Palaeoecology, Environmental Archaeology and Timescales Laboratory

PEAT laboratory logo

The Palaeoecology, Environmental Archaeology and Timescales (PEAT) Laboratory (in QC 1000) is equipped with a variety of resources for both teaching and research involving the analysis of insect and plant remains associated with archaeological sites (archaeoentomology, palynology and plant macrofossil analyses). The laboratory’s main research focus is in examining long-term interactions between circumpolar foraging, fishing and farming communities through the analysis of ecofacts preserved in peat and archaeological sites. 

  • Dr. Véronique Forbes: archaeo/palaeoentomology, environmental archaeology. Email: vforbes[@]

  • Dr. Paul Ledger: palynology, Bayesian modeling of radiocarbon chronologies. Email: pledger[@]

You can follow our research and adventures on the PEAT Lab YouTube channel and our Twitter account.

PEAT laboratory and insect collection
Current projects
  • Biocultural and archaeological legacies at L'Anse aux Meadows: This project seeks to reinvigorate archaeological research at L'Anse aux Meadows (LAM) through an examination of chronological legacy data, renewed radiocarbon dating, open area excavation and fine-grained environmental analysis of cultural horizon(s) recently identified in a peat bog adjacent to the Norse ruins at the site. The objectives are, broadly, to examine the roles played by the different people who lived in the area – from Indigenous foragers to European explorers, fishers and planters – in shaping the local landscape and biodiversity from c. 2000 years ago to the present-day. This project is funded through an SSHRC Insight Grant to V. Forbes and P. Ledger.
  • Analysis of insect remains and plant microfossils (pollen and associated proxies) as part of the NABO international cross-disciplinary collaborative project Co-production of scientific knowledge and the building of local archaeological capacity in Greenland. This project is funded through a US National Science Foundation grant to Tom H. McGovern (CUNY), Ian A. Simpson (Stirling), Jette Arneborg (National Museum of Denmark), Konrad Smiarsowski (CUNY) and Christian K. Madsen (National Museum of Denmark). 
  • Analysis of insect remains as part of the Nunalleq Archaeological Project. V. Forbes' involvement in this project begun as an AHRC postdoctoral fellowship (2013-2016) at the University of Aberdeen, followed by a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Postdoctoral Fellowship at the Université de Bordeaux (2016-2017). She is still collaborating with colleagues from the University of Aberdeen and Qanirtuuq inc., as well as Dr. Jean-Bernard Huchet, in the ongoing analysis of insect remains from this unique, permafrost-preserved site. 
L'Anse aux Meadows' archaeology camp
Equipments and Facilities 

The PEAT lab offers ample bench space, a large stainless steel sink equipped with a sediment trap as well as several low and high-powered microscopes for palynological, archaeoentomological and plant macrofossil analyses. We also host a small reference collection of insects from Newfoundland, Alaska and Iceland, in addition to a seed and plant remains collection from this province and other Maritime provinces of Canada, the latter which were donated by Dr. Mike Deal.

Graduate Students
  • Zoe Helleiner, PhD Student. (Supervised by Paul Ledger and Peter Whitridge)
  • Elsa Simms, PhD Student. Public archaeology and community understanding of the archaeological site at L'Anse aux Meadows. (Supervised by Véronique Forbes).
  • Pier-Ann Milliard, PhD Student. Archaeoentomological perspectives on the human and natural history of Newfoundland. (Supervised by Véronique Forbes).
  • Dominique Chafouleas, MA Student. Palaeoenvironmental change at fishing rooms of the Petit Nord. (Supervised by Paul Ledger).
  • Kassandra Drake, MA Student. Environmental archaeology and Little St Lawrence. (Supervised by Paul Ledger and Catherine Losier).
  • Sedona Kolmer, MA Student. Re-imagining Vinland in the Strait of Belle Isle through an examination of historical-era farming (Supervised by Paul Ledger).
  • Alex Cull, MA Student. Bengt Schönbäck and the Saga of L'Anse aux Meadows (Supervised by Paul Ledger).
  • Carlos Enrique Salazar Guerra, MA Student, Testing whether High-Resolution Archaeoentomology is Worthwhile: A Case Study Using Peat Samples Collected at L’Anse aux Meadows, Newfoundland. (Supervised by Véronique Forbes).
  • Bryan Branton, BA Honours Essay Student. (Supervised by Véronique Forbes).
Honours Students
Visiting researchers
  • Camille Mayeux, PhD Candidate, Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (February 2020 & May-September 2022)
  • Thiéfaine Terrier, MA Student, Université Laval (September 2019)

Masters Dissertations

  • Jeffrey Baird (2024) A palynological view of selected Norse-era cultural landscapes and subsistence strategies in Greenland
  • Juliet Lanphear (2023) Visualizing Scandinavian stories: an exploration of the history of Scandinavian involvement in archaeological research at L’Anse aux Meadows
  • Pier-Ann Milliard (2023) A beetle-based palaeoecological reconstruction of human-environment interactions at Kivalekh, Northern Labrador
  • Jeffrey Speller (2022) A palaeoecological and archaeological analysis of plant macrofossils from monolith 4A800B3-6 at L’Anse aux Meadows, Newfoundland.
  • Ivan Carlson (2022) The genesis of Labrador's Indigenous landscapes: a review of research approaches and current knowledge

Honours Essays

  • Kelsey Strickland (2024) Understanding the formation of the ‘Sphagnum bog’ at L’Anse aux Meadows through an examination of sample 4A804B10-74
  • Molly Ingenmey (2022) Palaeoenvironmental signatures of Inuit settlement at Kivalekh, Labrador.
  • Jared Hogan (2021) The perception and understanding of archaeology in St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador: a pilot study. Honours Essay.
  • Juliet Lanphear (2020) History, Archaeology and Palaeoecology of the Icelandic Plagues: A Review. Honours Essay.
Research Grants

2020 – 2025: SSHRC Insight Grant. Biocultural and Archaeological Legacies at L’Anse aux Meadows. PI: V. Forbes, Co-I: P. Ledger, Collaborators: B. Wallace (Parks Canada Emerita), L. Girdland-Flink (University of Aberdeen), C. Arsenault (Visual artist), A. Friðriksson (Fornleifastofnun Íslands), G. Guðmundsson (Fornleifastofnun Íslands), S. Lewis-Simpson (MUN), T. Birch (Aarhus University), M. Burchell (MUN), C. Dupont-Hébert (Université Laval), K. Milek (Durham University), D. E. Mooney (University of Stavanger). Value: $302,165.

2019 – 2022: NSF Arctic Social Sciences Program. Co-production of scientific knowledge and the building of local archaeological capacity in Greenland. PI: T. McGovern (CUNY), Co-Is: I. Simpson (University of Stirling), J. Arneborg (National Museum of Denmark), K.  Smiarowski (CUNY), C. K. Madsen (Greenland National Museum). Subrecipient: V. Forbes, value of subaward to MUN:  $36,000 (USD).

2019 – 2020: J.R. Smallwood Research Grant. Vinland Revisited: New Horizons at L’Anse aux Meadows. PI: V. Forbes, Collaborators: P. Ledger, L. Girdland-Flink (Liverpool John Moores University), D.E. Mooney (University of Stavanger), value: $5,000.

2019 – 2020: Memorial University of Newfoundland, SSHRC Explore Grant.  Vinland Revisited: New Horizons and Novel Approaches at L’Anse aux Meadows. PI: V. Forbes, Co-I: P. Ledger, value: $6,364.90.

Student Scholarships and Research Funding
  • 2021: ISER Research Grant. J. Lanphear, value: $4289
  • 2021: Michael Smith Foreign Study Supplement. J. Lanphear, value $5,500
  • 2021-2022: Canada Graduate Scholarships – Master’s Program. P. Milliard, value $17,500
  • 2021-2022: Canada Graduate Scholarships – Master’s Program. J. Lanphear, value $17,500
  • 2020: ISER Research Grant. J. Speller, value: $8000
  • 2020: Michael Smith Foreign Study Supplement. J. Speller, value: $6,000
  • 2019-2020: Canada Graduate Scholarships – Master’s Program. J. Speller, value $17,500
  • 2019: PAO Archaeological Research Grant. I. Carlson, value: $4316
  • 2019: ISER Research Grant. I. Carlson, value: $7000
  • 2019: J.R. Smallwood Research Grant. I. Carlson, value: $5000