Véronique Forbes

PositionVF doing fieldwork at L'Anse aux Meadows

Assistant Professor
Honorary Research Fellow (University of Aberdeen)


Ph.D. (Archaeology), University of Aberdeen, 2013
M.A. (Archaeology), Université Laval, 2009
B.A. (Archaeology), Université Laval, 2006


Email: vforbes [@] mun.ca
Office: QC 4014

Research Interests 

I am an environmental archaeologist specialized in the analysis of insect remains – mostly beetles, lice and fleas. Most of my fieldwork experience involved excavating turf and sod houses (and associated middens) and undertaking small-scale surveys of modern beetles in Iceland (2006-2013) and southwestern Alaska (2013-2017). Since my recent hire at MUN, I have begun to develop a research program investigating long-term human-environment interactions on the island of Newfoundland. I am particularly interested in examining the roles played by the different people who lived on the island – from Indigenous foragers to European explorers, fishers and planters – in shaping its landscapes and biodiversity. I am also currently collaborating on projects focusing on southern Greenland and on the precontact Yup'ik site of Nunalleq in southwestern Alaska. For more information on these projects, please have a look at the PEAT Lab web page here

Currently, my main research focus is on the UNESCO World Heritage Site of L’Anse aux Meadows. This follows the inadvertent discovery, in 2018, of a previously unknown cultural layer in the peat bog located east of the Norse buildings at the site (if you would like to know more, you can read our article here). Since then, I have been working with MUN colleagues and students, and collaborators from the Universities of Stavanger (Norway) and Aberdeen (UK) to deploy environmental-archaeological methods, chronology-modelling and geophysical prospection with the goal of establishing the extent, cultural affinity and significance of this layer.

Courses Taught (2019-2020) Sveinhús, abandoned farm NW Iceland
  • ARCH 1000: Introduction to Archaeology
  • ARCH 2480: Principles of Archaeology
  • ARCH 3588: Arctic Archaeology
  • ARCH 3680: Archaeology of Iceland
  • ARCH 6682: Advances in Environmental Archaeology
Student Supervision
M.A Theses
  • Carlson, Ivan (in progress) The Genesis of Labrador's Indigenous Landscapes: A Review of Research Approaches and Current Knowledge (Co-supervised with Dr. Peter Whitridge).   
  • Speller, Jeffrey (in progress) L’Anse aux Meadows: An Integrated Micromorphological Investigation.                  
Honours Essays
  • Jared Hogan (in progress) Funerary Archaeoentomology at Nunalleq.
  • Juliet Lanphear (2020) History, Archaeology and Palaeoecology of the Icelandic Plagues: A Review.
Recent presentationsfirst slide of ICFAE conference presentation
  • Forbes, V., Huchet, J.-B., & Knecht, R. (2019) The Archaeoentomology of a Conflict Scene: Blow-Flies and Ectoparasites from Pre-contact (16-17th c. A.D.) Yup'ik Nunalleq, Alaska. 3rd International Conference in Funerary Archaeoentomology, Bordeaux, 5 June 2019.
  • Forbes, V., Huchet, J.-B., & Knecht, R. (2019) The Archaeoentomology of a Conflict Scene: Blow-Flies and Ectoparasites from Pre-contact (16-17th c. A.D.) Yup'ik Nunalleq, Alaska. Canadian Archaeological Association and Association des Archeologues du Quebec Joint Meeting, Quebec City, 15-18 May 2019.
  • Forbes, V., Huchet, J.-B., McManus, E., Masson-Maclean, E. & Knecht, R. (2017) Insects as Silent Witnesses to Past Warfare: Forensic Entomology and the Investigation of a Conflict Scene at Nunalleq (15th-18th centuries AD), Southwestern Alaska. 23rd Annual Meeting of the European Association of Archaeologists, Maastricht, 30 August-3 September 2017.
  • Forbes, V., Huchet, J.-B., Masson-Maclean, E., McManus, E. & Knecht, R. (2017) Archaeoentomology and the Investigation of a Scene of Indigenous Conflict: Preliminary Results from Nunalleq, Alaska. 2nd International Conference in Funerary Archaeoentomology, Treviso, 7th June 2017.
  • Forbes, V. (2016) Commemorating Prehistoric Warfare through Archaeology: The Bow-and-Arrow-Wars at Nunalleq, Southwestern Alaska. Past Matters, Research Futures: An AHRC Care for the Future ECR Conference, Royal Society, London, 12-13 December 2016.
  • Forbes, V., Britton, K. & Knecht, R. (2015) Beetle, Lice and Flea Sub-fossils as Evidence for Resource Exploitation, the Use of Space and Ecological Conditions at the Pre-contact Eskimo Site of Nunalleq, South-western Alaska. 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, 15-19 April 2015.
  • Forbes, V. (2014) Alien Invasions: Modernization and the Dispersal of Insect Pests in Iceland. 47th Conference on Historical and Underwater Archaeology, Society for Historical Archaeology, Québec City, 8-12 January 2014.

Invited lecturesintro slide for MUNARCH seminar

  • Bugs, Plants, Peat & People: Introducing Environmental Archaeology and its potential in Newfoundland. With Paul Ledger, Pint of Science St. John's, 26 February 2020.
  • What they Do in the Shadows of Turf Farmhouses: Insects and the Modernization of Rural Iceland. MUNArch Seminar Series, St. John’s, 27 February 2019.
  • Beetles, Peat Bogs and People: The Unexplored Potential of Archaeoentomology in Newfoundland. Newfoundland and Labrador Archaeological Society Annual General Meeting, St. John’s, 14th November 2018.
  • What Can We Learn from Insects Preserved in Peatbogs and Archaeological Sites? Archaeoentomology at Nunalleq, Alaska. Biology Graduate Student Association Seminar Series, Memorial University of Newfoundland, St, John's, 23rd March 2018.
  • Archaeoentomological Approaches to Lifeways, Human Ecology and Conflict in Pre-contact (15th-18th Century AD) Southwestern Alaska. Research Laboratory for Archaeology and the History of Art Departmental Research Seminar, University of Oxford, 7th February 2017.
  • Beetle, Lice and Flea Subfossils from Nunalleq (Alaska) and the Underappreciated Value of Archaeoentomology in the Study of Arctic Lifeways. The Tuesday Lunchtime Lectures Series, University of Sheffield, 19th April 2016.
  • Les coléoptères, poux et puces provenant du site Yup’ik de Nunalleq en Alaska : Le potentiel de l’archéoentomologie dans l’étude des modes de vie des peuples autochtones de l’Arctique. Les Archéo-vendredis du groupe de recherche en archéométrie, Université Laval, Québec City, 3rd October 2014.
  • Archaeoentomology and the Modernisation of Life-Ways in Rural Iceland. Northern Archaeology Research Seminar Series, University of Aberdeen, 6th November 2013.
  • The Use of Insect Remains in Archaeological Interpretations: An Example From Northern Iceland. Meeting of the Aberdeen Entomological Club, Aberdeen, 6th December 2011.


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