Palaeoecology, Environmental Archaeology and Timescales Laboratory
The Palaeoecology, Environmental Archaeology and Timescales (PEAT) Laboratory (in QC 1000) is equipped with a variety of resources for both teaching and research involving the analysis of insect and plant remains associated with archaeological sites (archaeoentomology, archaeobotany and palynology). The laboratory’s main research focus is in examining long-term interactions between circumpolar foraging, fishing and farming communities through the analysis of ecofacts preserved in peat and archaeological deposits.
The PEAT Laboratory is located within the space originally dedicated to the Palaeoethnobotany Laboratory. The latter was managed by Dr. Mike Deal until his retirement in 2018, after which new Faculty Dr. Véronique Forbes took on this role. We have recently expanded the research, equipment and other resources of the laboratory to include the study of insects subfossils, in addition to plant remains.
Dr. Deal continues to work with us through student supervisions and has generously donated a collection of seeds and other remains of plants from Newfoundland, Labrador and the Maritime Provinces to the PEAT lab. We are also in the process of building a reference collection of Coleoptera (beetles) from Newfoundland, to expand upon our small collection of insects from Iceland and Alaska.
Dr. Véronique Forbes: archaeo/palaeoentomology, environmental archaeology
You can also follow our research and adventures on the PEAT Lab YouTube channel.
Equipments and Facilities
The PEAT lab offers ample bench space, a large stainless steel sink equipped with a sediment trap as well as severeal low and high-powered microscopes for palynological, archaeoentomological and archaeobotanical analyses. We also host a small reference collection of insects from Newfoundland, Alaska and Iceland, in addition to a seeds and plant remains collection from this province and other Maritime provinces of Canada.
Dr. Véronique Forbes
- An Archaeoentomological Approach to Long-Term Human-Environment Interactions in Newfoundland: This project aims to undertake the groundwork for a long-term research program that seeks to document five thousand years of human-environment interactions in Newfoundland. This will involve (a) undertaking a synthetic review of the island’s occupational history and archaeology, (b) initiating a survey of its modern insect fauna and (c) identifying key archaeological sites where paleoenvironmental and preliminary archaeoentomological analyses will be conducted.
- New Horizons and Novel Approaches at L’Anse aux Meadows: This project aims to undertake environmental archaeological analyses of sediments recovered from the UNESCO World Heritage site of L’Anse aux Meadows, the only known Norse settlement in North America. Palaeoenvironmental sampling of the peat bog east of the Norse ruins in August 2018 revealed an apparently cultural deposit rich in exceptionally well-preserved plant and insect remains. The objectives of this project are (a) to establish the cultural affinity of this deposit through environmental archaeological analyses and C14 dating and (b) to delineate its extent through further archaeological prospection (funded through a Smallwood Research grant and an SSHRC Explore grant with Dr. P. Ledger).
- Analysis of insect remains and plant microfossils (pollen and associated proxies) as part of the NABO international cross-disciplinary collaborative project Co-production of scientific knowledge and the building of local archaeological capacity in Greenland. This project is funded through a US National Science Foundation grant to Tom H. McGovern (CUNY), Ian A. Simpson (Stirling), Jette Arneborg (National Museum of Denmark), Konrad Smiarsowski (CUNY) and Christian K. Madsen (National Museum of Denmark).
- Analysis of insect remains as part of the Nunalleq Archaeological Project. My involvement in this project begun as an AHRC postdoctoral fellowship (2013-2016) at the University of Aberdeen, followed by a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Postdoctoral Fellowship at the Université de Bordeaux (2016-2017). I am still collaborating with colleagues from the University of Aberdeen and Qanirtuuq inc., as well as Dr. Jean-Bernard Huchet, in ongoing analysis of insect remains from this unique, permafrost-preserved site.
- Dr. Paul Ledger, Pollen analyses and chronology-modelling based on materials from L'Anse aux Meadows, Revisiting the Environmental and Chronological Context of Norse Settlement at L'Anse aux Meadows
- John Andrew Campbell, Ph.D. student, Indigenous-European interactions in Nova Scotia during the Protohistoric Period (1500-1630). Supervised by Dr. Mike Deal and Dr. Scott Neilsen
- Emma Lewis-Sing, M.A. student, Palaeoethnobotanical approach to Beothuk-European Interactions at Ferryland, Newfoundland's Avalon Peninsula. Supervised by Dr. Mike Deal and Dr. Barry Gaulton
- Ivan Carlson, M.A. student, Echoes of the Past: Examining Environment Change Induced by Inuit Activity in Labrador. Supervised by Dr. Véronique Forbes and Dr. Peter Whitridge
- Jeffrey Speller, M.A. Student, L’Anse aux Meadows: An Integrated Micromorphological Investigation. Supervised by Dr. Véronique Forbes and Dr. Karen Milek (Durham University).
- Juliet Lanphear, Archaeoentomology at L'Anse aux Meadows
- Jared Hogan, Funerary Archaeoentomology at Nunalleq
Research Partners & Collaborators
- Dr. Linus Girdland Flink (ancient DNA), School of Natural Sciences and Psychology, Liverpool John Moores University
- Dr. Dawn Elise Mooney (Archaeobotany), Archaeological Museum, University of Stavanger
- Dr. Karen Milek (Geoarchaeology), Department of Archaeology, Durham University
- Dr. Jean-Bernard Huchet (Funerary Archaeoentomology), CNRS, Muséum d'Histoire Naturelle de Paris, Université de Bordeaux
- North Atlantic Biocultural Organisation
- Groupe de Recherches en Archéometrie, Université Laval
- School of Geosciences, University of Aberdeen
- Kevin McAleese, curator of history, the Rooms Provincial Museum
Ledger, P.M., Girdland-Flink, L. & Forbes, V. (2019) New Horizons at L'Anse aux Meadows. PNAS.
Forbes, V., Ledger, P.M., Cretu, D. & Elias, S. (in press) A Sub-centennial, Little Ice Age Climate Reconstruction Using Beetle Subfossil Data from Nunalleq, Southwestern Alaska. Quaternary International.
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.
Ledger P.M. (2018) Are Circumpolar Hunter-Gatherers Visible in the Palaeoenvironmental Record? Pollen-analytical Evidence from Nunalleq, Southwestern Alaska. The Holocene 28 (3): 415-426.
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 83 (3): 505-524.
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.