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Aviators and Airfields: Aviation Archaeology work in Newfoundland and Labrador

Dr. Lisa M. Daly, PhD

Newfoundland and Labrador has seen many significant events in aviation history. In some cases, very little, or even nothing, remains of these events. In other cases, the remains of aircraft and infrastructure are still clearly visible on the landscape. In many cases, what remains are from plane crashes. Some of these have been historically significant, such as the crash that killed Sir Frederick Banting or the crash of the Sabena. Others, while they never made news headlines, involved early aviators trying to set and beat records, and men in the war effort working to deliver aircraft and supplies and keep the convoys safe.
Archaeologists in the province have been leading the way in the relatively new field of aviation archaeology. Starting with recovery work done in Labrador, and monitored by archaeologists, work done in the last 15 years has focused on determining the best methods for conducting this branch of modern conflict archaeology to document, and hopefully preserve, our aviation history. This talk will look at the aviation archaeology conducted in the province to date, some of the reasons for that work, how the province and individual communities are involved in the recording and protection of sites, and what can be done going forward to preserve our aviation material culture.