The Province has had several amateur archaeological societies over the years, the longest-lived was the Newfoundland Marine Archaeology Society (NMAS) which began in 1972 and lasted until the mid to late 1980s. They discovered or excavated several wrecks, including several important ones in Trinity, Bay Bulls and Conche. There was also the Newfoundland and Labrador Association of Amateur Archaeologists (NLA3) which was founded in January 1983 but there is no reference to them beyond 1987. Despite not being around for very long, they had guidelines and a formal constitution. They also held regular lectures, started a site watch program, led tours to sites, held seminars and archaeology movie night, issued newsletters, wrote reports for the Archaeology in Newfoundland and Labrador series (1983, 1984, 1986) and created and distributed fact sheets about the Beothuk and Mi’kmaq. Does anyone have any more information about this organization?
More recently another marine archaeology society formed and currently operates as the Shipwreck Preservation Society of Newfoundland & Labrador (SPSNL). They have done a lot to promote the protection of shipwrecks in Newfoundland and Labrador. One of their big projects was done in Conception Harbour where they dove on, researched and identified the abandoned whalers that are on the beach in the community.
The newest archaeological society formed in 2013 is the Newfoundland and Labrador Archaeological Society (NLAS). I have been involved with the NLAS in one form or another since its inception, and currently sit as a board member on its communication committee. The NLAS is an organization for professionals and the public to meet, embrace archaeology in Newfoundland and Labrador, and share ideas for the future. In an effort to do that the NLAS has developed a three-year Activity Plan, written a constitution and have since reached out to the professional and amateur archaeological communities through public lectures, field trips, workshops and through social media. Currently, the NLAS has a web presence through our website and Facebook page. Since its inception in 2013 the NLAS has been involved in a number of activities, for example:
- We participated in International Archaeology Day at the Rooms along with the Memorial University Archaeology Department, the Shipwreck Preservation Society of Newfoundland and Labrador and the Provincial Archaeology Office. We will be participating in International Archaeology Day at The Rooms again this year on October 17th.
- We held a skills workshop in conjunction with the Provincial Archaeology Office entitled “How to Report an Archaeology Site”. We also have another skills work shop coming up entitled “How to Apply for Grad School”.
- We have held public lectures throughout the province on diverse archaeology topics such as the MUN Field school at Admiralty Station in Mount Pearl, Archaeology in Sheshatshiu, Archaeology at Stock Cove, French Settlement in Placentia Bay before 1720 and Prehistoric Art in Europe: A History of Paleolithic Images. All of these lectures have been recorded and are available to anyone on the NLAS YouTube page.
- We have also initiated a program called Community Collections Archaeology Research Project (CCARP). This is an initiative of the NLAS that seeks to bring privately held archaeological collections in the Province out of shoeboxes, closets, and basements and showcase them for everyone in the Province to learn from and enjoy. If you have a collection that you would like to share and have recorded, or if you have any further questions, please contact the NLAS: firstname.lastname@example.org
- On August 22, 2015, the NLAS organized our first field trip. We traveled to Hant’s Harbour to view the substantial European stone features near the community. To find out more about the trip, including seeing our report, you can go to the NLAS webpage.
- The NLAS has a special event coming up in November which will be open to the public. After this event we will hold our AGM and elect a new Board of Directors. If you would like to get involved with the NLAS we have positions on the Executive Committee and Board of Directors that we are looking to fill for the next year. You can contact them directly at email@example.com.