Field Work (HRIA, HRIM, Monitoring)

Historic Resource Impact Assessments (HRIA)

If your HRA results in further requirements for your project, this means a historic resource will be impacted, or is at risk of impact, by your proposed development. An archaeologist needs to perform an HRIA, which includes permitted fieldwork and a final report submitted to the government. We will work with you to create a budget and timeline that works with your construction schedule to help you get the clearance you need.

Fieldwork typically involves pedestrian survey of high archaeological potential areas within the project, accompanied by systematic shovel testing to determine if cultural materials are present. Fieldwork is usually completed under snow-free and frost-free conditions. All newly identified archaeological sites result in a site assessment and recording, including in-field mapping, shovel testing and photographs. This enables us to assess site characteristic(s), artifact density, site boundaries, and significance, making recommendations regarding further mitigation or historical resources clearance. All identified cultural materials are collected, analysed, and reported on. Historic structures are recorded using archival quality film photography and Historic Structure forms.

A detailed report is compiled for the regulatory authority, as well as the client. This provides information about the project, its potential to impact historical resources, field and laboratory methodologies used, target areas chosen for intensive work, and results of the work. The reports also include recommendations on-site significance, avoidance, or mitigation options.

Historic Resource Impact Mitigation (HRIM)

If an historic or archaeological site is identified during the HRIA, and the proposed development cannot avoid it, mitigation or excavation may be required. The provincial regulators will issue a Schedule of Requirements outlining what work needs to be done before clearance is granted. We can help navigate this process and complete any required mitigation, working with you to establish budgets and timelines to keep you on track.

Mitigative measures may include:

  • Excavation
  • Monitoring
  • Detailed photography
  • Detailed mapping of sites and features
  • Archival or Background research (particularly for historic period sites)
  • Informant interviews (particularly for historic period sites)

Excavations are completed with shovels and trowels. Excavation requirements incorporate site size, site significance, and the proportion to be impacted; they can range from a few square meters up to hundreds in the cases of large/important sites. Following excavation, an in-depth report providing information on methodology, stratigraphy, artifacts recovered, additional technical analyses, interpretations and conclusions based on the materials recovered, and future site recommendations are required.

Historic Resources Impact Monitoring and Post-Impact Assessments

Occasionally, after an HRIA or HRIM has been completed, the regulators will require an archaeologist be present during specific stages of construction as a mitigative option to reduce the impact on resources not identified during the HRIA, or to ensure that construction adequately avoids a nearby resource. We work with your construction scheduling to devise a cost and time-efficient schedule that will not impede the completion of the proposed project.