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Dr. Priscilla Renouf

Dr. Priscilla Renouf

Canada Research Chair in North Atlantic Archaeology

Dr. Renouf passed away Friday, April 4, 2014. 

Achievements: 1992 recipient of the President's Award for Outstanding Research; member of the Canadian Museum of Civilization Board of Trustees (1990-1998); co-founded LINK, an international program of interdisciplinary research; executive member of the North Atlantic Biocultural Organization; curator of a multi-media exhibit of her work at a new Parks Canada museum; author of many academic and general audience papers; regularly invited to speak at national and international venues.

Research Involves: Site survey and excavation of campsites and settlements of ancient hunting and fishing peoples; and reconstruction of past settlement patterns and the past environment.

Research Relevance: Understanding how prehistoric peoples adapted to the changing environment of the North Atlantic will provide a context for understanding more recent North Atlantic settlements.

Ancient Peoples of Newfoundland

Dr. Priscilla Renouf, Canada Research Chair of North Atlantic Archaeology, has conducted research in Labrador, Newfoundland, Arctic Norway and Greenland. For the past several years her research has been situated in Port au Choix, northwestern Newfoundland, where she is reconstructing 5,500 years of human adaptation to a changing environment.

This period encompasses four aboriginal cultures and provides a unique context for understanding the European occupation of the area in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, as well as the current rural settlement. Data from several exceptionally large and well-preserved sites have considerably advanced knowledge of settlements in Port au Choix and the prehistory of the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador. This research has implications for understanding the prehistory of the Canadian Arctic, the Maritimes, and the New England states. Additionally, it contributes to the comparative anthropology of hunting and gathering peoples.

Along with her co-investigators and students, Dr. Renouf is now extending research to the entire west coast of Newfoundland. The team will survey for new archaeological sites and excavate those that show promise. Their goal is to synthesize the prehistory of the Northern Peninsula as a region, linking it to other areas of Newfoundland and Labrador. Survey and excavation will go hand-in-hand with reconstruction of ancient climate and shorelines.

Dr. Renouf co-founded an international research group, called LINK, which consists of a dozen archaeologists working in North Atlantic areas: Labrador, Greenland, the
United Kingdom, Sweden and Norway. Their purpose is to integrate social and natural science research to address questions of how past human societies in the North Atlantic reacted to long- and short-term climate fluctuations.

Dr. Renouf is committed to communicating the results of her research to the public as well as the academic community. She continues to achieve this through videos, exhibits, publications and public presentations.