Archaeological Fieldwork Reports for 2003
Fifteen archaeological research permits were issued for work in the NWT in 2003. Of the 15 permits issued, 11 were for projects related to resource development impact assessment. Oil and gas development in the Mackenzie Delta, the Liard valley, and along the proposed Mackenzie Valley pipeline route, along with ongoing diamond exploration in the region north and east of Yellowknife continue to be dominant factors in driving archaeological research in the NWT.
This year the PWNHC took steps to improve the positional accuracy of recorded archaeological sites by developing guidelines for the use Global Positioning System receivers, and making their use requirement under permit. We have also implemented a long-term program to revisit archaeological sites in the NWT to obtain GPS coordinates. Over the course of the next decade we hope to make major advances in improving the record of positional accuracy of archaeological site data.
All reports compiled and edited by Tom Andrews, Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre
Gahcho Kué (Kennady Lake) And Drybones Bay Archaeological Surveys
The Gahcho Kué survey was the sixth year of field inventories, assessments and mitigation undertaken by Callum Thomson on behalf of De Beers Canada Exploration Inc. (DBCE), in advance of their proposed diamond mine development. In 2003, Callum and assistant Henry Basil from Lutsel K’e worked in three areas: the Gerle Sill, where they flagged six previously recorded sites and found three new sites in an area of expanded exploration activity; the Kelvin and Faraday Lakes area, where they revisited two known sites and ensured their continuing stability, walked the proposed 3 km winter access route to this area of intensive exploration drilling, and inspected ten drill sites; and on the East Esker, part of a prominent sand and gravel feature that runs east-west for at least 30 km, south of Gahcho Kué. Callum and Henry found an additional twelve sites on and adjacent to 5 km of the East Esker, including a major quartz quarry where material was obtained for stone tool-making, and two large workshops where the quartz was manufactured into tools. This brings to 31 the number of sites found on a 16 km section of the east-west esker, parts of which have been or are planned to be exploited for aggregate, and almost 100 in total around Gahcho Kué.
The preliminary survey of Drybones Bay and parts of the coast and near interior between Wool Bay and Matonabbee Point, southeast of Yellowknife on Great Slave Lake, was conducted under amendment to the permit, by Callum Thomson and Randy Freeman, with leadership and local knowledge provided by elders and youth from the Yellowknives Dene First Nation. The objective was to examine the potential for disturbance of sites during continuing mineral exploration and potential development activities, primarily at Wool Bay and Drybones Bay. Sixty-three new sites were added to the previous inventory of five, including precontact stone tool sites and quartz quarries, many sites containing boulder features such as tent rings, hide stretchers and toboggan weights, and a variety of sites from the historic period including four cemeteries, cabins and camps, and fish camps. The Mackenzie Valley Environmental Impact Review Board is currently examining the potential cumulative effects of mineral exploration on environmental and archaeological resources in this area.
Hardy Lake Archaeological Survey
The Hardy Lake survey, undertaken by Callum Thomson with the assistance of Calinda Football from Wekweti, was the first such work conducted on the DBCE claim block around Hardy Lake, northeast of Lac de Gras. As only three days were available for this initial survey, the team focused on areas of intensive exploration activity and eskers, of which there are many in the area. Forty precontact sites were found, all containing stone tools and fragments of material such as quartz, quartz crystal, shale and chert. Six of the sites date to the Palaeo-Eskimo period, which in this area, dates back to about 3500-2500 years ago. Two quartz quarries, three workshops and six sites containing habitation features such as tent rings and hearths were found, and most of the rest contained scatters or concentrations of stone artifacts ranging from less than 10 to over 200 in number. Among the Palaeo-Eskimo sites on Hardy Lake was one located in the middle of a large camp used by construction and maintenance crews on the Lupin Ice Road. All site locations are now known to the exploration crews and will be avoided, and mitigation has been proposed for the construction campsite.
Archaeological Investigations conducted along the Tibbitt to Contwoyto Winter Road
Jean Bussey (NWT Archaeologists Permit 2003-929)
In 2003, Jean Bussey of Points West Heritage Consulting Ltd. conducted archaeological investigations for the Joint Venture that operates the Tibbitt to Contwoyto (formerly the Lupin) winter road. Investigations were limited to a single field trip for the purpose of monitoring site markers installed in 2002. This is the third year that the Joint Venture has sponsored investigations as part of their commitment to ensure that future archaeological impacts are avoided or minimized.
In 2001, an archaeological inventory was conducted and resulted in the discovery of 55 new archaeological sites and the revisit of 14 previously recorded sites. Six of these sites are situated in Nunavut and the rest are located in the NWT. Because the inventory was conducted nearly 20 years after construction of the road, there were some sites within 30 m of developed areas and some sites have been disturbed. In 2002, all sites within 30 m of the winter road or related facilities were revisited and if threatened were subjected to site assessment and/or mitigation or were protected through the erection of markers. The four sites in the NWT at which markers were erected were: KiPb-2, KjPa-1, KkNv-9 and LcNs-140. One site located in Nunavut, LhNr-5, was also staked in 2002 and rechecked in 2003. During the 2003 investigations, all sites located near areas with current winter road activity were revisited to assess their status.
The major objective of the 2003 field reconnaissance was to determine if markers had adequately protected sites. The markers erected at three sites consisted of standard four-foot (1.2 m) wooden survey stakes with tops painted fluorescent orange. On average, they were pounded approximately 30 cm (1 foot) into the ground. At KiPb-2 the stakes are at some distance from the actual site and are present only on the esker crest since they would be lost in snow cover on lower ground. At KkNv-9 and LcNs-140, it was necessary to install markers immediately adjacent to the east side of each site because of the proximity of the winter road portages. No stakes required replacement at KiPb-2, a few loose stakes were re-pounded at KkNv-9 and three were replaced at LcNs-140. At KjPa-1, because of the proximity of a winter road camp (Lockhart Lake Camp), Nuna Logistics arranged to install taller and more permanent metal markers with reflectors. No disturbance was noted within the protected areas associated with these four sites. Because the markers were successful in protecting these sites, another site (LcNs-133) threatened by road activity conducted during the winter of 2002-2003 was marked in a similar manner. Orange flagging tape was added to both the old and new markers since the paint had faded over the winter.
Some of the wooden markers are showing signs of wear although they could last another year or two. It is recommended that the status of the markers and their ability to provide site protection be reviewed annually. During this recheck it is recommended that any weakened markers be replaced, loose stakes be re-installed and the tops of all markers be sprayed with orange paint to make them more obvious. No new tools were noted at any visited sites, but additional unworked flakes are evident on the surface of LcNs-133. No artifacts were collected since the 2003 field investigations were conducted under a Class 1 NWT Archaeologists Permit.
Archaeological Investigations conducted at the Ekati Diamond Mine™, Northwest Territories
Jean Bussey (Northwest Territories Archaeologists permit 2003-930)
For the tenth consecutive year, Jean Bussey of Points West Heritage Consulting Ltd. conducted archaeological investigations for BHP Billiton Diamonds Inc. (BHPB) in its claim block north of Lac de Gras. Bonnie Campbell of Points West and Noel Doctor of the Yellowknives Dene First Nation assisted with field reconnaissance. The fieldwork consisted of an archaeological inventory as well as tours of archaeological sites associated with the Ekati Diamond Mine™. The first tour involved elders from Lutsel K’e, Madelaine Drybones and Noel Able, along with their interpreter, Bertha Catholique. The second tour involved Mike Francis and Michel Paper of the Yellowknives Dene First Nation. Noel Doctor served as the interpreter. The third group involved Inuit elders, Tom Kokak and Walker Bolt, and their interpreter, Gerry Atatahak. A variety of archaeological sites were visited during the tours, including sites at both ends of Lac de Gras – in an area known as the narrows and at the outlet of the lake on the Coppermine River. Also visited were sites near Lac du Sauvage including one with numerous Arctic Small Tool tradition artifacts, one with four tent rings and several sites where archaeological excavation has been conducted in the past.
During the 2003 archaeological inventory, ten new archaeological sites were discovered, bringing the total number of known sites in the BHPB claim block to 198. Stone tools or the fragments (flakes) removed during the manufacture of stone tools characterize the new sites. The majority of the artifacts are white or grey quartz, but some chert and siltstone specimens were also discovered. Most of the recorded sites in the claim block are associated with eskers, but sites are also found on other terrain types, usually in the vicinity of the larger lakes. Five of the sites found in 2003 were associated with an esker known locally as the Exeter esker; numerous other sites have been found on this esker. The other five sites were found near the Lac de Gras – Lac du Sauvage narrows, where 12 other sites have been recorded. No development activity has been identified in the vicinity of the ten new sites, thus, there is no potential for conflict and no artifacts were collected.
The 17 sites in the vicinity of the Lac de Gras-Lac du Sauvage narrows are likely associated with caribou hunting since the narrows represents an important caribou crossing. A number of the sites in this area have yielded small chert tools suggestive of the Arctic Small Tool tradition. The presence of these artifacts is strongly suggestive of the narrows representing a significant location through time. The archaeological investigations and tours were conducted under a Class 2 NWT Archaeologists Permit.
Non-Technical Report on Archaeological Investigations conducted for the Snap Lake Project in 2003
Jean Bussey (NWT Archaeologists Permit 2003-931)
Jean Bussey of Points West Heritage Consulting Ltd. conducted archaeological investigations for De Beers Canada Mining Inc. at their Snap Lake Project in 2003. The archaeological work was conducted under a Class 1 NWT Archaeologists Permit.
Because no new development areas have been identified, investigations were limited to site monitoring and a tour with representatives of the North Slave Metis Alliance (NSMA), Fred Turner and Len Turner. Kevin Le Drew of De Beers was also part of the tour. Past archaeological reconnaissance relating to this proposed mine has resulted in the discovery of 53 archaeological sites, most of which are sufficiently distant from proposed development that no further investigation is required. Two sites threatened by development activity were previously mitigated. One of these sites, KkNv-6, is adjacent to the Snap Lake winter access road and was revisited in 2003 in company with the NSMA representatives. At the recommendation of the NSMA representatives, De Beers has arranged for the erection of protective markers on the portage where KkNv-6 is located.
The Snap Lake winter access road was flown during the NSMA tour, which permitted aerial monitoring of archaeological sites in the immediate vicinity. There have been no revisions to the route examined previously for archaeological resources and there is no evidence of any impacts to archaeological sites along it. KkNv-6 and nearby KkNv-7 were visited on the ground. A few unworked flakes exposed since 2001 were encountered on surface of KkNv-6; all artifacts were left in situ.
Also examined from the air were the 10 archaeological sites located on the esker south of Snap Lake. There is no evidence of any disturbance in the vicinity of these sites. Diamond development activity is restricted to a gravel borrow and the winter access road leading to it. The gravel pit was visited on the ground during the archaeological tour and the closest site, KjNu-11, was examined by Bussey. It is located approximately 300 m to the west of the gravel pit and is intact.
2003 Mackenzie Delta Heritage Resource Survey
Don Hanna (NWT Archaeologists Permit 2002-932)
In August of 2003, Bison Historical Services Ltd. and Inuvialuit Environmental and Geotechnical Inc. carried out a survey of heritage sites in the Mackenzie Delta on behalf of EnCana Corporation. Previously known sites were re-visited to ensure that they had not been damaged by last winter’s seismic exploration program. We also examined three potential well sites and related access routes to ensure that upcoming winter projects would avoid all known and newly identified heritage sites.
Fieldwork was based out of Tuktoyaktuk and carried out by helicopter and on foot. Our work was concentrated around the mouth of the East Channel of the Mackenzie River, on both Richards Island and portions of the Tuktoyaktuk Peninsula. We did not excavate any materials at any sites and no artifacts or other cultural materials were collected.
Twenty-seven known sites, including ancient graves, villages and camps, were re-visited to evaluate the success of avoidance during the 2002-2003 Kugmallit winter seismic program. All sites within 200 metres of seismic program activities were re-visited. No previously identified sites were damaged by last winter’s Kugmallit seismic exploration activities. However, natural erosion at several sites remains an on-going concern.
The newly proposed EnCana Burnt Lake well site(s) and access route were also examined. This program consists of three possible well site locations and related access routes linking the wells to the Mackenzie River Ice Road. Three new sites were identified during our examination of this project. Newly identified sites are all prehistoric lithic scatters and/or campsites. Two previously identified sites were also examined in connection with this program. EnCana’s planned development was modified to avoid all newly identified and previously known heritage sites. The proposed Encana Burnt Lake well site and access route will avoid all previously known and newly identified heritage sites.
Mackenzie Gas Project Reconnaissance and Impact Assessment
Grant Clarke (NWT Archaeologists Permit 2003-933)
Archaeological investigations initiated in 2001 on the Mackenzie Gas Project continued for a second field season in 2003. Imperial Resources Ventures Ltd., the Aboriginal Pipeline Group, ConocoPhillips Canada Ltd., ExxonMobil Canada Properties Ltd. and Shell Canada Limited are developing the Mackenzie Gas Project.
The project will likely consist of:
- Natural gas field development facilities at Taglu, Parsons Lake and Niglintgak.
- A gathering system to collect natural gas and associated natural gas liquids from the three fields and ship them to natural gas compression and NGL facilities in the Inuvik area.
- A natural gas pipeline from the Inuvik area to Norman Wells.
- A transmission pipeline system (the Mackenzie Valley Pipeline) from the Inuvik area south along the Mackenzie Valley via Norman Wells, to connect to the existing natural gas pipeline system in northwest Alberta for delivery to market.
Infrastructure required to support the development and operation of the pipeline includes barge landing sites, camps and stockpile locations, granular resource extraction sites, as well as associated temporary and permanent access roads. The precise number and location of associated facilities has yet to be determined.
During the 2003 field season, archaeologists with MPEG (a consortium of AMEC Earth and Environmental, Golder Associates Ltd., Kavik-AXYS Environmental Ltd. and Tera Environmental) led reconnaissance and impact assessment level investigations of selected project components. As listed below, numerous local people assisted with the fieldwork. Greenpipe Industries Ltd. assisted MPEG archaeologists with the investigations in the Tulita district.
- Inuvialuit region: Robert Albert, Abel Tingmiak.
- Gwich’in region: Rita Carpenter, Anna May MacLeod, Fred Jerome, Harry Carmichael, Allen Firth, Tom Wright, and Albert Frost.
- Fort Good Hope: Marcel Grandjambe, Alfred Masazumi, and Leon Tauveau.
- Tulita: Richard Andrew, Lee Anne Wrigley, and James Bavard.
- Pehdzeh Ki First Nation: Justin Clilie, Ernest Moses, Darcy Moses, and Archie Horasey
- Liidlii Kue First Nation: Joe Tsetso, Leo Norwegian, and Edward Cholo
- Trout Lake: Arthur Jumbo, Dolphus Jumbo, Tony Jumbo, Edward Jumbo, Ruby Jumbo, Eric Kotchea, and Lucas Cli
While a definitive right-of-way has not been identified for the pipeline, which is in excess of 1400 km in length, a 1 km wide corridor has been identified. As this is too wide for a conventional heritage resources impact assessment, investigations are limited to reconnaissance techniques of selected moderate and high potential areas. A heritage resources impact assessment will be completed once the right-of-way within the corridor has been selected. For the 2002 field season, areas were selected for examination based on aerial photograph and NTS map analysis as well as helicopter over-flights. During the winter of 2003, the project team identified several reroutes. Subsequently, the archaeological team conducted reconnaissance level investigations at reroute locations thought to exhibit moderate to high potential for heritage resources.
Heritage resource impact assessments were also undertaken at a selection of the infrastructure and granular resource extraction sites. As with the pipeline corridor, moderate and high potential areas have been focused on and additional investigations can be anticipated as project plans become more finalized.
Numerous prehistoric and historic sites were recorded / revisited. These include a wide variety of site types and ages. The precontact period sites are primarily comprised of stone flakes and other debris remaining from stone tool manufacturing. No temporally diagnostic stone tools were recovered during the field investigations. Historic period sites primarily relate to traditional land use practices and include numerous trails, cabins and camps. Palaeontological materials include one location of preserved tree trunks and leaf litter identified north of the current tree line preserved in permafrost. A number of traditional land use areas such as traplines and camps were also observed / recorded.
Holocene Sea Ice Conditions in the Northwest Passage
Julie Ross (NWT Archaeologist Permit 2003-936)
Raised marine deposits along the northern Prince of Wales Strait were surveyed for archaeological sites as part of a larger study of Holocene sea ice conditions in the Northwest Passage. Douglas Hodgson (Geological Survey of Canada) and I surveyed an area north of that examined by Arthur Dyke (GSC) and James Savelle (McGill, Anthropology) in previous years. Two camps were established on Victoria Island: Deans Dundas Bay, Armstrong Point and one, Wallace Point, was established on Banks Island.
While the project had several research goals, the main aim was to establish the time periods when the areas on either side of Prince of Wales Strait were occupied, which cultural groups utilized these areas, and what the nature of use of the area was by Palaeo- and Neoeskimo peoples. We also wished to establish if there was a difference in Palaeo- and Neoeskimo occupation density between northwestern and western Victoria Island coasts. Dyke and Savelle had observed a decrease close to the northern limit of their study area at 72 N.
Only forty-eight sites were recorded during the 2003 field season, compared to the fifty-two sites recorded during our 2002 field survey of the Viscount Melville Sound coast of northwestern most Victoria Island. Of the forty-eight sites recorded, seventeen of these consisted of clusters of caches. Most of the caches had been opened; however a few were still closed and one contained barrel staves.
Other than one find spot, there is limited definite evidence for Palaeoeskimo use of the area; many of the features recorded were amorphous in form and thus a cultural affiliation could not be assigned. Neoeskimo, Early Historic, and Late Historic sites were evident in low-lying areas.
There were fewer habitation structures found along the examined sections of coast than to the northeast (2002) and it would seem that this area was used predominately for short term hunting and trapping ventures. It is apparent that this section of coast has been submerging during at least the latest Holocene, so it is possible that some archaeological sites have been destroyed. There is also a paucity of the well-defined raised beaches on which Arctic dwelling sites are often found. Furthermore, the predominantly fine-grained raised marine sediments are undergoing active processes of solifluction and thus any sites are likely being covered or dispersed by this slope movement.
Fort Simpson Heritage Park Archaeology Project
During the month of August 2003, archaeological excavations were once again carried out within Fort Simpson Heritage Park. This work followed up on discoveries made during the 2002 field season by Jean-Luc Pilon of the Canadian Museum of Civilization and earlier in 2000 by Tom Andrews of the Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre in Yellowknife. In both of those field seasons, artefacts had been found which indicated a use of the area that could bear witness to some of the earliest Euro-Canadian presence on Simpson Island.
In 2002, a deep pit feature had been identified but its shape, function and age were uncertain. This summer’s work hoped to recover artefacts, which might be indicative of the time period, as well as the nature of this clearly man-made feature.
The 2002 work had shown that much of the area of the Heritage Park had, at one time, been subjected to extensive and deep ploughing. In fact, the ploughing may have also been used as a way of filling in the long pit that lay deeply buried in the main excavation area because there were no visible signs of this 5-foot deep pit prior to excavation.
While laboratory work on the collections continues, some statements can be made concerning some of the events represented in the excavated area. A first important point is that while the vast majority of the artefacts gathered are of Euro-Canadian or European manufacture, objects attesting to an earlier, pre-Contact Native occupation or occupations, are present. Tom Andrews who had found small flakes left from the manufacture of chipped stone implements had first pointed out such a possibility. This Native component was confirmed in 2003 with the recovery of additional flakes and even stone tools, one manufactured from a distinctive stone found only in the Norman Wells area.
As for the age of the earliest historic period occupation, the recovery of a percussion cap near the bottom layers of the long pit feature firmly place the principal occupation in the 1830-1860 time period when this invention became widely used. It would thus appear that this pit feature somehow relates to the nearby Hudson’s Bay Company (established on Simpson Island in 1822) activities and not the earlier Northwest Company establishment that was abandoned in 1811, well before the widespread use of percussion caps in general, let alone on a distant frontier.
What then was the purpose of this long, narrow pit measuring on the order of 5 feet in depth, 5 to 6 feet in width and more than 20 feet in length? A key to this question’s answer might be found within a single excavation unit. Within it, a very high density of artefacts were recovered from all of the buried pit layers which are clearly separated from each other by at least 2 thick distinct layers of shredded bark. Nails and “box” rivets were the most numerous object type found within the pit fill layers. The high concentration of debris in this area suggests that there was some condition that, over the course of the feature’s use, naturally tended to concentrate artefacts in that region. One proposal is that the main point of access to this feature was in the area of this unit; perhaps a trap door, if this feature was found under a building, as a cellar would be.
The “box” rivets are intriguing in their own right because their function is not immediately obvious. However, when shown to Dr. Robert Grenier of Parks Canada, who is an international expert in the excavation of marine heritage and early ship building techniques, he quickly identified these as items clearly involved in “clinker-built” boat construction. Of course, York boats, those transportation workhorses of the HBC, fit this interpretation perfectly.
The next step in this research will take place hundreds of kilometres from Fort Simpson, in the Archives of the Hudson’s Bay Company, currently housed in Winnipeg. It is anticipated that somewhere within the journals and documents kept there, will be found some kind of reference to a boat house or a boat shed, where the heavy York boats were repaired and perhaps even built. Hopefully, such a passage will provide enough information for us to determine its approximate location in relation to the HBC compound which is, by contrast, relatively well-documented on both maps and in vivid eye-witness accounts.
This summer’s crew was comprised of Stephen Rowan, John Blyth, Naomi Smethurst, Elizabeth Marsh and Douglas Kirk. Additional help was kindly offered by Tyrone Stipdonk, Scott Passmore and Sophie Borcoman.
An additional component of the work this summer was to assist Dr. Brian Moorman and his Ph.D. student Christopher Hugenholtz of the University of Calgary and their crew of Dana Lampi and Kathleen Groenewegen of the Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre, who conducted a ground-penetrating radar study of the Heritage Park.
We are grateful to Mitch and Kathleen Gast, managers of the Albert Faillie Apartments as well as to Susan Colbert and Colin Munro of Great Slave Helicopters. Finally, we would like to extend our thanks to the community of Fort Simpson who allowed us to once again dig into their past.
Archaeological Investigations along Northern Prince Albert Sound, Victoria Island, N.W.T. August 2003
James M. Savelle (NWT Archaeologist Permit 2003-938)
Archaeological investigations along northern Prince Albert Sound were carried out in early-mid August 2003. The excavations concentrated upon Dorset, Thule and Historic Inuit sites at the Kuuk River, Thule Inuit sites at Woodward Point, Cape Ptarmigan, and the Thule Inuit Co-op site southeast of Holman. At the Co-op site and Kuuk river sites, excavations were restricted to previously disturbed or excavated sod houses and middens (garbage heaps), while at the Cape Ptarmigan and Woodward Point sites excavations were restricted to test pits in middens and sod houses. While a small number of artifacts were recovered from the excavations, the primary goal was to collect animal bones, primarily seal, caribou and musk-ox teeth, to determine changes through time in the level of various trace (potentially toxic) elements. These changes can be determined through the chemical analyses of trace elements in the teeth themselves.
Summit Creek Heritage Survey
Don Hanna (NWT Archaeologists Permit 2003-939)
In July of 2003, Bison Historical Services Ltd. carried out an archaeological survey of heritage sites in the vicinity of Summit Creek, some 60 kilometres south of Tulita, NWT. These investigations were carried out at the request of Northern EnviroSearch Ltd. on behalf of Northrock Resources Ltd.
Northrock proposes to drill an exploratory oil well (B-44) near Summit Creek on the southwest flanks of the Flint Stone Range during the winter of 2003-2004. This well site will require an access road extending approximately 74 kilometres east to Mackenzie River before joining the Mackenzie River ice road. The access road will largely follow existing trails and cut lines. Northrock Resources Ltd. engaged Bison Historical Services Ltd. to ensure that no known or suspected heritage sites would be damaged by the proposed activities.
Six previously identified heritage sites are known to lay within one kilometre of the proposed Northrock B-44 construction program. The location of each of these sites was re-visited and the proximity of the site to the proposed development was evaluated. None of these previously identified sites will be impacted by the construction or use of the proposed Northrock Resources Ltd. B-44 Summit Creek well site, access route and staging area.
Areas with high potential for un-recorded heritage sites that might be impacted by the planned activities were also examined. No new heritage sites were identified. The proposed Northrock B-44 construction program will impact no previously unidentified or suspected heritage sites.
Heritage Resources Impact Assessment of the East Liard Gas Gathering System
D’Arcy Green (NWT Archaeologists Permit 2003-940)
In August of 2003, Golder Associates Ltd. conducted a Heritage Resources Impact Assessment of Anadarko’s proposed East Liard Gas Gathering System located near Fort Liard. The proposed 75 kilometre gathering system extends southwestward from the Netla/Arrowhead gas fields, crossing the Liard River north of Fort Liard where it joins an existing system just west of the river. The purpose of the study was to identify, record, and evaluate heritage sites in potential conflict with proposed development activities, so that appropriate avoidance or mitigation measures could be incorporated into the plans for this project.
Procedures employed in the Anadarko East Liard Gas Gathering System Project entailed pre-field studies, on-ground reconnaissance, site documentation and assessment, reporting and recommendation formulation. A community request was made that, should archaeological materials be identified during the HRIA, no artifacts were to be collected. Therefore, a system for documenting sufficient information about artifacts was devised in consultation with the PWNHC prior to the commencement of the field program. Project planning also included provisions for a community representative to work with the archaeologists during the field inspection, to provide advice about the cultural significance of any sites and to identify areas of cultural concern or relevant land use patterns that might assist in interpretation of the physical evidence encountered. Roy Klondike of Fort Liard provided a wealth of information about the area and its people while he accompanied two Golder archaeologists during the field program.
The field component of the HRIA included the visual inspection of all areas that had been proposed for development prior to the beginning of August 2003. This included an aerial survey of the entire gathering system to confirm that our predetermined areas of moderate and high potential were valid and to modify our program to include areas that were not identified during the pre-field screening. Subsequent fieldwork consisted of helicopter assisted field surveys and sub-surface testing of areas deemed to have moderate to high potential for containing heritage resources. While no new archaeological sites were identified during the field investigations conducted for this project, a total of 19 Traditional Use locations were identified and recorded. These included cabin and tent frame locations, bark-stripped trees, trails, and various types of snares and traps.
Further archaeological work will be undertaken next year on newly proposed components of the project that include an all-weather access road, gathering system re-alignments and facilities locations. It is anticipated that additional work will be also be conducted other high potential areas along the alignment.
Archaeological Investigations, Winter Cove, Walker Bay, Victoria Island, N.W.T., July-August, 2003
Archaeological investigations (in conjunction with sociocultural investigations, Hamlet of Holman, Victoria Island, N.W.T.), were initiated between July 30th and August 15th, 2003 in the Winter Cove area, Walker Bay, Victoria Island, N.W.T. The archaeological investigations represent the initial field season in a proposed two-year project, and focus on an assessment of mid-19th century direct and indirect contact & intersocietal interaction between historic northern Copper Inuit groups and the Royal Navy vessels H.M.S. Enterprise and H.M.S. Investigator in northwestern Victoria Island. Specifically, the project is the first to systematically examine possible changes in northern Copper Inuit material culture, intra- and intergroup material trade systems and social relations resulting from direct and indirect contact with elements of the Royal Navy on Victoria Island. Additionally, these investigations also examined sites directly associated with the 1851-52 “wintering” of H.M.S. Enterprise at Winter Cove.
Field surveys were conducted in the immediate Winter Cove area – including Flagstaff Hill – and at several (unnamed) inland lakes south and southeast of Winter Cove. A total of approximately 30 sites, comprising historic Copper Inuit tent rings and caches, Royal Navy habitation, burial, cache and survey features and several mid-20th century habitation and survey features associated with the 1940-41 “wintering” of the R.C.M.P. Schooner St. Roch in Winter Cove, were recorded.
The nature and amount of data collected varied according to project research plans, though random sampling was conducted at each site, and all features were recorded in detail. The items recovered from sites also varied, although 19th century manufactured metals, glass, and wood predominated. In some cases, evidence of modification of manufactured materials into projectile points and uniface cutting implements was present. All recovered items are now undergoing conservation procedures.
Preliminary results of these field surveys suggest that Northern Copper Inuit groups interacting with the officers and crew of H.M.S. Enterprise in the Winter Cove, Walker Bay area ca. 1851-52 acquired significant amounts of manufactured items. Many of these items were modified into tools and introduced into the material culture of these groups. Similarly, it can also be suggested that these items were “filtered” into intra- and intergroup trade systems of the Walker Bay and Minto Inlet areas thereby contributing to changes in traditional social interaction.
The project has received the strong support of the Holman Community Corporation, and the Olokhaktomiut Hunters & Trappers Committee, Holman, Victoria Island, N.W.T. Aaron Kimiksana and Tony Alanak of Holman and Ethan Applegarth of Idyllwild, California, served as Research Assistants. Donald Inuktalik, Jack Kataoyak and Helen Kimiksana provided other invaluable support in the field and in Holman. The following institutions and individuals have contributed support, expertise and guidance:
Inuvialuit Land Administration; Aurora Research Institute; Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre; Joint-Faculty Research Ethics Board, University of Manitoba, Dr. Jill Oakes, Department of Native Studies, University of Manitoba; Dr. Rick Riewe, Dept. of Zoology, University of Manitoba; Dr. William “Skip” Koolage, Department of Anthropology, University of Manitoba; Dr. James Savelle, Department of Anthropology, McGill University; and Gerard and Nan Snyder, Montpelier Station, Virginia.
Heritage Resources Impact Assessment of Fortune Minerals Nico Gold Project
Brian Ronaghan (NWT Archaeologist Permit 2003-942)
Brian Ronaghan of Golder Associates completed an archaeological inventory and assessment of facility locations proposed by Fortune Minerals for a bulk-sampling program for an underground gold mine operation near Nico Lake. The property is located about 10 km east of Hislop Lake in the Marian basin north of Great Slave Lake. John Mantla of Rae (Dogrib First Nation) assisted with the investigations.
The Nico Lake Mine is in the preliminary planning stage of development and as a result, very limited information is available regarding the eventual development of the property. Previous archaeological records and studies within the region, as well as environmental and ethnohistorical data, were consulted to aid in providing a basis for structuring field studies and context for any sites that might be found. Map and aerial photograph mosaic analysis was also undertaken to serve as an orientation to the Project area landforms and their heritage resource potential. The foot traverses and visual examination then focused on the project specific facilities that have been defined as well as the landforms considered to exhibit high potential for heritage resources.
Due to the largely sloping nature of the terrain, there was a notable lack of organic sediments in all areas except in water-saturated locations, which were considered to have low heritage resource potential. Consequently, shovel testing to investigate for buried sites was neither feasible nor warranted. The field program resulted in the identification of five loci of historic period use. None of the locations exhibited materials and/or evidence of use that exceeded the late 1960’s in age. As a result, none were considered archaeological resources under the current provisions of the Archaeological Sites Regulations (GNWT 2001) and none were formally recorded as such. The locations consist of two claim posts for prospects registered in or around 1968, two trails that represent recent use of seismic and exploration cut lines by Aboriginal hunters or trappers, and a temporary campsite by an exploration or survey crew probably in the 1970’s. None of these sites are considered to be of more than limited scientific significance.
Although archaeological sites have been recorded in the region, none have been found in the area to be affected by the Nico Mine Project. While some of the locations of specific development facilities are not known, all high potential landforms within the Project area were examined. Therefore, it is recommended that development proceed without additional heritage resources investigations. However, the local area traditional users should be consulted prior to development as the area is currently utilized.
Non-Technical Report on Archaeological Investigations conducted on the Courageous Lake Property for Seabridge Gold
Jean Bussey (Northwest Territories Archaeologists permit 2003-943)
Gold exploration prompted archaeological investigations in the vicinity of Courageous Lake on behalf of Seabridge Gold. Jean Bussey and Gabriella Prager of Points West Heritage Consulting Ltd conducted these investigations. Noel Doctor of the Yellowknives Dene First Nation provided assistance during the field reconnaissance. The fieldwork involved intensive helicopter reconnaissance to provide an overview assessment of archaeological potential as well as detailed ground examination of selected areas. Three historic/traditional sites were discovered during aerial reconnaissance and were recorded and 11 sites were found during ground reconnaissance, for a total of 14 new sites. The selected intensive survey areas were three locations in which more exploration and/or development might occur, as identified by EBA Engineering Consultants Ltd., the prime consultant for this multi-disciplinary environmental study. Archaeological investigations were conducted under a Class 2 NWT Archaeologists Permit. There are no previously recorded archaeological sites in the vicinity of this study area.
Two graves, each surrounded by a white picket fence, the site of a possible tent camp likely used during an early phase of mineral exploration and a traditional cabin/camp were recorded north of Courageous Lake in areas for which no specific development has been identified. One site is located on an esker, one is on the shore of Courageous Lake and the third is situated on a bedrock bench inland from the lake.
Each of the three areas in which more exploration activity might occur yielded archaeological resources. The more northerly survey area, north of Matthews Lake and south of Courageous Lake, yielded six prehistoric archaeological sites. Four are associated with esker deposits, one is on a bedrock ridge and the sixth appears to be on an old lake terrace/beach. All six contained varying quantities of primarily quartz flakes, most of them unworked; all unworked flakes were left in site. Three sites contained formed tools or fragments, which were collected because of the proximity of a recreational camp. The second survey area was located east of Matthews Lake and the abandoned Salmita mine. Two archaeological sites were recorded, one a windbreak likely relating to early mineral exploration and the other an isolated find (collected) consisting of a white chert artifact suggestive of the Arctic Small Tool tradition. Both sites are located on inland areas typified by scattered bedrock outcrops. The third survey area is south of Matthews Lake and yielded three prehistoric sites, all on elevated bedrock outcrops. One is an isolated find consisting of a formed biface fragment (collected) and the other two are lithic workshops/dense lithic scatters, with no visible formed tools.
The archaeological investigations conducted in 2003 suggest that the Courageous Lake Property is an important area archaeologically. Only a small portion of this area has been examined in any detail. If further exploration or development activities are proposed then additional archaeological research will be required. The historic Tundra Mine is located at the south end of Matthews Lake and was briefly examined in 2003. The buildings are deteriorating as a result of weather, time and vandalism.