About Our Project

We are, collectively, the instructor, staff, and students of the Signal Hill Archaeology Field School. During the summer of 2010, we will be conducting archaeological excavation at Signal Hill National Historic Site in beautiful St. John’s, Newfoundland. The project is a partnership between Memorial University’s Department of Archaeology and Parks Canada. The project will provide Memorial University undergraduate students with practical, hands-on experience in field excavation and laboratory techniques. It will also provide Parks Canada with additional research data about the historic site, and and visitation opportunities for tourists.

We’ll be updating this blog regularly throughout our excavations (from July 2 to August 7, 2010), and you can expect to see posts written by the students, by staff, and by the instructor. This is the second year that we’re blogging about our excavations at this site. Last year, our project investigated the southern portion of this archaeological site, and you can read about what we found in the archives for the 2009 season.

As for the place we’re working:  Signal Hill is a really important historic site that overlooks St. John’s, and has played an integral part in the defense of the St. John’s harbour since the seventeenth century. Fortifications and military structures have been erected here, battles have been fought here, and military garrisons have lived here– right up to and throughout World War II.

The site that we’re excavating this year is the North Range Soldiers’s Barracks, located along the public pathway that leads to Ladies’ Lookout at the summit of Signal Hill. The building was constructed in 1799, and stood until at least  1884. This is where soldiers worked, ate, slept, and socialized– and so our excavations this year should reveal a lot about the day-to-day life of the nineteenth century soldier.  We learned a lot last year, as you can see in our archives, but each field season always raises fresh questions that we try to answer the next year.

We’ll have a lot to blog about:  the practices of field archaeology, the trials and tribulations of learning to be an archaeologist, our exciting discoveries, and the research that goes into understanding them… so please, drop by, read our posts, and leave your comments!



  1. Thanx to you all ever so much for doing this very interesting project which will provide us all with such valuable information about the daily living of a soldier so long ago but yet seems now through your efforts are so real to us.

    You are to be commended for your excellent work and please do keep digging as long as time allows . As I am an avid history buff I wanted to thank you for your investigations will help enlighten us all about the settling and fortification of our beautiful province. I will be following your work with anticipation to see what more you “uncover”. Wishing u all good luck and fine weather.

  2. Thanks so much for your kind words Victoria! We’re having a really productive season, learning a lot, and having great fun on top of it all… it’s just the season we had hoped for! I hope that you keep following the blog… even after the digging is over, I’ll do some updates from the lab to tell you about our latest discoveries… Many thanks for reading!

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