Please Enter a Search Term

ARCH Department News (Fall Semester 2013)

This fall Dr. Grimes joined a group of scholars who met with a representative of the Huron-Wendat Nation to discuss how archaeological techniques and knowledge can contribute to the goal of learning about Wendat Ancestors who lived prior to the modern era. Attendees of this meeting included (in photo from left to right) Judith Sealy, University of Cape Town; Michael Richards, University of British Columbia; Susan Pfeiffer, U of T; Vaughan Grimes, Memorial University; Jane Buikstra, Arizona State University; Louis Lesage, Huron-Wendat Nation; Danielle Macdonald, U of T; Ron Williamson, ASI; Jennifer Birch, University of Georgia; Lena Mortensen, U of T; Anne Stone, Arizona State University.

This meeting was followed by a special public educational event, 'Celebrating the Huron-Wendat Nation in Ontario: Exploring new approaches to learn about the past', for which Dr. Grimes served as a panelist.

 2013 excavations in Sunnyside, Newfoundland

In October Dr. Barry Gaulton, Steve Mills and a small crew of MUN archaeology graduate students excavated portions of a seventeenth-century dwelling situated in a sheltered cove in Sunnyside, Newfoundland. Previous investigation by Gaulton and Mills led them to believe that the structure was a ‘winter house’ occupied during the fall and winter months (after the fishing season had ended) by a Newfoundland resident(s) of English or French ancestry. The 2013 excavations revealed important architectural details including the outline of a large stone fireplace. A variety of seventeenth-century artifacts were also found in the hearth and in a nearby midden just west of the house. Of note were significant numbers of clay tobacco pipes, iron nails and pieces of flint – both flakes and crudely manufactured implements like gunflints and tinder flints.

Further work needs to be undertaken before any firm conclusions can be made regarding whether or not this is a winter house; however, the dwelling’s sheltered location and its proximity to fresh water, timber stands and wild game make it well-suited for such a purpose.


Faculty and Staff attended the Marine Ventures International Symposium 2013: Diversity and Dynamics in the Human-Sea Relation in Trondheim, Norway

Chacmool 2013

Dr. Lisa Rankin and PhD student, Asta Rand, presented at this year's Chacmool conference at the University of Calgary. Dr. Lisa Rankin, President Elect of the Canadian Archaeological Association (CAA), is pictured below at the CAA desk at Chacmool.


Department of Archaeology Speaker Series

Dr. Aubrey Cannon of McMaster University (November 29th at 4pm. Queen's College, QC-4028)

Title: Attachment Theory and the Archaeology of Death, Loss and Restoration.

John Bowlby’s Attachment Theory describes an evolutionary basis for differences in how individuals cope with grief. Emphasis on the experience of loss or the effort to restore everyday life corresponds archaeologically to mortuary practices that either stress continuing bonds or leave little tangible reminder of the dead. Variation characterized in these terms is evident cross-culturally and historically, but the psychological basis of individual differences provides a way to understand shifts in mortuary practice in relation to changing historical circumstances. As an example, a study of changes in the commemoration of infant deaths in Victorian England shows how social constraints on the representation of emotional loss varied by class and in relation to demographic transitions. This approach to pattern and change in responses to death represents a shift from historical contextual explanations of coherence among attitudes and circumstances toward more analytically based explanations of why practices take particular forms and subsequently change.

Students Visit Newfoundland Bronze Foundry

Archaeology students were introduced to the practicalities of metalworking past and present when they visited the Newfoundland Bronze Foundry on Friday. Sculptor and Grenfell BFA graduate Morgan Macdonald discussed how he used sand casting and lost wax, two techniques practiced by Viking-Age metalworkers in Scandinavia and the North Atlantic to create jewellery for trade. The students were very excited to witness a bronze pour, as new antlers for the Caribou statue in Bowring Park were cast. It provided them extra perspective as to the human processes which led to the finds they study.

Terre Neuve/Terre Neuvas exhibit

Dr. Peter Pope attended the opening of the Terre Neuve/Terre Neuvas exhibit at the Museum of Brittany, Rennes, France.  (Photo courtesy of Geneviève Duguay).


This presentation will explore the processes of French occupation, settlement, and abandonment of the Chapeau Rouge, along the south coast of Newfoundland, drawing on the historical, cartographic and archaeological record. French exploration and seasonal use of the Chapeau Rouge throughout the sixteenth century resulted in small-scale colonization of the region in the seventeenth century. These settlements are difficult to trace, as they are poorly documented in the historic record, but they would have consisted of small, family-based fishing plantations located in select harbours on the Burin peninsula. These small family-based settlements persisted until the French were forced to abandon the region following the Treaty of Utrecht. However, the abandonment of the region did not mean the memory of the Chapeau Rouge faded. The knowledge of this place and this landscape persisted in the French maritime world, long after it ceased to be a home for French colonists.


Three Minute Thesis (3MT®) is a research communication competition developed in 2008 by The University of Queensland (UQ) in Australia. See example videos on the University of Queensland’s 3MT site. Graduate students have three minutes to present a compelling oration on their thesis and its significance. 3MT is a wonderful opportunity for students to learn how to consolidate their ideas and research discoveries so they can be presented concisely to a non-specialist audience.

Two separate 3MT competitions

  • The Faculty of Arts will hold an on-line 3MT ‘pre-heat’ in September 2013, with results to be announced by October 15, 2013. First Prize: $500; Runner up: $250. The first prize, runner-up, and other qualifying videos will be uploaded to YouTube and used to promote Arts graduate studies. To participate, see below.
  • The School of Graduate Studies will hold a live 3MT competition on Monday, October 21, 2013. To participate, fill out an application form and submit it by September 30, 2013.

You can participate in either competition, or in both.

SSHRC Doctoral Fellowship/Canada Graduate Scholarship (CGS) Doctoral Scholarship Competition and the CGS Master’s Scholarship Competition

Details regarding the SSHRC Doctoral Fellowships/Canada Graduate Scholarship (CGS) Doctoral Scholarship competition and the CGS Master’s Scholarship competition are now available on SSHRC’s website. One new section that should be pointed out on SSHRC’s homepage is called Resources. This section provides helpful information and tips for those completing an application and provides an understanding of the adjudication and awarding process.

This year, the 2013-2014 SSHRC Canada Graduate Scholarship – Master’s program has changed. Information regarding this program can be reviewed at One change that should be mentioned is that all students must submit their CGS M application online using the Research Portal. Students should indicate the names of the universities (up to five) where they propose to hold their award via the Research Portal. Applicants who have selected Memorial as their university of choice will have their applications reviewed by our university selection committee. These applications are no longer forwarded to SSHRC to be reviewed at the national level. Students receiving offers from multiple universities will have 3 weeks from the date of the announced results to indicate their university of choice.

***The deadline for the Department of Archaeology is October 31st. Please contact your supervisor as soon as possible regarding your application.***

Award Winners

The following undergraduate students made Dean's List for the 2012-13 Academic Year.

  • Kyle Bedecki – Archaeology/Anthropology
  • Anita Fells - Archaeology/Folklore
  • Alicia Morry - Archaeology
  • Ashley Piskor - Archaeology
  • Melanie Stockley – Archaeology/Anthropology

The following graduate students are recipients of the Joseph-Armand Bombardier Canada Graduate Scholarship:

  • David Craig
  • Paulina Dobrota
  • Catherine Hawkins
  • Jason Miszaniec

Other awards:

  • Frédéric Dussault is the recipient of the SSHRC Doctoral Fellowship
  • Tyrone Hamilton is the recipient of the ISER Fellowship
  • Asta Rand is the recipient of the School of Graduate Studies F.A. Aldrich Fellowships

 Meet our Postdoctoral Students

Dr. Amanda Crompton

In the summer of 2013, I was a John Carter Brown Library Associates Fellow at Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island. During my residency at the JCB Library, I completed a comparative study of French travel narratives from Newfoundland and elsewhere, titled "Continual Journeys: French Travel Narratives and the Early Modern North Atlantic World". I examined both published and unpublished narratives that describe travel from France to northeastern North America. I particularly focused on travellers' perceptions of shipboard life, the landscapes and seascapes that they encountered, and the role that experience and authority played in the construction of these narratives.

In 2013-2014, I will be also be a Post-Doctoral Fellow at the Institute for
Social and Economic Research at Memorial University, Newfoundland, Canada. This project is centred around the history and archaeology of French residence on the island of Newfoundland. More specifically, this project aims to systematically evaluate the documentary, cartographic and archaeological evidence for seventeenth- and early eighteenth-century French residence on the Burin Peninsula. The advent of French permanent settlement in Newfoundland began in earnest in 1662, when the French crown established a formal colony at Plaisance (now Placentia). However, some residents (known as habitants) chose not to live in the colony. Instead, they established small settlements on the stretch of coastline they called the Chapeau Rouge, which generally encompassed the islands in Placentia Bay and harbours along the Placentia Bay side of the Burin Peninsula. After the area was surrendered to the British under the terms of the Treaty of Utrecht in 1713, the majority of the settlers were forced to leave. Currently, we know little of the extent, dispersion, and location of French settlers in this part of Newfoundland. This research project will provide previously unknown information on the breadth and depth of the French permanent occupation along the Chapeau Rouge, and will add new data and a new dimension to our knowledge of the French presence in Newfoundland as a whole.

Dr. Latonia Hartery

Funding: SSHRC Postdoctoral Fellowship

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Michael Deal

Title: A Microscopic Approach to Paleoeskimo Plant Use

The overall goal of Latonia's research is to investigate Dorset Paleoeskimo plant use and to expose the importance of this resource in their society. She is using a microscopic approach by searching for phytoliths and starches on tool edges and in soils. Phytoliths are casts of cells formed when silica is absorbed by the plant through ground water and embedded in cell walls. These 'stone' cells remain in soils and on artifacts after the plant or tool is discarded since they are not usually susceptible to deterioration. They are distinctive of various levels of plant taxa. Starch grains are microscopic granules that serve as food storing mechanisms, and also distinctive of plant taxa. Latonia first applied these techniques to Peat Garden North, Bird Cove, in northern Newfoundland, an archaeological site which formed the basis of her doctoral thesis, and discovered that the Dorset Paleoeskimo may have used as many as 22 different species of plants for food, medicine and tools. She also aims to determine how Paleoeskimo plant use differed between high and lower latitude locations and which tools were used to process specific plant species, thereby contributing to our understanding of Paleoeskimo tool functions as well. To this end, she is testing sites and tools not only in Newfoundland, but also Labrador, the Canadian Arctic and Greenland