The Institute of Social and Economic Research, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, of Memorial University of Newfoundland was established in 1961 to foster and undertake research into the many social and economic questions arising from the particular historic, geographic, and economic circumstances of Newfoundland and Labrador.
While maintaining its focus on Newfoundland and Labrador, ISER supports comparative research. It encourages interdisciplinary as well as discipline-based research, and basic research as well as work with more immediate application.
ISER's studies and research projects are pursued through a system of fellowships and research grants for approved projects. ISER also has grants available to support conferences that fall within its mandate.
English colonial settlement in the North Atlantic world: the Calvert estates in Ireland and Newfoundland in the seventeenth century.
This project is looking at the archaeology of early English colonial expansion in the seventeenth century, with particular reference to Sir George Calvert, 1st Lord Baltimore whose family acquired lands in Clohamon, Co. Wexford, as well as established a colony in Ferryland on Newfoundland’s Avalon Peninsula in the 1620s. The ISER Post-Doctoral Research Fellowship facilitated research on published primary and secondary sources relating to the archaeology and history of Lord Baltimore’s settlements in Newfoundland and Ireland, creating a benchmark from which to pursue the first archaeological investigation ever of Lord Baltimore’s Irish settlement. Surviving estate papers uncovered during the course of the fellowship indicated that the Calvert family were actively managing their Irish estate, with lands been leased and rented to English and Irish tenants. The extensive oak woodlands in the locality, of which north Wexford was famous for at the time, were also exploited to supply an international demand for charcoal, pipestaves and lumber. In the context of the early origins of empire, the acquisition and management of Irish estates such as Clohamon was important as they provided the necessary experience in settling colonists further afield such as at Ferryland on the southern shore of Newfoundland. Between 2009 and 2011, three seasons of archaeological testing and excavation, involving students from the Archaeology Department in Memorial, have revealed the partial remains of a late medieval castle, while further investigation between the castle and the modern day village of Clohamon has unearthed evidence for property boundaries that were laid out in the seventeenth century. Additionally, the remains of a timber-framed malt-house of mid-seventeenth-century date were also uncovered - a unique survival as vernacular architecture in Ireland from this period can be difficult to locate.
Remarkably the mortar and cobble floor of the mid-seventeenth-century malthouse at Clohamon had escaped destruction by later ploughing. To the rear of the building can be seen a brick-lined kiln which was heated by a stone-built hearth placed into the ground to the left.