Colony of Avalon Archaeologist for a Day

Interested in trying your hand at being an archaeologist? Now you can with the Colony of Avalon Archaeologist for a Day program. This full day program is happening from June 27 to August 11, 2016. The cost for registration is $124.99 + HST (Lunch Included). However, NLAS members get a discount, your cost will be $100 + HST (Lunch Included). To book this exciting adventure phone 709-432-3200 or 1-877-326-5669 toll free. Email:

See the poster below for more details.

Don’t forget your sunscreen, bug spray and fedora!

If you are a NLAS member and want to participate in this program you need to indicate your NLAS membership to the Colony of Avalon folks at the time of booking to avail of the discount!

Archaeologist for a Day - NL Arch Society

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Cafe Press

Have you been to the NLAS Cafe Press store lately? We have some good looking and useful items for sale. With each purchase you’ll have the benefit of knowing that you’re helping the Society.

Cafe Press

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Spring Fling Membership Drive

Since spring takes such a long time to come to Newfoundland, we thought we’d give it a bit more time to fully arrive by extending our Spring Fling membership drive until the first week of May.




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Community Collections Archaeological Research Project: Baxter Andrews Collection


The Newfoundland and Labrador Archaeological Society (NLAS) is keen on engaging with private collectors of archaeological material. Under the Community Collections Archaeological Research Project (CCARP) the NLAS hopes to locate and record these private collections as well as facilitate public education and awareness of heritage and archaeological resources. The attached PDF report and photo gallery showcases artifacts collected by Baxter Andrews on Cape Island in Cape Freels, Newfoundland, between 1953 and 2010. Seventeen artifacts were surfaced collected by Mr. Andrews from eroding sand banks during walks along the beach with his wife Bernice. The artifacts represent six precontact cultures including: Maritime Archaic Indian, Dorset Palaeoeskimo, Cow Head Recent Indian, Beaches Recent Indian, and Little Passage Recent Indian-Beothuk. This is the second collection catalogued under CCARP.

It’s important to note that collecting artifacts is contrary to Newfoundland and Labrador’s Historic Resources Act. With this project, the NLAS does not condone the future collection of artifacts, but rather, it serves as a mechanism which allows existing collections to be shared for educational purposes.

The Community Collections Archaeological Research Project was funded through the Cultural Economic Development Program – Heritage, Department of Business, Tourism, Culture and Rural Development. The work was carried out by John Andrew Campbell, Department of Archaeology, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

Baxter Andrews Collection photo gallery

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Baxter Andrews Archaeology Collection

On Monday, March 7th, John Andrew Campbell will be in Wesleyville giving a free public talk at Norton’s Cove Studio at 7PM. He’ll be sharing the latest Community Collections Archaeological Research Project; The Baxter Andrews Archaeology Collection. If you are in the area, please stop by and check out the collection!Talk.jpg

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GIS workshop

We are hosting a GIS workshop on Saturday, March 12. Learn how to use a free GIS program to overlay aerial photos or old maps, import GIS layers from the web or ArcGIS, or map out a survey.


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In order to complete the 2015 project the NLAS is looking for a graduate student in archaeology or someone with equivalent experience who is willing to work for us and analyze a collection of pre-contact lithic artifacts from the Bonavista Bay area. We would prefer if the applicants had some Public speaking experience and a comfort with the media (print, radio, tv). Priority will be given to archaeologists who are early in their career. The project will run from November 30, 2015 to March 1, 2016. Salary is based on 15 days work at $15/hr. Travel, accommodation, and a per diem are covered for a two day return trip from St. John’s to Lumsden, NL. Please see the attached PDF Terms of Reference for details.

LETTERS OF INTEREST along with a CV and REFERENCES are to be submitted by e-mail by 4 p.m., November 23, 2015 to:

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NLAS Symposium & 2015 AGM

On November 5, the Newfoundland and Labrador Archaeological Society held a symposium in honour of the 100th anniversary of James P. Howley’s book, “The Beothucks or Red Indians”.  Our keynote speaker for the evening was Mr. Gerald Penney who presented a lecture entitled James P. Howley, “the birth of Newfoundland archaeology, and the end of history” (PDF). After his presentation the NLAS had a discussion on the book and the role it has played in our understanding of the Beothuk. The NLAS gathered some of the foremost Beothuk research specialists in archaeology, history, and historic site tourism, to discuss the contributions that this volume has made to our understanding of the Beothuk people and culture. This portion of the evening was hosted by Dr. Donald Holly. The whole event was recorded and is now available on our YouTube channel.

Symposium Poster

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The Dirt on Your Directors: Lori White

Since the current Board of the NLAS is also its first formal Board and there is an AGM coming up in November where many of these people will be replaced, we thought it would be interesting to get each board member to answer a series of questions about themselves and their role with the NLAS. Over the next few weeks we will post each board members response to those questions. The final director in this series is Lori White who is the NLAS Treasurer and Finance Committee Chair.

Excavating on northwestern Baffin Island (Marc Pike).

Excavating on northwestern Baffin Island (Marc Pike).

  • What sort of things do you do as the Treasurer and Finance Committee Chair?

As the Treasurer I oversee the financial health and transactions of the NLAS. I am the first person to hold the Treasurer position so much of my work has focused on laying the groundwork for the organization along with my fellow Board members. My tasks include setting up and managing our banking and financial accounts, as well as handling donations, project funds, and membership fees. The Treasurer is also responsible for working with the Board to prepare budgets and reports to meet deadlines by various internal and external agencies.

Along with my fellow Finance Committee members, Elaine Anton and Chelsee Arbour, one of our biggest goals was finally attained in August 2015 when the NLAS became a Registered Charity with the Canada Revenue Agency (woohoo!). So starting next year we can add ‘filing an income tax report’ to the list of duties to the Treasurer’s agenda.

Special projects closely overseen by the Treasurer and Executive include operating the Bookroom at the 2015 Annual Meetings of the Canadian Archaeological Association (CAA) in St. John’s this past spring, and partnering with the CAA to design and produce a chocolate artefact mold. We introduced the ‘NLAS Chocolate Dorset Harpoon Head’ at the CAA meetings in May and they continue to be a successful fundraising product for the NLAS (limited stock still available for $3 each, or 2 for $5; milk or dark chocolate!).

NLAS chocolate Dorset harpoon head. Milk or dark chocolate (Lori White).

NLAS chocolate Dorset harpoon head. Milk or dark chocolate (Lori White).

While the day-to-day duties for Treasurer may seem boring to some it’s been incredibly rewarding to see our membership grow and our committees successful in our funding applications so that we can offer our membership and the public more archaeology programming and special events.

  • What was the most interesting site you have worked on?

I don’t have a favourite site but I have a favourite type of site. I’m most excited about sites focused on founder populations. What circumstances brought the first people to this region? This continent? This island? How did they transport themselves here? Where did they come from? How big was their group? Did they arrive in search of resources, or introduce non-native species? Why did they stay? In some cases, why did they leave or disappear? The sites I’ve personally worked on have all been coastal – Tonga, Fiji, and Baffin Island, with some brief experience on Prince Edward Island and in Labrador. My favourite field seasons have been spent answering some of the above questions alongside a team of multi-disciplinary peers and they’ve been some of the most memorable experiences of my life.

  •  If you could give yourself one piece of advice to help you along your archaeology path, what would it be?

Get your hands dirty and join an archaeology field project! Whether you are a student wanting to major in archaeology, or someone who simply has an interest in archaeology and travel, there are dozens –if not hundreds– of opportunities around the world to register or volunteer to gain archaeological fieldwork experience as part of your education, hobby, or even your vacation.

A dig will help you gain the skills required to excavate an archaeological site. Field schools offer students an opportunity to find out what they do/don’t like about fieldwork and artefact processing. It’s what cinched the deal for myself and many of my friends and colleagues; it’s where they decided they wanted to continue with active fieldwork to become research or commercial (cultural resource management) archaeologists, proceed with graduate school, become archaeology instructors/professors, technicians, collections managers, curators, and conservators. For laypersons interested in gaining a rich cultural experience while visiting a new destination, or exploring local excavations in areas that offer such programs, the hands-on experience you earn by joining an archaeology dig can be both exciting and rewarding.

I realize fieldwork opportunities often come with a price tag and it’s not always an option for everyone. It would be great to see the NLAS offering a local public archaeology dig program to our members in the future.

Getting dirty on a Northwest Coast fieldschool in Scowlitz, BC.

Getting dirty on a Northwest Coast fieldschool in Scowlitz, BC.

  • When I think about the future of the NLAS, I hope…

The organization continues to grow in membership and enthusiasm so we can implement and expand our huge wish-list of projects and programming; including dig programs, awards, research assistant-ships, field trips, public lecture series, conferences, student internships, a full chocolate box of NL artefact types, and community partnerships… to name just a few.

I also hope the NLAS is around long enough that no one will remember what a pain it was to obtain our Registered Charity status.

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The Dirt on Your Directors: Corey Hutchings

Since the current Board of the NLAS is also its first formal Board and there is an AGM coming up in November where many of these people will be replaced, we thought it would be interesting to get each board member to answer a series of questions about themselves and their role with the NLAS. Over the next few weeks we will post each board members response to those questions. Up next is Corey Hutchings, a member of the Board of Directors.

  • How did you get interested in Archaeology?

I have the opposite story of most of the professional archaeologists that I have met. With few exceptions most of my colleagues say that they went to university with an entirely different profession in mind and happened across an archaeology course and got hooked. I on the other hand always liked reading about the past and came straight from high school with an interest in archaeology/history. In fact I was lucky enough to participate in a cooperative learning program in grade 12 that let me spend my afternoons at the university working with archaeological materials.

  • Do you have a favourite site or artifact from the Province?

Nulliak Cove!!! Nulliak Cove, Labrador is the location of one of the largest Labrador Archaic sites in the province and the site consist of a series Archaic longhouses as well as structures and features from nearly all the cultures that have lived in Labrador. I have visited the site twice, once to surface collect artifacts and for a second visit for my Masters field work in which I mapped and identified undocumented longhouses. The site itself is amazingly beautiful, with large hills encompassing a high beach and the inland pond. Nulliak has an important place in the history of archaeological work in the province with site visits taking place for over 50 years. Despite this long history only superficial excavation of the site has been completed. I hope to have the opportunity to work there again in the future; barring that it would be fantastic to see other researchers take up an interest.


The Labrador Archaic site of Nulliak Cove.

  • What was the most interesting artifact(s) you found?

The most interesting object that I have personally found is a soapstone plaque I surface collected from Nulliak Cove. Since the beginning of my work in archaeology I have wanted to recover a piece of “art” a carving or etching etc. This piece is the closest that I have ever come; it is a very plain ground piece of stone 15cm in size with a very fine etching that can be seen on one surface. The pattern is very faint and open to interpretation, which I think makes the object more interesting. As I see it the etched lines form a series of points at different heights across the whole of the object. These could represent anything from the profile of the Nulliak’s surrounding hills to a map of points along the coast or they may be completely abstract. That there are multiple possible explanations of this small piece represents a lot of archaeology in that there are so many questions to answer and so many ways to interpret the available data.

The soapstone plaque.

The soapstone plaque.

  • In your opinion, what is the one thing that no archaeologist should be without?

The ability to tell a story. Being able to tell the story of the people you are studying is incredibly important. I think too often the fact that we are working with peoples personal histories is forgotten, being able to use the facts that we discover to tell their story is the most important part of what we do. Add to this that I think archaeology really works best as a collaborative activity and the more people share and talk about what they are working on the better the overall outcome. Some of my favourite stories come from archaeologists talking about field work and often times you get a real sense of how dedicated people are to getting to the story of people they are studying.

One of my favourite archaeology stories happened while I was working for another NLAS board member at White Point, Labrador. We had experienced some of the worst weather possible resulting in our kitchen tent being demolished in a wind storm. After days of pouring rain and no real way to prepare warm food the Field Director had managed to find a crack in a cliff that the two of us were able to cover in a tarp so we could get a stove going. The first thing we did was make a pot coffee which we promptly drank, we then set to work making a second pot of coffee which we also drank. After 10 cups each of some of the worst coffee ever made which we drank in a freezing dripping wet cave he turned to me and said “You know a month ago I was drinking coffee at Starbucks.”

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