April 10, 2003, Gazette
|Photo by Chris
Dr. Peter Pope
Archaeology in this province is headed to the
movies. Memorial University, in partnership with the Newfoundland Archaeological
Heritage Outreach Program (NAHOP), a Community University Research Alliance,
is expanding its ever-growing collection of videos and chronicling archaeological
research in Newfoundland and Labrador.
Since 2000, there have been three such videos produced by this initiative,
each of them giving audiences another side of the archaeological story.
The first film, Outport Archaeology, profiles community participation
in archaeology around Burnside, Fleurs de Lys, the Cupids/Dildo area,
and Placentia. Working in Archaeology, the second video, raises
some key funding and organizational concerns with regards to digs in this
Just released in late 2002, however, “this third video adds something
new,” explained Dr. Peter Pope, research director of NAHOP, and
associate professor of anthropology at Memorial. “Bound for
Avalon gives voice to the work of five archaeologists who are shedding
light on a formative period in Newfoundland history.”
Beginning in the 1500s, migratory European crews fished along the coasts
of Newfoundland, leading to considerable competition for cod in the 1600s.
As settlements slowly took root along the English Shore and around the
French establishment at Placentia, the war between France and Britain
in 1689 spread to Newfoundland, changing the course of history and life
in that region forever.
Researched by Rhonda Buckley, and co-produced by Fred Hollingshurst for
Distance Education and Learning Technologies, Bound for Avalon
showcases sites in Ferryland, Renews, Fermeuse, Cupids and Placentia,
providing insights into the life of early planters and fishers.
“The video really shows how digs in places like the Baccalieu Trail,
for instance, are doing more than just focusing on one area,” explained
Dr. Pope. “They are putting their work in a context – I think
it’s very smart, developing an integrated approach – a much
At the official launch of their third video on March 13, the Archaeology
Unit gathered with friends and supporters to watch Bound For Avalon,
announcing, for the first time SSHRC’s decision to fund NAHOP’s
work for a two-year completion phase.
“Newfoundland and Labrador is unique in that communities have taken
it upon themselves to develop archaeological projects from their own initiative.
This is very rare. So with funding for two final years, we are going to
try and strengthen strategically chosen regional projects so that they
can then, in turn, facilitate the growth of further projects once NAHOP
is gone. We also hope to emphasize ongoing university and community alliances,
building a strong foundation for future growth long after this program
The development and distribution of the three archaeology videos will
certainly serve to enhance such mandates, linking university resources
with the vision and dedication of numerous communities.
“The work being done on the Baccalieu Trail, as well as the expanding
work in and around Fleurs de Lys, are great examples of how effective
cooperative efforts can be,” said Dr. Pope. “A lot of NAHOP’s
work consists of setting up networks to link people to research possibilities.
The videos give a window to such links, and to great opportunities in
As conveyed in Bound for Avalon, the impact of investment in
archaeology is far-reaching, providing research and experiential opportunities
for students, community workers, tourists, and the province as a whole.
“With the completion of NAHOP, I hope the province will step in
to provide fellowship opportunities to graduate students who can take
research ideas and turn them into actual digs that benefit everyone. It’s
really a win-win situation,” commented Dr. Pope.
With two years left to build and promote such partnerships, Steve Mills,
coordinator of NAHOP, and Dr. Pope are looking forward to the successful
release of Bound for Avalon. “It will be available at the
various dig sites — providing tourists with in-depth information
about the site they are visiting, as well as linking them with other digs
they might want to see for themselves,” Dr. Pope added. “The
video lets people know what’s out there, in terms of research and
development — both now, and, I hope, into the future.”
To find out more, please contact the NAHOP office at 737-8923.