Each year the Canadian Archaeological Association (CAA) recognizes the importance of public journalism, institutions, and social media in disseminating and promoting Canadian archaeology. Outstanding efforts are recognized in the following categories: Writer/Producer, Professional/Institutional, and Social Media.
Since 1985, the CAA has presented annual awards to acknowledge outstanding contributions in communication that further insight and appreciation of Canadian Archaeology. These awards recognise contributions by journalists, film producers, professional archaeologists and institutions and are adjudicated by a committee composed of a regional representation of CAA members.
In 2013, entries for this blog won the the Public Communications Award for 2012. At that time, the CAA wrote, “These blog posts offer significant insight into aspects of Canadian archaeology that have often been overlooked or underrepresented. His posts were written to make the information readily accessible to both the general public and archaeologists. The blog site is well organized and full of wonderful information concerning current and past archaeology in Newfoundland and Labrador, including much revisited material that has been forgotten even by local archaeologists! The site currently boasts over 30,000 hits!”
Saturday night at the virtual 53rd Annual Meeting of the CAA their Communications Award Committee recommended that the Provincial Archaeology Office (PAO) be awarded this year’s Professional / Institutional Public Communications Award for the Inside Newfoundland & Labrador Archaeology blog, PAO Review, and PAO Facebook Page.
From the CAA nomination form: This suite of publicly accessible materials represents significant efforts by the staff of the PAO and serves to communicate regional archaeology news in a digestible and unintimidating manner. One committee member described the submitted blog posts “like sitting in on a good archaeology society lecture: a tad conversational, and it gives one insight into the thought processes of the researchers.” In general, the blog and Facebook posts have good uptake among the general public and quite a bit of engagement. The blog posts/mini-essays are popular, engaging, relevant, well-researched, and timely (e.g., “International Dog Day and Archaeology”), and contributions appear regularly. Though many of the Facebook posts are relatively simple, they are practical and highly accessible. Finally, the PAO review is lavishly illustrated and professionally formatted. The review is made available to and read by the general public, but archaeologists frequently cite contributions in top academic journals.
While all of this took place during a virtual meeting, we were able to respond to the award with a brief acceptance speech that was given by the Provincial Archaeologist Jamie Brake:
On behalf of my team in the Archaeology Office in the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador, I would like to extend our collective thank you to the Canadian Archaeological Association and the Awards Committee for the recognition of our work in this year’s Professional / Institutional award category.
The blog, which began in 2012, was the initiative of Stephen Hull, who is also past recipient of this award. Since its inception, Inside Archaeology of Newfoundland and Labrador has published 134 articles and has received 226,439 views by the end of April 2021 and 796 comments from both the public and academics alike. As a means of public engagement, the blog was originally intended to highlight little known stories in archaeology that have for years been tucked away in our files. As a resource, we have even found ourselves referring back to these posts as a quick reference when issues are revisited.
Jane and Callum Thomson’s Archaeology in Newfoundland and Labrador Annual Report Series, originally published in 1980, inspired our Annual Archaeology Review, which is now in its 20th year. We are pleased that our annual volume has grown from a simple two-page newsletter in 2002 to become a document that now averages nearly 250 pages per year with dozens of contributors, from Newfoundland and Labrador, the other Atlantic Provinces, Quebec and the United States. As a resource, we are also pleased that this series is widely referenced and continues to be of interest and utility. Along with our Facebook page, these initiatives have become an important part of our regular work that supports part of our mandate to reach out to the broader community through public education. Again, thank you for this award and recognition.
Similar to what we said in 2013, thank you to the Canadian Archaeological Association and the people who nominated our efforts. In addition, thank-you to the readers of the Inside Newfoundland & Labrador Archaeology blog, PAO Review, and PAO Facebook Page.