Archeology

When the Bonne Bay Marine Station and Aquarium were constructed, archeologists from Memorial University conducted a small excavation before construction of the new buildings began.  Stone tools were already well known from Bonne Bay, so a team from Memorial University was brought in to assess the site. 

Samms archeology site

There was report of looting of the sites from the 1940s, when local children would actually sell artifacts to tourists, and it was likely to be a disturbed site due to its position within a community.

The excavation team from Memorial University, led by Prof. Priscilla Renouf, found stone tools, flakes from tool making and other artifacts that are characteristic of the Groswater Pre-Inuit technologies.  The site was actually part of the lawn and potato patch of the garden of the old marine station!

It is amazing to think that before Europeans came, the Aquarium site would probably have been a "butchering station" for many hundreds of years.  Other sites in the Norris Point area include Maritime Archaic, Pre-Inuit and Dorset artifacts discovered by Bishop (1974; actually the first discovery of the Groswater Pre-Inuit), and later by Renouf, Bell and Hull (2001).

Harpoon Tip Norris Point

Some of the artifacts from the excavations can be seen in the Public Aquarium. 

When we say that, "We acknowledge that the lands on which Memorial University’s campuses are situated in are the traditional territories of diverse indigenous groups, and we acknowledge with respect the diverse histories and cultures of the Beothuk, Mi’kmaq, Innu, and Inuit of this province" there is very clear evidence of that rich pre-European history here on our campus at Bonne Bay.

Want to know more? Come by the Aquarium or have a look at this online resource.

Contact

Bonne Bay Marine Station and Aquarium

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