The Colony of Avalon Foundation has been named the 2014 recipient of the Faculty of Arts' Newfoundland and Labrador Community Research Engagement Award.
Nominated by Dr. Barry Gaulton, the Colony of Avalon Foundation was cited for the two decades of close collaboration and partnership its volunteer members have enjoyed with faculty members in the Department of Archaeology.
“The Board and staff of the Colony of Avalon are honoured by this award, and thank Dr. Gaulton for the nomination,” said Des Costello, chair of the Colony of Avalon’s Board of Directors. “The Colony of Avalon continues to fulfill its mission of investigating and preserving the archaeological site in Ferryland through its partnership with Memorial University. What we have achieved together over the years is remarkable.”
Memorial University first became involved in the archaeological investigation of Ferryland in the mid-1980s. The community-based, not-for profit Colony of Avalon Foundation was founded in 1994 in an effort to preserve and promote these archaeological remains.
In the subsequent 20 years, the Colony and members of the Department of Archaeology have enjoyed a substantial partnership which has resulted in employment for over 30 people from the Southern Shore each season, as well as an interpretative program enjoyed by approximately 17,000 visitors each year. The archaeological site, interpretation centre, 17th century kitchen and heritage gardens of the Colony of Avalon are the anchor attraction for the community and have led to the development of new B&Bs, restaurants and other amenities.
“The Colony of Avalon Foundation actively contributes to my ongoing research program at Ferryland,” says Dr. Gaulton, who has managed the project since 2005 following the retirement of Dr. Jim Tuck. “Since 2005 the Foundation has been successful in acquiring $546,000 in operating funds dedicated to the hiring of local field assistants and laboratory technicians. These well-trained staff members allow me to implement my excavation plans and achieve my research goals.”
The Foundation also serves as a careful steward of the over two million archaeological objects unearthed during excavations and currently housed in a dedicated collections room at the interpretative centre. From an academic perspective, the Foundation has assisted, both directly and indirectly, in the successful completion of graduate student research. As a result of this research, the archaeological site at Ferryland has contributed tremendously to the training of a new generation of archaeologists.
“This partnership truly fits the criteria for this award – the Colony of Avalon enabled Dr. Gaulton’s research and his research in turn has benefitted the community," said Dr. Lynne Phillips, dean of the Faculty of Arts and chair of the Community Research Engagement Award Committee. "The 20-year partnership Dr. Gaulton described in his nomination letter is an outstanding example of cooperation between the university and community and is exactly the sort of engagement we are highlighting with the Community Research Engagement Award.”
Dr. Lynne Phillips presented the award to board member Maureen Sullivan at Ferryland’s interpretative centre on June 27, 2014.
The Faculty of Arts' Newfoundland and Labrador Community Research Engagement Award was established in 2013 to recognize a community or place within the province of Newfoundland and Labrador which has been an instrumental partner in research completed by an Arts faculty member(s) and/or graduate student. The research must have taken place within the last five years and have made a positive difference in the community.