Honorary Research Fellow (University of Aberdeen)
Ph.D. (Archaeology), University of Aberdeen, 2013
M.A. (Archaeology), Université Laval, 2009
B.Sc. (Archaeology), Université Laval, 2006
Email: vforbes [@] mun.ca
Office: QC 4014
My research area encompasses circumpolar North America and the North Atlantic Islands, where I use insect remains to examine interactions between Indigenous foragers and European farmers and their environment. I specialise in archaeoentomology, the use of insect remains in archaeological interpretation. This approach allows me to reconstruct lifeways, living conditions and activity areas at specific sites, but also to examine questions pertaining to the complexity of hunter-fisher-gatherer lifeways and the impact of expanding exchange networks on local ecosystems.
In terms of geographical areas, I have worked on Norse and later Euro-Scandinavians sites in Iceland, as well as on the pre-contact (16th-17th century AD) Yup’ik site of Nunalleq in southwest Alaska. I am currently developing a research program aiming to reconstruct lifeways and ecological changes on the island of Newfoundland, to shed light on how a dynamic cast of peoples – including Indigenous foragers, European fishermen, planters and tradesmen – changed and shaped modern Newfoundland’s landscapes and ecology.
Courses Taught (2018-2019)
- ARCH 1000: Introduction to Archaeology
- ARCH 2480: Principles of Archaeology
- ARCH 3588: Arctic Archaeology
- ARCH 6682: Advances in Environmental Archaeology
Carlson, Ivan (in progress). Echoes of the Past: Examining Environment Change Induced by Inuit and Activity in Labrador (Co-supervised with Dr. Peter Whitridge).
LEDGER, P.M., FORBES, V., MASSON-MACLEAN, E., HILLERDAL, C., HAMILTON, W.D., MCMANUS-FRY, E., JORGE, A., BRITTON, K., KNECHT, R. (2018). Three generations under one roof? Bayesian modelling of radiocarbon data from Nunalleq, Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta, Alaska. American Antiquity.
FORBES, V. & SIKES, D. (2018) A survey of beetles (Coleoptera) from the tundra surrounding the Nunalleq archaeological site, Quinhagak, southwestern Alaska. Biodiversity Data Journal 6: e22788. DOI: 10.3897/BDJ.6.e22788
FORBES, V., DUSSAULT, F., LALONDE, O. & BAIN, A. (2017) Coléoptères, poux et puces subfossiles provenant d’habitats de chasseurs-cueilleurs: l’apport des recherches archéoentomologiques dans le nord circumpolaire. Recherches Amérindiennes au Québec XLVII (2-3): 11-21.
ROY, N., WOOLLETT, J., BHIRY, N., HAEMMERLI, G., FORBES, V. & PIENITZ, R. (2017, in press) Perspective of Landscape Change Following Early Settlement (Landnám) in Svalbarðstunga, Northeastern Iceland. Boreas.
LEDGER, P.M., FORBES, V., MASSON-MACLEAN, E. & KNECHT, R.A. (2016) Dating and Digging Stratified Archaeology in Circumpolar North America: A View from Nunalleq, Southwestern Alaska. Arctic 69 (4): 378-390. DOI: 10.14430/arctic4599
FORBES, V., DUGMORE, A.J & ÓLAFSSON, E. (2016) The Life and Death of Barn Beetles: Faunas from Manure and Stored Hay inside Farm Buildings in Northern Iceland. Ecological Entomology 41: 480-499. DOI: 10.1111/een.1232
FORBES, V. (2015) Duck Fleas as Evidence for Eiderdown Production on Archaeological Sites. Journal of Archaeological Science 61: 105-111. DOI: 10.1016/j.jas.2015.05.008
FORBES, V., BRITTON, K. & KNECHT, R. (2015) Preliminary Archaeoentomological Analyses of Permafrost-preserved Cultural Layers from the Pre-contact Yup’ik Eskimo Site of Nunalleq, Alaska: Implications, Potential and Methodological Considerations. Environmental Archaeology 20 (2): 158-167. DOI: 10.1179/1749631414Y.0000000037
FORBES, V., DUSSAULT, F. & BAIN, A. (2014) Archaeoentomological Research in the North Atlantic: Past, Present and Future. Journal of the North Atlantic 26: 1-24. http://www.eaglehill.us/JONAonline/articles/JONA-26/03-Forbes.shtml
FORBES, V. & MILEK, K.B. (2014) Insects, Activity Areas and Turf Buildings’ Interiors: An Ethno-archaeoentomological Case Study from 19th to Early 20th-century Þverá, Northeast-Iceland. Quaternary International. 341: 195-215. DOI: 10.1016/j.quaint.2013.10.014
DUSSAULT, F., FORBES, V. & BAIN, A. (2014) Archaeoentomology at Tatsip Ataa: Evidence for the Use of Local Resources and Daily Life in the Norse Eastern Settlement, Greenland. Journal of the North Atlantic 6, Special Volume, In the footsteps of Vebæk, Vatnahverfi Studies 2005-2011: 14-28. http://www.eaglehill.us/JONAonline/articles/JONA-Sp-6/11-Dussault.shtml
FORBES, V., DUSSAULT, F. & BAIN, A. (2013) Contributions of Ectoparasite Studies in Archaeology with Two Examples from the North Atlantic Region. International Journal of Paleopathology 3: 158-164. DOI: 10.1016/j.ijpp.2013.07.004
FORBES, V., BAIN, A., GÍSLADÓTTIR, G.A. & MILEK, K.B. (2010) Reconstructing Aspects of the Daily Life in Late 19th and Early 20th-Century Iceland: Archaeoentomological Analysis of the Vatnsfjörður Farm, NW Iceland. Archaeologia Islandica 8: 77-110.
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, 12-13th 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, 15-19th 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, 8-12th January 2014.
FORBES, V. (2013) ‘Archaeoentomology and the Modernisation of Life-ways in Rural Iceland’. North Atlantic Biocultural Organisation (NABO) 2013 General Meeting, Stefansson Arctic Institute, Akureyri, 12-13th July 2013.
FORBES, V. (2013) ‘Insects and Ectoparasites as Evidence for Animal Resource Exploitation’. Meeting of the Japanese Society for the Promotion of Science - Advanced Core Research Center for History of Human Ecology in the North, University of Aberdeen, 3rd-4th December 2013.
FORBES, V. & MILEK, K. (2012) ‘Insects, Activity Areas and House Interiors: An Ethno-archaeoentomological Case Study from 19th-century Þverá, NE-Iceland’. Paper presented at the Russell Coope Memorial Lectures, Royal Holloway, University of London, 19th June 2012.
FORBES, V. (2010) ‘Archaeoentomology – The Use of Fossil Insects in Archaeology’. Paper presented at the Bio-Arch/Co-Reach meeting, Beijing, China, 1st-5th February 2010.
FORBES, V. (2010) ‘Lifeways and Living Conditions of 19-20th Century Icelandic Farmers: Archaeoentomological Reconstructions of Daily Life at Vatnsfjörður, NW-Iceland’. Paper presented at The Environmental Archaeology of the North, Association for Environmental Archaeology Spring Conference, Aberdeen, 30th March - 1st April 2010.
FORBES, V. (2008) ‘The Relationship between Humans and their Environment in NW-Iceland – Archaeoentomological study of the Vatnsfjörður’s site’. Paper presented at Archaeological Futures: A Research Agenda for the North Atlantic, NABO Conference, Bradford, 29th August - 1st September 2008.
FORBES, V. (2017) ‘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.
FORBES, V. (2016) ‘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.
FORBES, V. (2014) ‘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.
FORBES, V. (2013) ‘Archaeoentomology and the Modernisation of Life-Ways in Rural Iceland’. Northern Archaeology Research Seminar Series, University of Aberdeen, 6th November 2013.
FORBES, V. (2011) ‘The Use of Insect Remains in Archaeological Interpretations: An Example From Northern Iceland’. Meeting of the Aberdeen Entomological Club, Aberdeen, 6th December 2011.