Vanessa McKillop


Areas of interest

Maritime Precontact Archaeology, Historic Archaeology, and Landscape Archaeology.


  • MA: SFU Heritage Resource Management
  • BA: Saint Mary’s University 2010
  • Human Services Diploma, Nova Scotia Community College 2007

MA Theses in HRM: Vanessa McKillop 2019

Weji-sqalia’tiek, they ‘sprouted up from the earth’:
Archaeology and Management of Shubenacadie River Valley Paleoshorelines, Nova Scotia


Dr. John Welch, Professor, Senior Supervisor
Dr. Sara Beanlands, Adjunct Professor, St. Mary’s University, Supervisor
Dr. Rudy Reimer/Yumks, Associate Professor, External Examiner
Dr. David Burley, Professor, Defence Chair


The abrupt geomorphological changes of the late glacial period in Nova Scotia varied regionally, often drastically changing the subsistence patterns of the ancestors of the Mi’kmaq. This dramatic landscape change has created a unique problem for archaeologists and heritage managers in their efforts to predict Paleo-Indian Period site occurrence in advance of industry- and community-driven land alteration. Policy and practice in Nova Scotia has been slow to recognise this challenge and has lagged behind the policies implemented in neighbouring jurisdictions. This thesis argues that the current understanding of Paleo-Indian settlement patterns in Nova Scotia can be bridged by building upon existing geological research and freely available LiDAR data. A regionally focused glacial lake inundation model derived from digital elevation model data in Nova Scotia is an effective tool to offer insight into how the ancestors of the Mi’kmaq may have utilized the landscape of Central Nova Scotia over 12,000 years ago.