During the summer of 2023, I had the incredible opportunity to work under Dr. William Fitzhugh from the Smithsonian Institute to excavate a 16-17th century Basque whaling site on the island of Bonne Esperance. I experienced this journey along with students from the University of Colorado Boulder and the University of Montreal. The "American Quarter" of the team journeyed through New Brunswick, Newfoundland, Labrador, and Quebec to fully understand the history of the Lower North Shore. During this journey, we saw icebergs, whales, moose, and beautiful glacial fields. We spent a majority of the summer at St. Paul River, where the Whiteley Museum hosted our team. I learned so much about excavation techniques, Basque and Inuit cultures, as well as artifact cataloging and preservation. Along with conducting archaeology, Dr. Fitzhugh took our team to other heritage sites such as Red Bay, Port au Choix, and L'Anse aux Meadows so that we could understand the holistic history of the region. This internship not only taught me about the practices of archaeology, but also provided an opportunity to connect with the present culture of the Lower North Shore. The Whiteley Museum gave me the resources to create a film about this culture, which can be viewed here
I am incredibly grateful to the University of Notre Dame and Ms. Virginia Coss for providing this opportunity to me. It was truly an unforgettable experience, thank you!