Outport Archaeology: Community Archaeology in Newfoundland
Revision 3, May 25, 2004
Peter E. Pope and Stephen F. Mills
(Archaeology Unit, Memorial University of Newfoundland)
1. Community Archaeology
Archaeologists are giving increased attention to the social context of their research, often in a self-conscious effort to involve non-specialists in their work. The papers submitted to a recent special issue of World Archaeology suggest that Australasian archaeologists have been among the first to reflect seriously on the public context of archaeology (Marshall 2002). Canadian archaeologists are also experimenting with a more community-oriented archaeology, particularly in the Arctic, where indigenous stake-holders have forced researchers to reappraise conventional approaches (Lea and Smardz 2000, Rowley 2002). In Canada's easternmost province of Newfoundland and Labrador (Figures 1 and 2), the situation is more complex. In our north, that is to say Labrador, the key issue is very much the ownership of the archaeological heritage, as elsewhere in arctic Canada. On the island of Newfoundland itself, community interest in archaeology is driven, to a great extent, by hopes of economic diversification. Several years ago, Memorial University's Archaeology Unit set up the Newfoundland Archaeological Heritage Outreach Program (NAHOP) in response to burgeoning community interest. This article reports our experience and suggests that the concept of "community archaeology" can be more broadly applied than it has been.
From the Newfoundland point of view, one of most important articles in the World Archaeology survey volume is a discussion of a project in the ancient port of Quseir, Egypt, which sets forth seven key aspects of community archaeology (Moser et al. 2002: 229-242):
In what follows, we will take these commendable principles as identifying characteristics of community archaeology. We leave open the difficult question of whether "collaboration" merely implies informed consent or whether community archaeology requires a stricter standard for the negotiation of research aims (Greer, Harrison and McIntyre-Tamwoy 2002).
If we consider the situations in which archaeologists actually apply such principles, it turns out that "community archaeology" is less extensive in practice than our abstract and neutral terminology might suggest. Most reported community archaeology projects involve post-colonial situations in which researchers of European descent are involved with indigenous communities or others, often people "of color," historically disenfranchised by the expansion of Europe. This is, for example, the social context of research in the Canadian Arctic and of work done on Black Loyalist sites in Nova Scotia (Friesen 2002, Niven 1994). Such ethnic interaction is certainly part of community archaeology in Newfoundland and Labrador, especially when academic archaeologists work in Labrador, the northern, sparsely-populated, continental part of the province. The work that Stephen Loring is doing on behalf of the Smithsonian Institution, in cooperation with Inuit and Innu (Montagnais) communities, is a fine example of community archaeology in this narrower sense (Loring 1998, Loring and Ashini 2000, Buckley and Hollingshurst 2003).
The community archaeology approach is very much that mandated by the Canadian Archaeological Association (CAA), for dealing with Aboriginal sites (CAA 2003). This statement of principles calls for archaeologists to recognize the cultural and spiritual links between Aboriginal peoples and the archaeological record, including particularly human remains, special places and landscape features. Archaeologists are expected to respect the role of indigenous communities in management and interpretation of their heritage. Practically speaking this means archaeologists should:
There is an obvious overlap between the principles proposed by CAA for the investigation of Aboriginal sites in Canada and those principles we have taken to characterize community archaeology world-wide. These similarities are predictable, given that both sets of recommendations are essentially guidelines for professional behavior in the post-colonial context.
2. The Situation on the Island of Newfoundland
On the island of Newfoundland the situation is different. Here academic and contract archaeologists are working with projects sponsored by small-town community groups (Pope 2000, Buckley and Gill 2000, Mills 2002, Mills 2003a, 2003b). The interactions between professional archaeologists, on the one hand, and the volunteers who typically make up local heritage committees are fraught with social and economic tensions but they are not, typically, inter-ethnic. Community archaeology in this somewhat wider sense has been going on in Newfoundland for some time, notably at Ferryland and Cupids (Canning and Pitt et al. 1995, Tuck 1996, Gilbert 2000, Gilbert 2003). Following the collapse of cod stocks in the early 1990s and the subsequent moratorium on the cod fishery, federal/provincial funding was available for regional economic development. Small communities could find government funding to hire fishers and plant workers to work on archaeological projects. There are now several projects in Newfoundland that meet most of our criteria for community archaeology, not only at Cupids (Baccalieu Trail) and Ferryland (Colony of Avalon) but also at Fleur de Lys, and Placentia (Figure 1). Incipient or intermittent research that meets at least some of our criteria has also been carried out at Bird Cove, Burnside, Fermeuse, Port au Choix, Red Bay, Renews, and St. John's. In the last few years the Newfoundland Archaeological Heritage Outreach Program has helped to facilitate community archaeology in the province.
3. The Newfoundland Archaeological Heritage Outreach Program (NAHOP)
NAHOP itself does not sponsor archaeological projects, but rather assists projects sponsored by local community heritage groups. Although local sponsorship of archaeological research is an unusual model in North America, economic and political realities in Newfoundland and Labrador mean that archaeology is often driven by the social and economic interests of local communities, as much as by university research agendas or governmental cultural resource management considerations. This follows the collapse of northern cod stocks in the early 1990s and the imposition, in 1992, of a moratorium on fishing cod. With no forseeable end either to the cod moratorium or to the continuing decline of Newfoundland's rural communties, archaeology here continues to be invested with hopes that go beyond purely academic or purely management considerations (Buckley and Gill 2000). Communities grasp at any initiative that might aid economic survival. Meanwhile, as a traditional way of life disappears, people become more self-conscious about their own heritage and, to some degree, conscious of the cultural and social value of heritage, as a kind of rudder in a storm of rapid change. NAHOP is a positive response to this situation — designed to assist local projects with university expertise and to observe this new style of constructing the past.
Our program emerged in 1999, when Memorial University's Archaeology Unit responded to a national competition designed by the Social Science and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), one of Canada's three national academic funding agencies. SSHRC had in mind a new kind of research program, the Community-University Research Alliance (CURA). This funding opportunity seemed tailor-made for archaeology in Newfoundland. Our initial CURA partners were the provincial Culture and Heritage Division, the Newfoundland Museum, and the Newfoundland Historical Society. As of June 2004, 36 community heritage groups from across the province were registered with the Outreach Program. Over the last few years, some of NAHOP's client community groups have taken on key roles in our CURA. When invited by SSHRC to devise a completion strategy for the final two years of funding possible under CURA funding, we proposed an evolution of NAHOP to comprise six regional organizations, plus our key provincial partner, the Culture and Heritage Division. The regional organizations include five of the strongest community groups: Baccalieu Trail Heritage Corporation (which manages Cupids among other sites), the Colony of Avalon Foundation (Ferryland), the Placentia Area Historical Society, the Dorset Eskimo Quarry Committee (Fleur-de-Lys) and the Petit Nord Cultural and Natural Heritage Society (St. Anthony and area). Bringing Memorial University's Labrador Institute into the CURA seemed the best way to maintain contact with the widely-dispersed projects in that part of the province. A seven-member consultative board, consisting of a representative of each agency plus the director, evaluates policies, within the framework for the completion phase approved by SSHRC. Peter Pope is the Director of NAHOP and Steve Mills is our Coordinator.
The community organizations and archaeologists involved in the Outreach Program have their own specific research aims. We help these projects by providing access to information about archaeological artifacts and cultures, conservation, and site interpretation — but the keystone of our outreach is work placement of Memorial University archaeology students in field, lab, and exhibit situations. We also have our own research agenda, to record and assess the model of community-based archaeological site development that is emerging in Newfoundland and Labrador, through a multi-disciplinary approach incorporating sociological and folklore studies. We hope to better understand the factors that drive the development of sites and of the various ways communities construct their past; we are engaged, that is, in meta-archaeology as well as in archaeology. NAHOP was initially designed, in 1999, to encourage and support best practices in archaeological research, in a transient economic context in which research initiatives were burgeoning. By 2004, as the tragedy of the fishery unfolds and as federal and provincial policies shift, community archaeology projects in the province are in decline, as accessible funding opportunities decrease. An important part of NAHOP's work, at this point, is to help our community partners plan for the unpleasant bump that will accompany the end of our program, in 2005. There remains plenty of work to do.
4. Program Activities
a. Student Fellowships, Assistantships and Internships
From its inception, the Outreach Program offered different kinds of support to community-sponsored projects with very different track records. Some projects were already well-established. Ferryland's seventeenth-century Colony of Avalon and the prehistoric research at the National Historic Park at Port au Choix, each directed by a senior member of Memorial University's Archaeology Unit, are long-standing projects under way since the early 1980s (Tuck 1996, Renouf 2002, Buckley, Pope and Hollingshurst 2002). NAHOP could best assist projects with such established academic links by offering fellowship support for graduate students. One such fellowship sponsored an intra-site study of remote sensing at a Dorset Paleoeskimo site near Port au Choix (Eastaugh 2002). Another M.A. student delved into the seventeenth-century English West Country pottery trade by examining Somerset and Dorset ceramics excavated at Ferryland (Temple 2004a). Graduate students working on community-sponsored projects continue to receive full or "top-up" fellowship support.
The Outreach Program awarded another fellowship in 2002 to a student in Memorial's Folklore department to conduct a study in the community of Placentia. The area was settled in the 1660s by the French, who were then forced to leave under the terms of the Treaty of Utrecht of 1713. Today's residents trace their ancestry to the English and Irish settlers who displaced the French. This study will examine the relationship between official representations of Placentia's heritage by federal, provincial and municipal governments, which often celebrate broad themes related to the French period, and the community's understanding of its past, which often emphasizes more recent events (Carroll 2002). NAHOP also assisted the Placentia Historical Society in their efforts to develop a community-sponsored archaeological project, which since 2001 has been investigating the early French Basque Vieux Fort and some eighteenth-century English features (Crompton 2003). The principal investigator was recently accepted into Memorial's new doctoral program in archaeology, with another NAHOP fellowship.
The outreach program aids community projects largely by hiring students to work for them. Student assistantships are, by far, our single largest budget item. Between 2000 and 2004, over 150 positions were funded for graduate and undergraduate students, to work on 22 community-sponsored archaeological projects throughout the province. (NAHOP does not provide assistance to contract archaeologists managing CRM projects.) As required by provincial regulations, the community-sponsored projects were directed by professional archaeologists and conservators, who are able to give Memorial's archaeology students further training in field and laboratory techniques. During the field season, between June and September, NAHOP-sponsored students improve their survey and excavations techniques, while others work in field labs, processing artifacts and practicing their field conservation techniques. Sites range from 4000-year-old Maritime Archaic Indian encampments to eighteenth-century taverns that once served migratory European fishermen.
Student assistantships are very important to community projects, as Memorial students complement local field crews. NAHOP support has sometimes been instrumental in the genesis of new projects and often in sustaining less well-established local initiatives. Smaller community projects usually rely on government grants to hire local workers, displaced from traditional jobs in the fishery. These employees are usually not archaeologists, since such these grants tend to exclude people from outside the area and, paradoxically, often impose conditions that restrict the employment of those who already have qualifications in the heritage sector. (These restrictions are part of a "labor market development" problem that NAHOP is trying to address.) Meanwhile, Memorial students bring with them some archaeological experience, even if simply classroom training or, at best, a field course. For some of the smaller community-sponsored projects, for example Placentia and Fleur-de-Lys, NAHOP students became a nucleus for the field crew, who could help investigators train other employees with no archaeological experience. The Outreach Program tries to assign students from particular regions to projects in their home area, but this has not been possible as often as we would like.
During the academic year, from September to April, NAHOP hires Memorial archaeology students for part-time work conserving, cataloguing and analyzing artifacts. Students thus have a chance to further develop their skills, which they can bring back, in turn, to community projects. These students work with faculty and staff researching material from the community-sponsored projects. Several former NAHOP-funded student research assistants have gone on to related post-graduate programs. For example, four former NAHOP students, who worked with Memorial's archaeological conservator Cathy Mathias, were recently accepted into the Archaeological Conservation Program at Sir Sanford Fleming College in Peterborough, Ontario.
In addition to sponsoring student assistantships, NAHOP has an internship program which has allowed recent graduates to develop their professional experience. Six internships, of about twenty weeks duration enabled graduates with a B.A., M.A., M.Litt or a diploma in information technology to work on artifact studies, museum exhibits, publications, and video projects. A panel exhibit, prepared for the Port aux Basques Museum, explained a Dorset Paleoeskimo encampment at Cape Ray, a breath-taking point of land near the town, on the southwest corner of Newfoundland. A second panel exhibit, prepared for the Bird Cove Interpretation Centre, used maps and photographs to explain the achievements of Captain James Cook, the celebrated English naval officer whose cartographic career began in the 1760s and 70s, making maps of Newfoundland and the Strait of Belle Isle. Another intern prepared an exhibit of seventeenth-century finds for the interpretation centre at Cupids (a Baccalieu Trail Corporation project). A fourth laid the groundwork for a future exhibit on ceramics in Newfoundland and Labrador over the last thousand years. (Seventeenth-century sites on the Avalon Peninsula have produced an impressive array of ceramics from Europe, New England, Asia and even Africa.) Another intern used our GIS system to georeference historic maps and military plans against modern base-data for the Placentia area, with the aim of pin-pointing possible archaeological sites throughout the town, in particular the various military features in the Placentia area (Temple 2004b).
In the past several years NAHOP has also sponsored a more academically-oriented kind of internship, in the form of postdoctoral fellowships. In 2003 Lisa Hodgetts completed a post-doctoral study of thousands of faunal specimens from seventeenth-century domestic deposits at Ferryland, and was able to show that the early English colonists there had a surprisingly varied diet (Hodgetts 2003). She is currently refining her research for publication. Her project created a permanent faunal reference collection for Memorial, with research benefits for archaeology in other Newfoundland regions as well. In 2003/4 John Erwin examined Palaeoeskimo soapstone vessels in Newfoundland and Labrador. His analysis of vessel styles and functions was designed to test the hypothesis that Dorset Eskimo use of soapstone vessels transcended functional requirements for the production of heat and light. Their adaptive use of soapstone over millenia, despite functional alternatives, strongly suggests that it carried social and cultural meanings for the Dorset people (Erwin 2004).
One of the major goals of the Outreach Program is dissemination of regional archaeological research, both outside the province and within it, to the community heritage groups who are working to establish their own research projects. To this end, NAHOP has supported the publication of resource material in various formats as well as sponsoring face to face discussions. Memorial students involved with community-sponsored archaeological projects and other community archaeologists have travelled, with NAHOP support, to present papers at conferences and workshops in Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, Ontario and Rhode Island. For many, these were their first professional presentations. These trips gave our researchers the chance to meet archaeologists working on similar sites in North America and Europe, while at the same time helping to place Newfoundland and Labrador's community projects on the map, for the professional archaeological community. (We trust, too, that by featuring some of the most interesting archaeology being conducted at Memorial, these conference presentations will have long term benefits for the university's archaeology program.)
From the outset we earmarked part of our budget to sponsor workshops. NAHOP itself has organized two to date. The first, "Working in Archaeology" brought community heritage volunteers and principal investigators together with archaeology students and the representatives of government funding agencies to discuss employment issues. Participants agreed that the problems currently surrounding labor market development in the heritage sector arise from the heavy reliance of community heritage projects on funding programs designed for other sectors. A second workshop on "Outport Archaeology" was an opportunity for principal investigators to present results of community-sponsored projects. We plan a final workshop to discuss the challenges that will arise as government policies shift and as NAHOP winds down.
The Outreach Program has also assisted another series of workshops, which grew out of a conference in 2000 organized by community organizations in La Scie, Baie Verte, and Fleur-de-Lys on the Baie Verte Peninsula, to promote the history of Newfoundland's long-forgotten French Shore. From about 1504, Breton, Basque and Norman fishers exploited Newfoundland's rich fishing grounds and maintained fishing stations until France relinquished its fishing rights in 1904, retaining only an off-shore banks fishery based at St Pierre and Miquelon, off our south coast. By sponsoring conference attendance, NAHOP was able to bring heritage groups from various parts of the province together to form a French Shores Working Group, to promote research on the history of the French in Newfoundland. Our timing was good, as this interest dovetails into a larger Canadian celebration of the three-hundredth anniversary of the founding of Acadia, in 2004. Local groups organized follow-up conferences, at Placentia in 2001, at St. Anthony in 2003 and in Baie Verte again in 2004. The Outreach Program supported these with travel funding for community representatives and speakers. The communities involved with the French Shores Working Group have succeeded in generating a renewed interest in the French Shore among Newfoundland archivists, historians and archaeologists. Results are already evident at the Vieux Fort in Placentia. Meanwhile, M.A.P. Renouf and Peter Pope have begun survey work and testing for French materials at Port au Choix and on the Petit Nord, the old French fishing zone on the Atlantic side of the Great Northern Peninsula (Renouf, Wells, Pope and Pickavance, 2004). We are also supporting basic bibliographic research in the province as well as archival research on microfilmed colonial documents available in Canada and research in France on maps and plans of early fishing establishments (Ardley 2001, Hiller 2001, Pope 2003, Tompkins 2003).
Over the past three years, NAHOP has supported public dissemination of research. For local heritage groups trying to communicate local historic resources to educators and government officials, one of the most effective forms of publication has turned out to be "Heritage Resource Inventory" poster maps. These wall-sized color posters are based on archival research, oral tradition, and archaeological survey. Memorial archaeologist M.A.P. Renouf and geographer Trevor Bell developed these heritage inventory posters to summarize the results of their research on the coves and bays of the Great Northern Peninsula (Bell, Renouf and Pottle 2000 and 2001; Bell, Renouf, Hull and Crompton 2002). NAHOP hopes to develop similar poster inventories for the Petit Nord region, south of St. Anthony, for the Baccalieu Trail region, between Conception and Trinity Bays, and for the South Avalon region around Ferryland. One of Memorial's doctoral candidates is now using a student assistantship to assemble the base maps needed for a G.I.S. databases of the South Avalon and the Petit Nord. One of the challenges we have not quite solved is how to produce a smaller version of these large presentation-quality posters at a price low enough for general distribution.
In collaboration with the Heritage Outreach Project (an allied Memorial University project), NAHOP produced Heritage Outreach Guidelines for community groups interested in archaeological projects (Simms et al 2001). This instructional workbook explain archaeological resources, the role and responsibilities of archaeologists and conservators, and even offers suggestions on organizing a local heritage committee. The appendices include a glossary, provincial legislation and international charters dealing with the protection and management of archaeological heritage. Every heritage group registered with the Outreach Program is provided with one of these guides. Since the basic organizational principals of archaeology are similar almost everywhere, we have also been able to sell these guides at conferences.
NAHOP has produced four videos. The first, Outport Archaeology, is a touching profile of several rural communities involved in archaeological projects (Buckley and Gill 2000). This video highlights heart-felt local hopes that archaeological interpretation promote cultural tourism. Each of these "outports" has fascinating archaeological resources that could be developed to offer an economic boost in communities distressed by the moratorium on cod and the resulting outward migration that, in turn, threatens a centuries-old way of life. The video was aimed primarily at community heritage groups themselves, to help them understand some of the common problems facing projects across the province. It not only proved popular with its intended audience but also won a CAA award for public communication. Our second video, Working in Archaeology, was a brief synopsis of the NAHOP workshop on employment issues, prepared as a summary for government agencies (Buckley and O'Leary 2001). Our third video, Bound for Avalon, featured five archaeologists working on community-based research on early European settlement in Newfoundland (Buckley, Pope and Hollingshurst 2002). This video was intended as a popular summary of research and is currently being used in several interpretation centers. Our fourth video documents the involvement of Labrador Aboriginal communities in archaeological investigation of their heritage. It is intended to presenting best practices to students, community partners, and professional archaeologists. These videos were all joint productions with Memorial University's School of Continuing Education video unit DELT (Distance Education and Learning Technologies) and would not have been possible without substantial financial assistance from several provincial government departments.
Another dissemination project is the reproduction of theses and dissertations by Memorial students, in a series of seven thematic CDs, Studies in Newfoundland Archaeology, prepared by intern Jeannie Howse (Howse 2001-2003). An eighth CD volume, on Maritime Archaic Indians, the first inhabitants of our part of North America, will be finished in 2004. The theses, spanning some 8,500 years of Newfoundland and Labrador culture, are reproduced digitally in Adobe Acrobat format. These clear, accessible, user-friendly disks have been well-received at archaeological conferences in Canada and New England, where they have been sold at a prices which enables us to recover costs of reproduction.
NAHOP's latest dissemination strategy is publication of material culture identification guides in booklet format, aimed primarily at local researchers. The first guide explains the reworking of European metals by the Beothuk, the Aboriginal inhabitants of Newfoundland at the time of European contact c. 1500 (McLean 2003). Sadly, the last known Beothuk died in 1829 and these people are therefore best known from their archaeological remains. Laurie McLean's Guide to Identifying Beothuk Iron will be useful not only to those studying the Beothuk locally but also to researchers elsewhere, interested in the process of cultural contact. Our second material culture guide is John Wicks' Identifying Glass Bottles, a well-illustrated dating aid for European and North American bottles manufactured between 1650 and 1920 (Wicks 2003). NAHOP plans to publish a third booklet, Stone Tools from Newfoundland and Labrador in 2004 (Tuck n.d.) and we hope to prepare a similar guide to early modern ceramics excavated in Newfoundland. Like our videos and thesis CD volumes, these guides sell well at SHA and CHEHA conference bookrooms.
NAHOP has also helped support two journals produced by Memorial researchers. Avalon Chronicles, edited by Memorial archaeologists James Tuck and Barry Gaulton for the Colony of Avalon Foundation, is dedicated to the historical archaeology of Newfoundland and Labrador, in the context of eastern North America. Another Memorial archaeologist, Lisa Rankin, is preparing the inaugural volume of a second journal, North Atlantic Prehistory. Both journals feature the work of Memorial researchers and graduate students. NAHOP has also assisted the peer-reviewed journal Newfoundland Studies to publish two special issues on early modern Newfoundland.
c. Other Outreach Activities
The Outreach Program has furthered community archaeology in the province in a number of other ways. At a concrete level, NAHOP Coordinator Mills surveyed the eighteenth-century Moravian site of Hoffnungsthal for an Inuit heritage group in Makkovik, Labrador, and he has spent several field seasons researching an early modern site at Renews (Mills and Cary 2000, Mills 2003c). Program Director Pope has relied on NAHOP assistants and interns for his field work on the early St John's Waterfront and in the early settlements that surround Fermeuse Bay (Pope 2003, Pope n.d.). In the summer of 2004 the Quebec-Labrador Foundation and NAHOP will jointly assist the French Shore Historical Society in a survey of migratory French fishing stations near the communities of Conche and Croque. At a more general level, NAHOP's director and its coordinator contribute to the consultative role that Memorial University archaeologists have traditionally had with the provincial Culture and Heritage Division. Mills serves on the board of the Association of Heritage Industries, a provincial organization that helps develop cultural policy for Newfoundland and Labrador. Meanwhile, Pope is pursuing links with Irish researchers who have parallel interests in the archaeological construction of the past (Cooney 2003, Pope 2004).
With research leadership after 2005 in view, NAHOP's current completion phase emphasizes the development of cooperative regional expertise, research links with Memorial University that will facilitate on-going outreach, and a resolution of bureaucratic impediments to labor market development in the heritage sector. Memorial's Archaeology Unit has a long-term record of collaboration with community organizations in research and appropriate site development, dating back at least to James Tuck's research on a sixteenth-century Basque whaling station in Red Bay, Labrador, in the 1980s (Tuck and Grenier 1989). During NAHOP's completion phase we are working closely with community partners who have established links to Memorial and we hope to strengthen these links.
In the course of our outreach program, it has become apparent that community heritage projects that take a regional approach have advantages both from the research point of view and in public interpretation. There is no one model for cooperation. Some regions, like The Baccalieu Trail, have a single heritage corporation. In other regions a strong well-developed project, like the Colony of Avalon, has inspired smaller research projects in neighboring communities. On the Great Northern Peninsula, the Petit Nord Heritage Society and Renouf's Port au Choix project have taken a lead in assembling basic documentary research and initiating archaeological survey. We do not expect regional partners to shoulder the expense of conducting archaeological projects across their region (if that is not their policy), but rather to facilitate regional research by other communities when possible. We are hoping, in other words, to promote the development of regional expertise.
Labor market development has become a key issue for our program. An unfortunate result of erratic heritage sector funding has been the creation of barriers that prevent young people from gaining work experience in the heritage field. One of the most insidious of these is that students are sometimes excluded from participation in projects, because the supporting agency has defined prospective employees in such a way as to include only those requiring re-training. These very projects need skills and would provide students with valuable experience. A fixation on local job creation is proving costly in terms of the development of regional skills. The workshop and video Working in Archaeology were our first efforts to raise this question. In a productive meeting in 2001 with the provincial Minister of Tourism, Culture and Recreation at the time, we were heartened that he recognized how important it is that a program of student field placements continue beyond NAHOP's mandate and we intend to continue to lobby provincial and federal agencies to this end.
Anyone who has worked in community archaeology knows that community involvement in research can have profound effects. The development of fresh research on Newfoundland's French Shore is an excellent example of a research direction in which community groups have led and academic researchers are following. In this and in many other projects, Newfoundland's archaeologists are, in a sense, applying principles usually recommended for cooperation with Aboriginal groups, to archaeology in all community contexts. And why not? Should not archaeologists always collaborate, if possible, with local organizations in the interpretation of regional history? If plain language reports are a good idea in the post-colonial context why not in other contexts too? Will not researchers inevitably benefit from local oral history? Do not local people always have a claim on employment and training when archaeological projects impinge on their way of life? Should not research findings always be reported locally and are not photographic and video archives educational resources for young people always a good idea? Who else has a better claim on heritage merchandising than local community groups?
The application of these principles is not simple. The members of a community, like academics, have ideas about the past -- some of which may turn out to be true and some of which may turn out to be false. Archaeological researchers and community groups have distinguishable interests: the former oriented to the pursuit of knowledge within the framework of the historical sciences, the latter oriented to economic and social development. These interests overlap in the domain we have come to call "heritage" (Lowenthal 1998). To the extent that researchers remain interested in history, and not simply in heritage (the industry that feeds on history) we have to remain interested in the plausibility of claims about the past, whether or not they will be directly useful for heritage interpretation and whether or not they indirectly promote economic and social development. Archaeologists and community organizations have different agendas and only the naive will suppose that pious support for the principles of community archaeology will somehow reconcile these in every case.
Learning to work with community groups is something like learning to sail. They are a force to be reckoned with: where you end up depends both on where you want to go and on which way the wind is blowing. This is not intended as disrespect for community organizations. They might surely take the symmetrical view that learning to work with archaeologists is also something like learning to sail and that where communities end up is not merely the result of the course they lay out but also on the direction of the academic wind. This interaction is something much more complicated than negotiation. At its best everyone arrives safely where they need to be, although the trip is almost guaranteed to be more complicated than anyone might have reasonably foreseen.