Palaeoecology, Environmental Archaeology and Timescales Laboratory

logoThe 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. 

Photograph showing sampling being undertaken at L'Anse aux Meadows with landscape and tourists in the the background


Dr. Véronique Forbes: archaeo/palaeoentomology, environmental archaeology

Email: vforbes[@]

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 collections form this province and other Maritime provinces of Canada. Left: Picture of the PEAT lab, right: beetles remains as seen under the microscope

Current projects

Dr. Véronique Forbes
  • Photograph showing a pit excavated in the peat bog at Ferryland's head and V. Forbes holding a shovelAn 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 (1) undertaking a synthetic review of the island’s occupational history and archaeology, (2) initiating a survey of its modern insect fauna and (3) identifying key archaeological sites where paleoenvironmental and preliminary archaeoentomological analyses will be conducted.

Posdoctoral Fellow

  • Dr. Paul Ledger, Pollen analyses and chronology modelling based on materials from Port au Choix, The Dorset Palaeoeskimo Site of Phillip’s Garden, Northwestern Newfoundland: Late Phase Occupation and Site Abandonment (SSHRC funded project, supervised by Dr. Trevor Bell (Geography) and Dr. Vaughan Grimes

Graduate Students

View of Ferryland

Undergraduate Research Assistants

  • Juliet Lanphear, Undergraduate (MUCEP) Research Assistant
  • Molly Ingenmey, Undergraduate Research Assistant

Research Partners & Collaborators


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