Monday, April 8, 2013

Moving towards a Newfoundland and Labrador Archaeological Society

Baby steps, baby steps...
A few weeks ago I came back from Alberta, where I was working with the Archaeological Society of Alberta (ASA) and talking with several of the archaeologists in that province about their experience volunteering with the ASA.  Back in St. John's, I found that a lot of archaeologists here have also wondered why we don't have a society in this province that bridges the professional side of the discipline with interested members of the public.  It seems like we are missing out on opportunities to foster public interest in archaeology and build connections between the public and professionals that would benefit everyone.

Steve. Always digging up
something interesting.
At the end of March, I posed the question on this blog "Should Newfoundland and Labrador have an Archaeological Society?".  Steve Hull helped spread the word and we asked other archaeologists and the public for feedback through this blog, Facebook, e-mails and other conversations.  The feedback that we got was overwhelmingly supportive, both within the province and from archaeologists across the country who would love to build links with an organized Newfoundland and Labrador Archaeological Society.  A large percentage of the people who supported the idea offered to volunteer their time as well and this past Saturday, we had our first face-to-face meeting to brainstorm for ideas and begin plotting a course for setting up the society.  We had a wide cross-section of the local archaeological community turn out ranging from MUN faculty and students, provincial government archaeologists, the private sector, consultants, collections managers, as well as policy planners.  There were people at the table with experience throughout the province, including Labrador, as well as those with national and international backgrounds.

We don't want to duplicate what is already being done, but
we could co-operate with and help community organizations.
In total, there were sixteen of us at the meeting to discuss the potential role that an archaeological society could fill in this province.  We quickly agreed that we were all interested in donating our time and experience to helping establish an organization that would be open to professional archaeologists, students, and the public.  We want a society that anyone with an interest in archaeology in Newfoundland and Labrador would feel welcome to join and where being a member would be a fun experience.  We scheduled another meeting in a month's time and will be using e-mail and Facebook to continue the discussion and share ideas.  Between now and the next meeting, we'll be gathering information on potential funding sources, membership structures, and the nuts and bolts of incorporating a society as well as drafting a mission statement and settling on a name for the society.  Our first goal is to draft a plan that outlines a set of reasonable steps for moving forward over the coming months and years.

Killer Whale Effigy at The Rooms
If you have ideas, time, or energy to commit to helping get this off the ground please get in touch.  The shape of this society will be determined by the volunteers who come forward now and by the members that we recruit down the road.  If you have an opinion, let us know.  You can e-mail me at:

Photo Credits: Tim Rast


  1. This is a fantastic idea! It would be great to have an archaeological society for the province.

  2. I agree an archaeology society is an awesome idea!


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