Bering Sea Eskimo exhibition, 1984 Stiegler Award: University of Arkansas
Cine Golden Eagle Award for Secrets of the Lost Red Paint People, 1988.
Society for American Archaeology Book Award 2001 for Vikings: the North Atlantic Saga
Viking America (NOVA film) honorable mention, Keil Archaeological Film Festival
Smithsonian Distinguished Lecturer Award 2003


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