Archaeology News Archive (Academic Year 2013-14)

Graduate Awards Ceremony

Annette Sullivan, Administrative Program Assistant for the Department of Archaeology, recieved the Dean's Award for Service Excellence during the annual Graduate Awards Ceremony held on June 3rd 2014, recognizing her many years of service to the department of Archaeology. Hillary Hatcher, Adrian Morrison and Kara Wolfe were also honoured as new Fellows of the School of Graduate Studies at the ceremony for completing the M.A. degree in Archaeology.

Congratulations to all four on their recent recognition during the 2013/2014 award ceremony!


Department of Archaeology Job Opportunity

Per Course Appointments

The Department of Archaeology invites applications from individuals interested in teaching the following undergraduate course in Fall 2014.

Subject to budgetary restrictions and sufficient enrolments, appointments will be made on a course by course basis and will not entail any obligation to conduct research or to perform any administrative service for Memorial University. Appointments will be made in accordance with the provisions in the MUN-LUMUN Collective Agreement. Course design and evaluation methods for all courses will be in accordance with the Department of Archaeology regulations and the Memorial University Calendar.

Course Title: ARCH 2492-001
Course Schedule: Slot 05 (MWF 1200-1250)
Campus Location: St. John’s

Course Description: Forensic Archaeology is an examination of procedures and techniques used by Biological anthropologists and archaeologists to obtain data pertinent to investigations by law enforcement and medical authorities; evidence concerning the identification of human remains and the cause, time and manner of death. Note: This course may not be used for credit toward a major or minor in Archaeology.
Qualifications: An MA or equivalent in Bioarchaeology or a closely-related discipline; previous teaching experience at a post secondary level; and a demonstrated knowledge of the course concepts and material.

To apply for this position:

Please submit a letter of application, curriculum vitae and the names of referees, electronically or in writing to:

Dr. Lisa Rankin
Department of Archaeology
Tel: (709) 864-3210 Fax: (709) 864-2374
Memorial University of Newfoundland
St. John’s, NL, A1C 5S7

Salary: As per the MUN-LUMUN Collective Agreement

Closing Date: Friday June 20, 2014

All qualified candidates are encouraged to apply; however, Canadian citizens and permanent residents will be given priority. Memorial University of Newfoundland is committed to employment equity and encourages applications from qualified women and men, visible minorities, aboriginal people and persons with disabilities.

Posted: 6 June 2014

The CAAs

Dr. Lisa Rankin and Dr. Peter Ramsden at the Canadian Archaeological Association annual conference.

This year's conference was organized by Memorial Alumni and former graduate student of archaeology Matthew Beaudoin. Many of our graduate and postdoral students presented, including Amelia Fay, Dr. Amanda Crompton, Megan Bower, Asta Rand, Melissa Burns and Dominic Lacroix, as well as a number of faculty members, Dr. Lisa Rakin, Dr. Meghan Burchell and Scott Neilsen.

Congratulations to Dr. Lisa Rankin for her recent appointment as President of the CAA.

Congratulations also to Memorial Alumni and former Archaeology graduate student Tim Rast for winning a CAA YouTube Channel Video Award for his video on Dorset Palaeoeskimo Drums, as well as to Dr. Peter Pope and Bryn Tapper for winning a communication award for the Newfoundland's Petit Nord website.

The Archaeology department of Memorial will be hosting the CAAs next year, so keep your eye out for future updates!

Award Winners

Great success in the ISER results this year for the graduate and Postdoctoral students of the Archaeology department:

  • Dr. Amanda Crompton - Research Grant
  • Chelsee Arbour - Fellowship
  • Arthur Clausnitzer - Research Grant
  • Jeralyn Bohms - Fellowship and Research Grant
  • Catherine Hawkins - Research Grant
  • Jess Munkittrick - Research Grant

**Congratulations to all the award winners for the 2014-2015 academic year!**

Archaeological Conservation Field Techniques Workshop

June 3rd-4th, 2014. Queens College, MUN, St. John's

The Department of Archaeology will be hosting a workshop on Archaeological Conservation Field Techniques. The workshop will be conducted by Cliff Cook from the Canadian Conservation Institute (CCI) over two days with a good mix of both lecture and practical sessions. It will be a great opportunity for those going out into the field who may not have immediate access to a conservator on site.

Visit the CCI website for a more detailed description of the workshop or contact Donna Teasdale if you have any further questions.

Places are limited so register early.

Posted: 22 April 2014

Priscilla Renouf 1953-2014

Priscilla Renouf was born in St. John’s on August 8th 1953 to Harry and Miriam Renouf. Like her sisters, Mary, Deane and Tia, Priscilla is a graduate of Memorial University and, as student and professor, has been an outstanding member of that community. She established an early reputation in archaeology during her doctoral studies at Cambridge (PhD 1981).On returning to Memorial to teach, Priscilla embarked on an ambitious field research program at Port au Choix that would occupy her summers for three decades. Her work captivated generations of residents and tourists, and illuminated the complex prehistory of the region for the world. Her pioneering research there brought Priscilla international acclaim and her work has shaped how archaeologists view hunter-gatherer relationships with the changing physical and social environment. As an academic, Priscilla was driven by the excitement of research and a commitment to excellence. In 2001 she was awarded the Canada Research Chair in North Atlantic Archaeology and in 2010 was inducted as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada.

In recognition of her lifetime contribution to archaeology, especially at Port au Choix, Priscilla was the 2014 recipient of a Manning Award from the Historic Sites Association of Newfoundland and Labrador.As a mentor and educator, Priscilla was exceptional, knowing exactly when her students needed a boot to stimulate progress or her praise to instil confidence. That same intuition made her an effective leader, whether as department chair or as a board member for the Canadian Museum of Civilization and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council. She took great pride in her contribution as founding chair of the The Rooms, leading it through its formative years to become an international cultural venue.Priscilla Renouf died on April 4th 2014 after a determined and fearless battle with cancer, with her husband, Memorial University Biology professor, Roger Pickavance by her side. In the words of one of her former students, “I am a better scholar for having worked with her and a better person for knowing her.” She leaves her family and friends with warm memories of her regard for others, her joy in living and her wonderful sense of humour.

Posted: 9 April 2014

MUN Archaeology Field School 2014

This year’s field school will be held at the O’Brien Farm in Pippy Park beside the MUN Botanical Gardens. Investigations will be focusing on two early nineteenth-century homesteads established by John O’Brien on the property – the site of a cabin that was constructed on his arrival from Ireland in 1818, followed by a more substantial farmhouse built nearby in 1830. By 1850, 15 acres of the 35 acre farm was cleared for agriculture – those same fields very much evident today.

If you are interested in excavating and exploring the architecture and material culture of an early settler’s farm in the St. John’s area, within a short distance of campus, please contact Dr. James Lyttleton in the Dept. of Archaeology for further details.

Registration for this field school is currently ongoing.

Posted: 4 April 2014

Department of Archaeology Guest Lecture Series

Posted: 21 March 2014


2013 Pioneers Scholarship Award

Congratulations to MA candidate Jeralyn Bohms winner of the 2013 Pioneers Scholarship honouring Dr. Ralph Pastore. (Photo. Brad Gover 2014)

Posted: 6 March 2014

Teaching Term Appointments: Faculty of Arts

Deadline: March 14, 2014

Memorial University of Newfoundland anticipates making teaching term appointments in the Faculty of Arts, subject to budgetary approval and to sufficient enrolments, during the Spring and Fall semesters of 2014 and Winter semester of 2015. Departments and programs in the Faculty of Arts which may make such appointments include Archaeology, Classics, English, French & Spanish (both subject areas and the Frecker program in Saint-Pierre), Gender Studies, History, Philosophy, Political Science, Religious Studies and Sociology.

The minimum qualification for teaching term appointments is normally a completed doctoral degree in the discipline, though in some cases a master's degree in the discipline together with appropriate teaching experience may be an acceptable qualification. For further details on these appointments, please contact the head of the appropriate department.
Applications should include:

a curriculum vitae,
evidence of effective teaching,
and the names and addresses of three referees.

Please forward applications to:
Dr. Lynne Phillips,
Dean of Arts,
Memorial University of Newfoundland,
St. John's, Newfoundland, A1C 5S7.

All qualified candidates are encouraged to apply; however, Canadian citizens and permanent residents of Canada will be given priority. Memorial University is committed to employment equity and encourages applications from qualified women and men, visible minorities, aboriginal people, and persons with disabilities.

Posted: 26 Feb 2014

Department of Archaeology Guest Lecture Series

Posted: 18 Feb 2014

Flintknapping in ARCH 4153 Lithic Analysis

As part of the Lithic Analysis course offered by the Department, archaeology students recently participated in a percussion flaking workshop. During the practical workshop the students learnt the differences between soft and hard hammer percussion with Catherine Jalbert and Tim Rast.

The Lithic Analysis course explores the range of techniques used to study stone tools, including material and provenance identification, morphology and functional analysis, temporal and cultural typology, measurement, illustration, experimental manufacture, use wear and breakage patterns, refitting, debitage analysis and spatial distribution.

Posted: 3 Feb 2014

Department of Archaeology Guest Lecture Series

Date: Tuesday, February 25th, 2014
Location: Arts and Administration Building A-1043
Time: 5:00-6:30 PM

Dr. Benjamin Alberti of Framingham State University.

Title: World Making: Archaeology and the ‘Ontological Turn’.
Talking about ‘turns’ of anything is awkward, as the term is tendentious by nature. In this presentation I would like to shed light on a series of ways that archaeologists are approaching the ontological explicitly in their work in relation to work in other disciplines, particularly anthropology. Why has the question of ontology been taken up? The terrain is varied. Are we looking for more adequate theories of the world and its essential constitution? Are we trying to correct long-held narratives that underwrite modernity? Or are we trying to find new ways to understand apparently unintelligible past worlds? I claim that one potent way archaeology can be self-consciously ontological is by opening up new worlds -- worlds that are potentially no less objective realities than others brought into being by science. I will draw on examples from my own work on northwest Argentinean ceramics, Southwest rock art, and work by colleagues in other areas.

Dr. Alberti is an archaeologist who specialises in ceramics; Late pre-Inca Northwest Argentina; ontological archaeology; queer theory; feminist theory; masculinities, and bodies. He recently co-edited Archaeology After Interpretation (Walnut Creek, CA: Left Coast Press, 2013) and a special section in Cambridge Archaeological Journal on “Animating Archaeology: Of Subjects, Objects and Alternative Archaeologies”. Titles among his publications include “A matter of difference: Karen Barad, ontology and archaeological bodies” (in Cambridge Archaeological Journal) Gender, Feminist, and Queer Archaeologies: USA Perspective (in Encyclopedia of Global Archaeology. C. Smith, ed); “Designing body–pots in the Early Formative La Candelaria Culture, Northwest Argentina (In Making and Growing: Anthropological Studies of Organisms and Artefacts. E. Hallam and T. Ingold, eds).

Department of Archaeology Speaker Series

Date: Friday, January 31st, 2014Location: Bitter's Boardroom, 2nd floor Feild HallTime: 4:00-5:00 PM

Dr. Richard Josephs of the University of North Dakota.

Title: Trends in Geoarchaeology: A Personal PerspectiveRichard Josephs is a consulting geoarchaeologist and adjunct professorand research affiliate in the University of North Dakota's Department of Anthropology.


**Dr. Burchell will be teaching a special topics course in the Winter semester called The Archaeology of Death. It is not listed on the academic calendar but is scheduled for Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9-10:15. Registration is now available for this course. Please email Dr. Burchell at for more information.**

~~Want to become a graduate student in the Department of Archaeology? Applications to the School of Graduate Studies are due on January 15th. Please click here for more information ~~

Canadian Conservation Institute (CCI) Workshop

The Canadian Conservation Institute (CCI) held a workshop at the Archaeology Department’s Conservation Lab on the Care of Metals in Collections in November 2013. This workshop was organized by the Museum Association of NL (MANL). Lyndsie Selwyn, senior conservation scientist, facilitated the workshop which focused on the identification of metals, their corrosion properties as well and storage and display environments of metals commonly found in collections.

Conservation Lab internship

During the fall semester Jessica Wheeler completed a full-time curriculum based internship at the Conservation Lab. Jessica came to us from the Collections Conservation and Management Program offered by Fleming College in Peterborough, Ontario. Jessica worked on everything from ceramic reconstruction, organic material from Labrador, iron, lead and copper artifact stabilization, to developing a treatment proposal for a crate of 1850s Enfield rifles-muskets.

Archaeology with the Huron-Wendat Nation

This fall Dr. Grimes joined a group of scholars who met with a representative of the Huron-Wendat Nation to discuss how archaeological techniques and knowledge can contribute to the goal of learning about Wendat Ancestors who lived prior to the modern era. Attendees of this meeting included (in photo from left to right) Judith Sealy, University of Cape Town; Michael Richards, University of British Columbia; Susan Pfeiffer, U of T; Vaughan Grimes, Memorial University; Jane Buikstra, Arizona State University; Louis Lesage, Huron-Wendat Nation; Danielle Macdonald, U of T; Ron Williamson, ASI; Jennifer Birch, University of Georgia; Lena Mortensen, U of T; Anne Stone, Arizona State University.

This meeting was followed by a special public educational event, 'Celebrating the Huron-Wendat Nation in Ontario: Exploring new approaches to learn about the past', for which Dr. Grimes served as a panelist.

2013 excavations in Sunnyside, Newfoundland

In October Dr. Barry Gaulton, Steve Mills and a small crew of MUN archaeology graduate students excavated portions of a seventeenth-century dwelling situated in a sheltered cove in Sunnyside, Newfoundland. Previous investigation by Gaulton and Mills led them to believe that the structure was a ‘winter house’ occupied during the fall and winter months (after the fishing season had ended) by a Newfoundland resident(s) of English or French ancestry. The 2013 excavations revealed important architectural details including the outline of a large stone fireplace.

A variety of seventeenth-century artifacts were also found in the hearth and in a nearby midden just west of the house. Of note were significant numbers of clay tobacco pipes, iron nails and pieces of flint – both flakes and crudely manufactured implements like gunflints and tinder flints.

Further work needs to be undertaken before any firm conclusions can be made regarding whether or not this is a winter house; however, the dwelling’s sheltered location and its proximity to fresh water, timber stands and wild game make it well-suited for such a purpose.

Faculty and Staff attended the Marine Ventures International Symposium 2013: Diversity and Dynamics in the Human-Sea Relation in Trondheim, Norway

Chacmool 2013

Dr. Lisa Rankin and PhD student, Asta Rand, presented at this year's Chacmool conference at the University of Calgary. Dr. Lisa Rankin, President Elect of the Canadian Archaeological Association (CAA), is pictured below at the CAA desk at Chacmool.

Department of Archaeology Speaker Series

Dr. Aubrey Cannon of McMaster University (November 29th at 4pm. Queen's College, QC-4028)

Title: Attachment Theory and the Archaeology of Death, Loss and Restoration.

John Bowlby’s Attachment Theory describes an evolutionary basis for differences in how individuals cope with grief. Emphasis on the experience of loss or the effort to restore everyday life corresponds archaeologically to mortuary practices that either stress continuing bonds or leave little tangible reminder of the dead. Variation characterized in these terms is evident cross-culturally and historically, but the psychological basis of individual differences provides a way to understand shifts in mortuary practice in relation to changing historical circumstances. As an example, a study of changes in the commemoration of infant deaths in Victorian England shows how social constraints on the representation of emotional loss varied by class and in relation to demographic transitions. This approach to pattern and change in responses to death represents a shift from historical contextual explanations of coherence among attitudes and circumstances toward more analytically based explanations of why practices take particular forms and subsequently change.

Students Visit Newfoundland Bronze Foundry

Archaeology students were introduced to the practicalities of metalworking past and present when they visited the Newfoundland Bronze Foundry on Friday. Sculptor and Grenfell BFA graduate Morgan Macdonald discussed how he used sand casting and lost wax, two techniques practiced by Viking-Age metalworkers in Scandinavia and the North Atlantic to create jewellery for trade. The students were very excited to witness a bronze pour, as new antlers for the Caribou statue in Bowring Park were cast. It provided them extra perspective as to the human processes which led to the finds they study.

Terre Neuve/Terre Neuvas exhibit

Dr. Peter Pope attended the opening of the Terre Neuve/Terre Neuvas exhibit at the Museum of Brittany, Rennes, France. (Photo courtesy of Geneviève Duguay).

This presentation will explore the processes of French occupation, settlement, and abandonment of the Chapeau Rouge, along the south coast of Newfoundland, drawing on the historical, cartographic and archaeological record. French exploration and seasonal use of the Chapeau Rouge throughout the sixteenth century resulted in small-scale colonization of the region in the seventeenth century. These settlements are difficult to trace, as they are poorly documented in the historic record, but they would have consisted of small, family-based fishing plantations located in select harbours on the Burin peninsula. These small family-based settlements persisted until the French were forced to abandon the region following the Treaty of Utrecht. However, the abandonment of the region did not mean the memory of the Chapeau Rouge faded. The knowledge of this place and this landscape persisted in the French maritime world, long after it ceased to be a home for French colonists.


Three Minute Thesis (3MT®) is a research communication competition developed in 2008 by The University of Queensland (UQ) in Australia. See example videos on the University of Queensland’s 3MT site. Graduate students have three minutes to present a compelling oration on their thesis and its significance. 3MT is a wonderful opportunity for students to learn how to consolidate their ideas and research discoveries so they can be presented concisely to a non-specialist audience.
Two separate 3MT competitions

The Faculty of Arts will hold an on-line 3MT ‘pre-heat’ in September 2013, with results to be announced by October 15, 2013. First Prize: $500; Runner up: $250. The first prize, runner-up, and other qualifying videos will be uploaded to YouTube and used to promote Arts graduate studies. To participate, see below.

The School of Graduate Studies will hold a live 3MT competition on Monday, October 21, 2013. To participate, fill out an application form and submit it by September 30, 2013.

You can participate in either competition, or in both.

SSHRC Doctoral Fellowship/Canada Graduate Scholarship (CGS) Doctoral Scholarship Competition and the CGS Master’s Scholarship Competition

Details regarding the SSHRC Doctoral Fellowships/Canada Graduate Scholarship (CGS) Doctoral Scholarship competition and the CGS Master’s Scholarship competition are now available on SSHRC’s website. One new section that should be pointed out on SSHRC’s homepage is called Resources. This section provides helpful information and tips for those completing an application and provides an understanding of the adjudication and awarding process.

This year, the 2013-2014 SSHRC Canada Graduate Scholarship – Master’s program has changed. Information regarding this program can be reviewed at One change that should be mentioned is that all students must submit their CGS M application online using the Research Portal. Students should indicate the names of the universities (up to five) where they propose to hold their award via the Research Portal. Applicants who have selected Memorial as their university of choice will have their applications reviewed by our university selection committee. These applications are no longer forwarded to SSHRC to be reviewed at the national level. Students receiving offers from multiple universities will have 3 weeks from the date of the announced results to indicate their university of choice.

***The deadline for the Department of Archaeology is October 31st. Please contact your supervisor as soon as possible regarding your application.***

Award Winners

The following undergraduate students made Dean's List for the 2012-13 Academic Year.

  • Kyle Bedecki – Archaeology/Anthropology
  • Anita Fells - Archaeology/Folklore
  • Alicia Morry - Archaeology
  • Ashley Piskor - Archaeology
  • Melanie Stockley – Archaeology/Anthropology

The following graduate students are recipients of the Joseph-Armand Bombardier Canada Graduate Scholarship:

  • David Craig
  • Paulina Dobrota
  • Catherine Hawkins
  • Jason Miszaniec

Other awards:

  • Frédéric Dussault is the recipient of the SSHRC Doctoral Fellowship
  • Tyrone Hamilton is the recipient of the ISER Fellowship
  • Asta Rand is the recipient of the School of Graduate Studies F.A. Aldrich Fellowships

Meet our Postdoctoral Students

Dr. Amanda Crompton

In the summer of 2013, I was a John Carter Brown Library Associates Fellow at Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island. During my residency at the JCB Library, I completed a comparative study of French travel narratives from Newfoundland and elsewhere, titled "Continual Journeys: French Travel Narratives and the Early Modern North Atlantic World". I examined both published and unpublished narratives that describe travel from France to northeastern North America. I particularly focused on travellers' perceptions of shipboard life, the landscapes and seascapes that they encountered, and the role that experience and authority played in the construction of these narratives.

In 2013-2014, I will be also be a Post-Doctoral Fellow at the Institute for
Social and Economic Research at Memorial University, Newfoundland, Canada. This project is centred around the history and archaeology of French residence on the island of Newfoundland. More specifically, this project aims to systematically evaluate the documentary, cartographic and archaeological evidence for seventeenth- and early eighteenth-century French residence on the Burin Peninsula. The advent of French permanent settlement in Newfoundland began in earnest in 1662, when the French crown established a formal colony at Plaisance (now Placentia). However, some residents (known as habitants) chose not to live in the colony. Instead, they established small settlements on the stretch of coastline they called the Chapeau Rouge, which generally encompassed the islands in Placentia Bay and harbours along the Placentia Bay side of the Burin Peninsula. After the area was surrendered to the British under the terms of the Treaty of Utrecht in 1713, the majority of the settlers were forced to leave. Currently, we know little of the extent, dispersion, and location of French settlers in this part of Newfoundland. This research project will provide previously unknown information on the breadth and depth of the French permanent occupation along the Chapeau Rouge, and will add new data and a new dimension to our knowledge of the French presence in Newfoundland as a whole.


Dr. Latonia Hartery

Funding: SSHRC Postdoctoral Fellowship

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Michael Deal

Title: A Microscopic Approach to Paleoeskimo Plant Use

The overall goal of Latonia's research is to investigate Dorset Paleoeskimo plant use and to expose the importance of this resource in their society. She is using a microscopic approach by searching for phytoliths and starches on tool edges and in soils. Phytoliths are casts of cells formed when silica is absorbed by the plant through ground water and embedded in cell walls. These 'stone' cells remain in soils and on artifacts after the plant or tool is discarded since they are not usually susceptible to deterioration. They are distinctive of various levels of plant taxa. Starch grains are microscopic granules that serve as food storing mechanisms, and also distinctive of plant taxa. Latonia first applied these techniques to Peat Garden North, Bird Cove, in northern Newfoundland, an archaeological site which formed the basis of her doctoral thesis, and discovered that the Dorset Paleoeskimo may have used as many as 22 different species of plants for food, medicine and tools. She also aims to determine how Paleoeskimo plant use differed between high and lower latitude locations and which tools were used to process specific plant species, thereby contributing to our understanding of Paleoeskimo tool functions as well. To this end, she is testing sites and tools not only in Newfoundland, but also Labrador, the Canadian Arctic and Greenland.



Department of Archaeology

230 Elizabeth Ave, St. John's, NL, CANADA, A1B 3X9

Postal Address: P.O. Box 4200, St. John's, NL, CANADA, A1C 5S7

Tel: (709) 864-8000