From a Twillingate Garden to Cambridge University
When it comes to his predilection for archaeology, geographic location had much to do with Robert Anstey's burgeoning career.
Memorial's latest Rothermere Fellow got his first taste of digging up the past as a young boy when out harvesting vegetables with his grandfather and father in their Twillingate garden. Their potato bed turned out to be a Dorset Palaeoeskimo site where he and his father (who had worked as an archaeology assistant on a Maritime Archaeic burial site in the 1960s) discovered several stone tools.
“After finding my first stone tool, I was instantly captivated and realized that archaeology was the career for me,” remembers Mr. Anstey, who will be attending Cambridge University in the fall of 2013. Deciding on Cambridge was a “no brainer” for Mr. Anstey.
“It’s the top-ranked institution in the world for studying archaeology and has a strong reputation for producing some of the world’s most sought-after scholars,” said the holder of two degrees (BA ’09 and MA ’11) from Memorial. Mr. Anstey also remembers his mother rhapsodizing about the time she spent visiting friends in Cambridge during the 1970s.
Mr. Anstey was encouraged to apply for the Rothermere Fellowship by his master's supervisor Dr. Priscilla Renouf, a former Rothermere Fellow herself.
“Robert was one of my best MA students, amongst the many excellent ones I have been fortunate enough to supervise,” said Dr. Renouf. “Rob loves to read and he loves to write: he is a true bibliophile.”
Established by Memorial University's first chancellor, Lord Rothermere, this generous trust will fund the full cost of three years of study in the United Kingdom, and provides a yearly stipend and airfare to and from Newfoundland and Labrador. This annual award is currently valued at about £15,000 per year, plus tuition fees.
A major part of the Rothermere Fellowship is to reward students who are committed to Newfoundland and Labrador and applicants must provide a written letter on that theme and how this commitment is reflected in their research.
Mr. Anstey’s PhD research will represent the first cohesive examination of Amerindian-Palaeoeskimo interactions in the Strait of Belle Isle. He plans to synthesize existing data from both sides of the strait, tying both sides together rather than treating them as separate, as has been done in the past. On a broader level, Mr. Anstey’s research will provide an important analogy for understanding contemporary social relationships and will contribute to revitalizing the region’s cultural heritage, therefore supporting future tourism to the area.