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Brian Scott Robinson

Brian's Story

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Orono - Brian Scott Robinson passed away peacefully at his home on October 27, 2016, after a long illness. He was born on February 23, 1953, in Worcester, Massachusetts, to John Brewster and Phyllis (Scott) Robinson. He spent his childhood in Bedford, New Hampshire, and attended West High School in Manchester. He graduated from the University of New Hampshire with a degree in Anthropology, and earned his Masters and Ph.D. in Anthropology from Brown University.
Brian was an Associate Professor at the University of Maine, holding joint appointments in the Department of Anthropology and Climate Change Institute. His research focused on Northeastern Archaeology, hunter-gatherer cultures, coastal adaptations to changing climate, mortuary ritual and Anthropological theory. For many years he conducted the UMaine archeological field school centered on sites around Machias Bay.
While an undergraduate at the University of New Hampshire, he worked with Dr. Charles Bolian on the Seabrook Station site. He took on excavation of another archaeological site in the Seabrook Marsh, a project which could not have succeeded without the generosity of spirit and logistical support of Evelyn and Oliver Fowler and the able assistance of Peter Barlow. He worked for Frederick Hadleigh West at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem while working on his dissertation, and became involved in the Bull Brook site and West's Alaska project. Both projects were centerpieces of his career, and Fred's support was critical to the success of both projects. After Fred's death, Brian worked closely with Constance West to see West's Alaska research readied for publication.
Brian loved teaching, and drew inspiration from his students. He was open-minded and wide-ranging in his interests, and delighted in finding connections and establishing links between the past and present. He was a talented field archaeologist and an accomplished scholar. His unbounded intellectual curiosity led him to interesting places and projects. He generously shared his enthusiasm, perspective and knowledge. He felt lucky to have worked with many wonderful people over the years including archaeologists, both professional and avocational, climate change scientists, historians, native studies scholars, and especially members of the Penobscot and Passamaquoddy nations. He was immensely proud of his graduate students.
His family, especially his sons, mattered deeply to him. He credited his parents with his success in pursuing his goals in life. He was a good son, husband, father, teacher, colleague, mentor and friend. He was a good man. He will be greatly missed by many.
Brian is survived by his wife, Ann Surprenant, his sons, John Scott Robinson of Orono and Paul Kirk Robinson of Halifax, Nova Scotia, his parents, brothers, J. Dennis Robinson of Portsmouth, NH and Jeffrey Robinson and his partner Janet Clark of Columbia, SC, several nephews and one niece.
Services will be private.
The family is grateful to Dr. Jens Reuter and his staff and the Supportive Care team at Cancer Care of Maine as well as Hospice of Eastern Maine for their excellent care. Those who wish to remember Brian in a special way may make a donation to Maine Coast Heritage Trust, 1 Bowdoin Mill Island, Suite 201, Topsham, ME 04086. Condolences to the family may be expressed at www.BrookingsSmith.com.
Published on  November 5, 2016
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