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Noel D. Broadbent

Noel BroadbentNoel D. Broadbent is a native Californian, born in Oakland on Feb. 22, 1946.

Full of enthusiasm for art, history and geology, Noel first became involved in archaeology (where he could do all of the above) while studying at San Diego State University. He became the site supervisor at the SDSU excavations at the San Diego Presidio, the site of California's first Spanish colonial settlement and church. He also led a dig at the Jose Machado House in Old Town. Through the San Diego Museum of Man and SDSU he excavated La Jollan kitchen midden sites on the California coast and Paleoindian sites in the Mohave Desert. On graduation in 1968 he headed for Spain to study colonial history but political turmoil there brought him to Sweden instead, a recommendation by the Cal State International Program director (now congressman) Thomas Lantos. The year was spent studying art history, rock art, aerial photo analysis and language. He was soon accepted into the archaeology program at Uppsala University, completed his first Swedish degree in 1973 and his doctorate in 1979. His dissertation was on coastal archaeology in northern Sweden and this became a landmark study of the region. He achieved the rank of Docent (associate professor) in 1983 at Uppsala University. Although generally participating in projects in Scandinavia, he traveled and lectured in China as a guest of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in 1986 and did a stint as a guest lecturer and researcher at the University of Zimbabwe in 1988.  

He served as Senior Lecturer in Uppsala and Umeå and in 1983 became the founding Director of the Center for Arctic Cultural Research at Umeå University, a position he held until 1989. During this tenure he edited several books: Arctic Cultural and Political Ecology, Readings in Saami History, Language and Culture and Proceedings of the 8th International Union of Circumpolar Health.  Altogether, he has published over 100 research papers and 5 books. 

In 1990 he was hired by the National Science Foundation to establish and run the Arctic Social Sciences Program, a position he held until 1997. During his tenure at NSF he was awarded two NSF Director's Awards for Outstanding Program Management, the Antarctica Service Medal, and help found the International Arctic Social Sciences Association (IASSA). He has also carried out two historic archaeology projects in Antarctica.

In 1996 he was awarded the Chair in Archaeology at Umeå University, a position he held until late 2003. While in Sweden he served on the Humanities and Social Science Research Council and the Bank of Sweden Tercentenary Foundation. In 2002 he was awarded the Hildebrand Prize by the Swedish Prehistoric Society (Svenska Fornminnesföreningen) for his contributions to Swedish and international archaeological research. 

In 2004 he joined the Arctic Studies Center with funding from an NSF grant for the project "The Search for a Past. The Prehistory of the Indigenous Saami in Northern Coastal Sweden." This project will continue until 2007.

send email broadben@si.edu