Archaeology at Memorial

Archaeologists study past and contemporary human cultures, across a variety of spatial and temporal scales, through the material left behind. Our objects of study encompass artifacts (e.g. tools and other objects modified or created by humans), features (e.g. architectural remains, hearths, artistic depictions), ecofacts (e.g. plant, animal and human remains, as well as sediments), archaeological sites and their associated landscape settings.

In the Department of Archaeology, our students engage in practical training and experiential learning in classroom, laboratory and fieldwork settings that provide a comprehensive education and transferable skills. We have begun to develop and expand our distance learning options through the development of online courses and remote teaching offerings that allow students from all over the world and different walks of life to join and learn with us and discover different aspects of archaeology. State of the art laboratories specializing in applied archaeological sciences, environmental archaeology, archaeological conservation, and artifact analysis integrate students into community-university research initiatives from Northern Labrador to French Guiana and from Alaska to Northwest Europe.

As one of the largest Archaeology departments in the country, we train our students to become effective researchers, critical thinkers, and active stewards for our shared archaeological heritage.


Congratulations to Dr. Lisa Rankin, MUNL Archaeology Department, who was recently awarded the Smith-Wintemberg Award by the Canadian Archaeological Association/Association Canadienne d'Archéologie

The Smith-Wintemberg Award is the association's highest honour and is presented to professional members of the Canadian archaeological community who have made outstanding contributions to the advancement of the discipline of archaeology and our knowledge of the archaeological past of Canada.

The award recognized Dr. Rankin's contributions to our understanding of the history of Labrador and to the broader processes of colonialism, her strong partnerships with Indigenous communities, government agencies and fellow researchers internationally, and her mentorship and training of the next generation of Canadian archaeologists.

She is the second faculty member from the Department of Archaeology to receive this award following Dr. Jim Tuck in 2009.

Check out Robyn Lacy's (PhD Candidate, Archaeology) upcoming book:

Daisy Wheel, Hexfoil, Hexafoil, Rosette: Protective Marks in Gravestone Art.

Description: The use of protective symbols, also known as apotropaic marks, are often part of folk magic traditions, appearing in homes, churches, on personal items, and even graves, across Europe, Australia, and North America. The most common and well-known of these marks is the hexfoil, otherwise known as the daisy wheel, witch hex, or rosette. Hexfoils have a history of use for personal protection and were carved both intentionally or graffitied into church pews and walls, bed frames, doors, and gravestones. This research sheds light on the use of this historic symbol to protect the bodies and souls of the deceased, across several thousand years and multiple countries.

Order directly from the publisher, Berghahn Books.



Congratulations to Archaeology student Heather Tough on receiving the Pro Vice-Chancellor’s Prize for the winning essay titled ‘Battles in the Cemetery: Power Structures Acting Upon African-American Mortuary Landscapes in the United States’!

Well done, Heather! 


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