LEC offers a variety of archaeological services, with the majority of projects consisting of Stage 1-4 archaeological assessments to achieve development approvals. The LEC team will assist you from advising on which Stages of assessment will be required, to submitting the report to the Provincial and Municipal bodies, to requesting expedited reviews, and delivering the Ministry of Heritage, Sport, Tourism, and Culture Industries’ clearance letter. We are happy to meet you at your offices to discuss your options and ensure you have a firm understanding of what is being requested by the Municipality and why.
Archaeological Assessments Stage 1-4
Stage 1 Background Study
Required for almost any time of land use change, a Stage 1 may be requested by a Municipality or County for Site Plan Approval, Draft Plan Approval, Minor Variance application, Aggregate Licensing Application, Extraction permits, severance application, borrow/fill sites and numerous other triggers. Sometimes a proponent may request it as part of their internal due diligence prior to purchasing land. Stage 1 consists of a background review of geographical, historical, and land use information and a site visit to determine whether the property retains archaeological potential and if a Stage 2 assessment should be undertaken.
Stage 2 Property Assessment
Often combined with a Stage 1 background study, the Stage 2 assessment physically surveys the land to document any archaeological resources and measure them against provincial criteria to see if a Stage 3 is required. Stage 2 assessment includes Test Pit Survey or Pedestrian Survey. Test Pit Survey is conducted for non-agricultural portions of the property and entails the hand excavation of small pits across the study area, screening the soils for archaeological resources, and refilling the pits with the same soils. Pedestrian Survey includes the systematic walking of ploughed agricultural fields and examining the surfaces for archaeological resources. The presence of archaeological resources does not necessarily mean Stage 3 will be required, the Province outlines specific criteria for what type of site and resource require further testing.
Stage 3 Site Specific Assessment
If a Stage 2 assessment identifies cultural resources determined to have heritage value based on provincial standards, a Stage 3 assessment tests the nature of the resource, including it is cultural and temporal affiliations. The Stage 3 determines the limits of the site, and whether is warrants Stage 4 mitigation, also weighed against provincial criteria. The Stage 3 involves the hand excavation of one by one meter test units across the extent of the identified site, screening the soils and recovering all artifacts. The artifacts are then analyzed in the laboratory and used to make conclusions and inferences about the archaeological site. If the site meets provincial criteria warranting further work, Stage 4 mitigation is recommended.
Stage 4 Archaeological Mitigation
If a Stage 3 assessment concludes that a site has further cultural value, a Stage 4 is required to mitigate the development impacts. This can be done through excavation, whereupon the entire site is excavated and removed from the area to be impacted. The alternative is long term protection for the archaeological site, which entails establishing a buffer around the existing site so that impacts may occur around it. A combination of the two is also an option. The LEC team will work with the proponent to determine if the costs of excavating the entire site outweigh the option of excavating part of the site and designating the rest as protected lands, which can be zoned open space and add to the development project depending on the location and size of the active site.
If protection and avoidance is the chosen method for mitigation, archaeological monitoring may be required during development. A licensed archaeologist visits the site to report on the effectiveness of the protective mechanisms in place.
Burial Assessments and Mitigations
Occasionally, though seldom, human remains are discovered during archaeological investigations or development activities. A burial assessment is then commissioned by the Province and an assessment is undertaken. Similar to a Stage 4 mitigation, the remains are either excavated and moved, or left in situ and protected.
- Stakeholder Consultation
- First Nation Consultation
- Cemetery Assessments
- Ground Penetrating Radar
- Heritage Impact Assessments
- Archaeological Management Plans
- Guest Lectures