Information Bulletin Number 15 - June 14, 2005
Permits and Archaeological Site Boundaries
The need for consistent advice on permit requirements when working within the boundaries of an archaeological site protected under section 13(2)(d) of the
Heritage Conservation Act (HCA) was raised at a workshop held in March 2005 between Archaeology Branch staff and the archaeological consulting community.
Section 13(2) of the HCA states in part that: “Except as authorized by a permit issued under section 12 or 14, or an order issued under section 14, a person must not…(d) damage, excavate, dig in or alter, or remove any heritage object from, a site (emphasis added) that contains artifacts, features, materials or other physical evidence of human habitation or use before 1846…” Alter is defined in the HCA as “…to change in any manner…”
An archaeological site consists of the physical remains of past human activity for which the scientific study of these remains, through the methods and techniques employed in the discipline of archaeology, is essential to the understanding of the pre- and post-contact periods in British Columbia. Archaeological sites occupy a space on and within the ground, and are normally delineated by a site boundary.
If work is to be conducted within the boundary of a protected archaeological site, and if the ground or protected above ground features such as CMTs are to be altered, then a permit is required. Should it be possible to work within a site boundary without disturbing the ground or protected above ground features, then a permit is not required. Examples of the latter case include:
- conducting forestry operations in sufficient snow cover and frozen ground conditions within the boundaries of an archaeological site containing buried deposits and no surface features, and
- harvesting either non-culturally modified trees or culturally modified trees post-dating 1846 with a feller buncher stationed outside a site boundary or with a helicopter.
However, in both cases soils must be stable and protected CMTs must be wind firm.