The Dirt on Your Directors: Communications Committee, Stephen Hull

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 Stephen Hull, a member of the Communications Committee.

How did you get interested in Archaeology?

  • My father instilled in me an interest in the past of Newfoundland and Labrador. I took that interest to University and majored in History and Geography. In the midst of finishing that degree I became more interested in earth sciences and fossils. While looking at the Memorial University calendar I came across Archaeology. That fall I started my first archaeology course and I’ve been working in the field ever since.
    During a work visit to a known eroding site this summer, 2015. I am taking photos and dad is surface collecting artifacts from an eroding site.

    During a work visit to a known eroding site this summer, 2015. I am taking photos and dad is surface collecting artifacts from an eroding site.

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

    • Working for the Provincial Archaeology Office has given me the opportunity to visit a lot of sites in NL. While they all have their interesting points, there are several that I am partial too. If I had to pick one site it would have to be Boyd’s Cove for a number of reasons. First of all it’s a Recent Indian – Beothuk habitation site, my main area of research interest. Second, the site is the key to showing that the precontact Recent Indian culture sequence of Beaches complex (~2000-1000BP) to Little Passage complex (~1000 BP-European contact) was the precontact ancestors of the Beothuk. Third, I think the site is beautiful with several visible Beothuk housepits and a nice view from the terrace it sits on looking out over the water. Finally, the site is now part of a Provincial Historic Site called the Beothuk Interpretation Centre and it has a knowledgeable and super friendly staff.

      Boyd's Cove is on the terrace on the right of the photo.

      Boyd’s Cove is on the terrace on the right of the photo.

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

  • A few discoveries stick out in my mind. I still recall finding my first artifact. We were shovel testing a site on the west coast of Newfoundland near Cox’s Cove. We didn’t know for sure at the time but the site had Groswater and Dorset Palaeoeskimo components and a Beothuk component. I can still recall turning over the shovel full of dirt and seeing the chocolate brown coloured artifact. If I remember correctly the artifact was part of a scraper, I was so excited because I found my first artifact and, more importantly, I knew enough to recognize it!
  • I think one of the most interesting artifacts I ever found was on the same site. We had been excavating a Groswater house pit and I had been finding a lot of seal bone. One of the small pieces of bone I pulled out of the ground turned out to be a bone sewing needle, or at least part of a needle.

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

  • Volunteer and get involved. I volunteered at the former Newfoundland Museum on Duckworth Street and the experience was invaluable. While I was never involved in things like MUNArch or the NLAS, looking back on it now it is one of the things I regret. Volunteering in these organizations is a foot in the door with people you may be working with in the future.

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