When I started my undergraduate degree at Memorial University of Newfoundland my major and minor were Geography and History, a few years into that degree I found Anthropology/Archaeology; with that, I found where I was meant to be. One of the first Anthropology courses I did was with Dr. Ralph Pastore. I believe it was called New World Prehistory. I remember being in class and furiously scribbling down notes as this person just went on and on about site after site and culture after culture seemingly never to look at his lecture notes and always providing a huge amount of detail. I was mesmerized at his ability to lecture. As I continued with my degree, I was able to take a few more courses with Ralph. His lectures, at least to me, were always fascinating. I was able to get to know him a little as an undergraduate student, but I didn’t really get to know him until I became a Graduate student. I did several Grad level courses with him. When it came time for me to decide on a thesis topic, I knew I wanted him as a supervisor. Ralph was an excellent supervisor, his door was always open and he was always helpful. Looking back on it now, he treated me like a colleague more than a student. Of course there were days, as a supervisor, he drove me nuts, as any good supervisor should. I am sure he would have said the same of me. Looking back on it now, I realize that he wanted me to succeed as a student and an archaeologist. Ralph passed away before I completed my thesis. I hope he would have been pleased with the final product. I know I am pleased with the influence he had on my career and me.
Based on the data I have access to, there were just nine recorded archaeology sites in the Notre Dame Bay area before Ralph started his work in the area in 1979. By the end of the 1981 field season Ralph had located at least 25 new archaeology sites that were on the east or west side of Notre Dame Bay and along the Gander River. His sites ranged from single artifact finds to large sites such as Boyd’s Cove and Inspector Island. Those two sites turned out to be extremely influential on our understanding of Newfoundland’s historic and precontact aboriginal population.
According to the Archaeology Reference List at the Provincial Archaeology Office Ralph authored at least 30 unpublished reports and several published articles. Several of his published articles are more than 20 years old now but are still considered the starting point for anyone trying to better understand the Beothuk culture including:
- 1987 Fishermen, Furriers, and Beothuks: The Economy of Extinction. Man in the Northeast, 33:47-62.
- 1989 The Collapse of the Beothuk World. Acadiensis. XIX(1): 52-71.
- 1993 Archaeology, History, and the Beothuks. Newfoundland Studies 9(2)
And his book:
- 1992 Shanawdithit’s People. Atlantic Archaeology, St. John’s.
Ralph’s work has had and continues to have a lasting impact on Newfoundland and Labrador archaeology and history. With all of this in mind, I take great pleasure in helping to announce a scholarship for graduate students conducting archaeological research in Newfoundland-Labrador on behalf of Amina Anthropological Resources Association. The Pioneers Scholarship Fund will honour the late Dr. Ralph Pastore with the AARA 2013 Pioneers Scholarship. Eligibility criteria for the scholarship can be found here. I know Ralph would have been both honoured and humbled by this scholarship.