David Black

Honorary Research Professor


Enterprise 1, Rm. 006


1 506 447 3452

Dr. David Black taught archaeology at UNB for 25 years and has conducted archaeological research in the Canadian Maritimes for 40 years. He was Professor of Archaeology from 2001 to 2016 and served as Chair of the Department of Anthropology from 2003 to 2007.

Dr. Black’s academic interests include prehistoric archaeology, geoarchaeology, structural and stratigraphic analyses of coastal shell-bearing sites, and the zooarchaeology and human ecology of hunter-gatherer-fishers adapted to marine shorelines. His master’s and doctoral research projects involved excavations of coastal sites on islands at the mouth of Passamaquoddy Bay. He has been involved in archaeology projects on the Grand Manan Archipelago, and on Deer Island, the Letang Islands, Partridge Island, the Bliss Islands and the mainland shores of the Quoddy Region, all parts of the traditional territory of the Peskotomuhkatiyik (Passamaquoddy people). In addition to his research on pre-contact sites in the Quoddy Region, Dr. Black excavated an early Loyalist period historic site—the homestead of Lieutenant Samuel Bliss and family—on the Bliss Islands.

Since 1991, Dr. Black and his students have been conducting research into how Indigenous people acquired and used local and exotic lithic materials to make stone tools. One focus of this work has centered on the Washademoak Lake Chert Source located in the traditional territory of the Wolastoqiyik (Maliseet people), another on archaeological assemblages from the Quoddy Region. The ultimate aim of this research is to use archaeological distributions of distinctive lithic materials from known sources as proxy data for documenting Indigenous exchange and interaction systems before European contact, and for understanding how and why these patterns changed through time.

Dr. Black was invited by the Confederacy of Mainland Mi’kmaq in Truro, Nova Scotia to contribute a chapter on lithic material research to a book that the Confederacy published on the research potential of the Debert Paleoamerican site complex in Mi’kma’ki (Micmac traditional territory). He also has collaborated with the E’se’get Archaeology Project being conducted by Dr. Matthew Betts (Canadian Museum of History) at Port Joli, Nova Scotia.

In 2006–2007, the George Frederick Clarke Artifact Collection, one of the largest and best documented avocational archaeology collections in New Brunswick, was donated to UNB by the family of Dr. G.F. Clarke. Dr. Black and colleagues have developed this collection, comprised of 2700 pieces of material culture and associated notes and records, for research, teaching, display and public outreach activities. Most recently, he contributed to the publication of the fourth edition of G.F. Clarke’s book, Someone Before Us.

Since retiring in 2016, Dr. Black has continued publishing on coastal archaeology, including a monograph on intertidal archaeology in the Quoddy Region and a book chapter on lithic material assemblages from the Bliss Islands. He also recently published on a Late Archaic period artifact cache from the interior of Peskotomuhkati traditional territory.

Selected publications

Dr. Black's 2004 monograph, Living Close to the Ledge: Prehistoric Human Ecology of the Bliss Islands is available by request. Please email Dr. Black directly to obtain a copy.

Video lectures

Online publications

Pioneers of NB Archaeology