Archaeological Fieldwork Reports for 2004
Twenty-two archaeological research permits were issued to 9 archaeologists for work in the NWT in 2004. Five of these permits (2004-944, 2004-946, 2004-957, 2004-959, 2004-960) were cancelled at the request of the permit holder and no work was conducted under their authority. Of the 17 permits remaining, 14 were for projects related to resource development impact assessment. Oil and gas development in the Mackenzie Delta, along the proposed Mackenzie Valley pipeline route, and in the Sahtu region, 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.
All reports compiled and edited by Tom Andrews, Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre
Mackenzie Delta Heritage Survey
Don Hanna (NWT Archaeologists Permit 2004-945)
In June of 2004, Bison Historical Services Ltd. and Axys Environmental Consulting Ltd. carried out a survey of heritage sites on northern Richards Island in the Mackenzie Delta on behalf of EnCana Corporation. Known sites were re-visited to ensure that they had not been damaged by last winter’s Burnt Lake drilling program. We also examined five 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. We did not excavate any materials at any sites and no artifacts or other cultural materials were collected.
Three known heritage sites were re-visited to evaluate the success of avoidance during the 2003-2004 EnCana Burnt Lake N-16 exploratory drilling program. None of these sites had been damaged by last winter’s Burnt Lake N-16 drilling activities. A new well site and access roads in the Burnt Lake area were also examined. Three unrecorded sites were identified near possible access routes. None of these sites will be impacted by the construction or use of the planned access routes. No known heritage sites will be damaged by the proposed Burnt Lake N-05 drilling activities.
A potential drilling program in the Corral Bay area was also examined. These investigations consisted of preliminary scouting of four possible well site locations and access north of Corral Bay. Each well site, sump location and access route was examined in detail from the air and on the ground.
Five unrecorded ancient heritage sites and two relatively recent traditional land-use localities were identified during these investigations. Where necessary, program elements were changed to ensure that no heritage sites would be impacted. Subsequent to these field examinations, EnCana has determined not to proceed with the Corral Bay drilling program. Consequently, no sites in the Corral Bay area will be impacted by proposed EnCana Corporation activities.
Summit Creek Heritage Survey
Don Hanna (NWT Archaeologists Permit 2004-947)
On July 12th and 13th of 2004, Bison Historical Services Ltd. carried out a brief 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. Fieldwork was based out of Tulita and carried out by helicopter over-flight and on foot. Investigations were carried out by Don Hanna of Bison Historical Services Ltd. and accompanied by Wilfred Lennie of Tulita, who acted as guide, advisor and wildlife monitor.
In 2003 Northrock drilled an oil well at B-44 near Summit Creek on the southwest flanks of the Flint Stone Range. This well was served by an access road extending 74 kilometres east to the Mackenzie River ice road. Our job in 2003 was to identify any heritage sites that might be threatened by Northrock’s construction program, and help Northrock develop ways to avoid all sites. In 2004 our role was to document successful avoidance of sites identified in 2003 and to examine new development areas that might contain heritage sites. Three known sites near Stewart Lake and within 100 metres of the Northrock access road were re-visited. No impacts to any known heritage sites as a result of the Northrock 2003-2004 Summit Creek B-44 exploratory drilling program were identified.
Northrock also proposes to drill a new oil well at one of four possible locations near Summit Creek during the winter of 2004-2005. Each of the possible well sites will require a short length of new access road connecting to the access road used last year. Each well site and access route was examined from the air and on foot and exploratory shovel tests were excavated at each proposed well site and at the planned camp location. No heritage sites were identified at any of these new locations. The proposed 2004-2005 Northrock Resources Ltd. drilling program in the Summit Creek area will impact no known heritage sites.
The Mckinley Bay Archaeology Project
Matthew Betts (NWT Archaeologists Permit 2004-948)
Ethnohistoric records suggest that a group of bowhead whalers, the Nuvorugmiut, inhabited the northern Tuktoyaktuk Peninsula during the early contact period. Unfortunately, our knowledge of this adaptation has been limited by both a sparse ethnohistoric record, and by severe coastal erosion, which has destroyed virtually all evidence of this socioeconomy. However, one site on the outer Tuktoyaktuk Peninsula, McKinley Bay (OaTi-1), discovered in 1985 by C. Arnold, has survived the erosion. Positioned directly adjacent to the former location of Nuvurak, one of the few bowhead whaling villages described during the contact period, the site presents a rare opportunity to understand coastal Nuvorugmiut lifeways.
The McKinley Bay Archaeology Project seeks to produce a socioeconomic reconstruction of these poorly understood bowhead whalers, and more broadly, to understand the relationship between economy and social systems in the Western Canadian Arctic. Brief test excavations were conducted at McKinley Bay in 1991, providing a reference point for continued work at the site. Between July 17th and August 7th, 2004, a crew of four returned to McKinley Bay to reassess the scope and integrity of the archaeological deposits, obtain a representative archaeological sample, and gauge the possibility of conducting larger scale excavations at the site in the future.
McKinley Bay is a prehistoric village site, composed of at least 13 semi-subterranean sod and driftwood structures that are roughly arranged along two rows. The northerly row contains six houses, which were generally larger and more robust than other houses at the site. The southerly row contains seven much smaller features, which were partially obscured by sand dunes that have developed in this area of the site. It is possible more features are present in this southerly row, which have been buried by the advancing sand. A comparison of the 2004 site plans and photos with those produced by Arnold in 1991 quite clearly indicates that substantial erosion has compromised parts of the site over the last 13 years. The extensive sand dunes, which once buffered the western portion of the site against the Beaufort Sea, are now almost completely eroded, and this destruction has begun to impact archaeological deposits, particularly the middens to the southwest of the site.
Consistent with this erosion, artifacts and bowhead whalebone were strewn in regular quantities on the beaches to the south and west of the site. The amount of worked whalebone recovered from the beaches, at some distance from the house clusters, suggests that whales were flensed and processed on the beaches. Enduring evidence for intensive processing of whales may be indicated by a greasy, oil soaked palaeosol, which leaches into a small, and thoroughly polluted, tundra pond to the southeast of the site, near the tundra/beach margin.
Subsurface investigations focused on a large semi-subterranean house structure, labelled Feature 2. Approximately 10 square metres of deposits were removed from the feature, in two transects. Although limited, the excavations reveal that Feature 2 was cruciform, with a carefully constructed floor of undressed driftwood logs laid side-by-side, and three low (ca. 20 cm in height) raised platforms, constructed from adzed planks and large logs. Over most of the floor, a thick (ca. 10cm), compacted layer of wood chips and shavings was discovered. This layer was likely part of the active floor, because abundant animal bones and artifacts, the result of domestic activities, were found throughout it.
Artifact styles suggest that the house was occupied sometime in the period circa 1400 AD to 1850 AD. The material culture recovered from the site is typical of the region, although it may include a number of specific attributes that are unique to the northern Tuktoyaktuk Peninsula. While the faunal analysis is still ongoing, some preliminary observations are possible. Surprisingly, the most abundant taxon in the assemblage was likely bowhead whale, represented by hundreds of small fragmented pieces of ribs and vertebra, and occasional phalanges. Other taxa, including ringed seal, duck, geese, and fish, occurred in more-or-less equal frequencies throughout the assemblage. Interestingly, much of the whalebone recovered appears to have been debris from the manufacture of tools and other artifacts, a situation congruent with the number of finished whalebone implements recovered.
Archaeological Activities at the Ekati Diamond Mine
Jean Bussey (NWT Archaeologists Permit 2004-949)
Jean Bussey of Points West Heritage Consulting Ltd. has conducted archaeological investigations for BHP Billiton Diamonds Inc. (BHPB) in its claim block north of Lac de Gras since 1994. Each year, she has undertaken to provide archaeological potential assessments, complete archaeological inventories, assess or mitigate sites and conduct tours of archaeological resources for interested groups. Primarily as a result of her work, there are now 198 recorded archaeological sites associated with the EKATI Diamond Mine. Sites located near development areas have been tested and mitigated through systematic data recovery consisting of subsurface examination and/or surface collection. Sites well removed from such activity areas have been recorded and are periodically revisited, but are otherwise avoided.
The majority of the recorded sites in the BHPB claim block are associated with eskers, but sites are also found on other terrain types, usually near the larger lakes. There are still many portions of the claim block that have not been inventoried because no development or exploration activity has been identified in the vicinity. An intensive inventory was conducted at the narrows between Lac de Gras and Lac du Sauvage in response to concerns identified by the Yellowknives Dene First Nation although no BHPB activity is currently proposed in this area. During this inventory, 17 new archaeological sites were recorded and there is potential for additional sites in the area. These sites are likely associated with caribou hunting since the narrows represents an important caribou crossing, but judging by its significance today, fishing may have also been an important prehistoric subsistence activity. A number of the sites in the BHPB claim block have yielded small chert tools suggestive of the Arctic Small Tool tradition, which likely dates 2500-3500 years before present in this area, but the majority of the archaeological sites in the claim block probably relate to the last 2500 years.
The majority of the sites near EKATI are best described as lithic scatters, sites that are characterized by unworked flakes of stone with an occasional tool. The most common lithic or stone material is quartz, which is usually white, but may also be clear, grey or slightly pink in colour. Quartz is found naturally as veins in the bedrock of the Lac de Gras area. In fact, EKATI was named for these fat-like veins. Quartz cobbles are also found naturally in the numerous eskers that cut through the claim block. It is suggested that both sources of quartz were utilized prehistorically to obtain the raw material for stone tool manufacture. Although most sites are associated with the prehistoric period, a number of traditional use sites have also been recorded in the BHPB claim block.
In 2004, no new development areas were identified and no land-based exploration was proposed or undertaken, thus, there was no need to conduct archaeological fieldwork. However, as part of their ongoing commitment to share information on the archaeological work conducted at EKATI, BHPB requested that Jean Bussey conduct tours. Unfortunately, only two groups were able to send representatives on the tours that were offered in late August and early September. Representing the Lutselk’e First Nation was Ernest Boucher. Representing the Yellowknives Dene First Nation were Mike Francis and Peter Sangris. During each of the two tours, five or six sites were visited on the ground and many more were pointed out from the air while conducting helicopter over flights. The sites were viewed over two days; with the eastern portion of the study area examined the first day and the western on the second. Sites throughout the study area were examined, not just those near existing pits or activity areas. Development areas were also viewed from the air and an explanation of the type of archaeological work conducted at such locations was provided.
Archaeological Investigations along the Tibbitt to Contwoyto Winter Road
Jean Bussey (NWT Archaeologists Permit 2004-950)
In 2004, 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. The winter road runs from the south end of Tibbitt Lake near Yellowknife to almost the north end of Contwoyto Lake in Nunavut. Field investigations in the Northwest Territories portion of the winter road involved a multi-disciplinary inspection tour conducted in June and the assessment of a possible gravel pit in August. This is the fourth consecutive 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. All, but six of these sites are situated in the NWT. Because the inventory was conducted nearly 20 years after construction of the road, there are some archaeological sites within 30 m of developed areas. 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 in 2002 are KiPb-2, KjPa-1, KkNv-9 and LcNs-140. During the 2003 investigations, all sites located near areas with current winter road activity were revisited to assess their status and markers were installed at an additional site along the winter road – LcNs-133.
The major objective of the 2004 field reconnaissance was to determine if markers had adequately protected sites. The markers erected at four of these sites consist of standard four-foot (1.2 m) wooden survey stakes that 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. For the same reason, it was necessary to install stakes immediately adjacent to the west side of LcNs-133. At the fifth site, 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.
In 2004, the stakes were intact at KiPb-2 and KjPa-1 and six needed replacement at KkNv-9. Six stakes were also damaged at LcNs-140, likely as a result of snow removal activity, and were replaced. Additional stakes were installed between the original ones at LcNs-140 as added protection. No disturbance was noted within the protected areas associated with these four sites, but tire tracks were evident on the surface of LcNs-133. Two stakes at this site were broken and were replaced. Additional markers were added between the original ones to prevent vehicle traffic from using the site area. All wooden stakes were sprayed with fluorescent orange paint to make them more visible.
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 wooden markers be sprayed with orange paint. No new tools were noted at the sites visited, but additional unworked flakes are evident on the surface of both LcNs-140 and LcNs-133. No artifacts were collected since the 2004 field investigations were conducted under a Class 1 NWT Archaeologists Permit.
During the June inspection tour, limited archaeological survey was conducted at two abandoned repeater station locations formerly associated with the winter road. The more southerly location did not contain any archaeological material. The location on Mackay Lake yielded one new prehistoric archaeological site, a lithic scatter consisting of scattered and concentrated unworked flakes along with at least two tools; all artifacts were left in situ (in place). The identification of a potential gravel pit on Burnt Island in Gordon Lake prompted an archaeological assessment, which was conducted in August 2004. In the process both recent and potentially historic mining remains were located.
The De Beers Canada Mining Inc. Snap Lake Project
Jean Bussey (NWT Archaeologists Permit 2004-951)
Jean Bussey of Points West Heritage Consulting Ltd. conducted archaeological investigations for De Beers Canada Mining Inc. at Snap Lake in 2004. She previously conducted investigations on this property in 1998, 1999, 2001 and 2003. In 2004, the investigations involved the examination or monitoring of previously recorded sites and limited new inventory. Also working on this project were Bonnie Campbell of Points West and Darren Rabesca of the Dogrib Dene First Nation.
Past archaeological reconnaissance associated with the Snap Lake Project 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 judged to be 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 representatives of the North Slave Metis Alliance (NSMA). At the recommendation of the NSMA, De Beers arranged for the installation of protective markers on the portage where KkNv-6 is located (Photo 1). The positioning of these markers was examined in 2004 to ensure that the site was accurately identified.
During the 2004 investigations, the entire length of the Snap Lake winter access road was flown to ensure no recorded archaeological sites had been disturbed. During this over flight, a number of recorded sites were visited on the ground. Three of the five sites recorded near Portage 1 were revisited, as were all three sites located near Portage 2. At Portage 2, a few unworked flakes exposed since KkNv-6 was mitigated in 2001 were noted on surface, but were left in situ since the markers have provided added site protection. Also in this area, KkNv-8 was examined because of concerns that thin ice might require a revised portage in future. It was determined that KkNv-8 is on slightly elevated terrain (Photo 2) that would be easily avoidable and does not provide a suitable crossing for a winter road. A number of sites associated with Portages 3 and 4 were revisited. All sites examined are intact and are sufficiently distant from or far enough above the access road that they are not threatened by its use. The sites near Portages 5 and 6 were not revisited, but were viewed from the air and have not been affected by use of the winter road.
Also as part of the 2004 investigations, archaeological inventory was conducted at three locations. One survey involved a new portage located between the originally assessed Portages 2 and 3 on the Snap Lake access road. This area was examined from the air and ground and is primarily suggestive of low archaeological potential. Foot traverses were undertaken on two slightly elevated bedrock-based landforms, one within the portage and one to the west. No archaeological resources were encountered. The second inventory area involved a bypass to Portage 6 utilized during the winter of 2002-2003 when thin ice precluded the use of the original portage. No archaeological evidence was located in the vicinity of this bypass. The third area of inventory involved the most northwesterly portion of the Snap Lake mine footprint. The shoreline in this area was walked for several kilometers and no archaeological sites were encountered. The entire mine footprint has now been adequately assessed and provided KkNv-6 is avoided and the portages are not revised, no further archaeological investigation is required along the Snap Lake winter access road.
Archaeological Investigations for the Gahcho Kue Project
Jean Bussey (NWT Archaeologists Permit 2004-952)
Points West Heritage Consulting Ltd. conducted archaeological investigations for De Beers Canada Mining Inc. at their Gahcho Kue Project in 2004. The project is located at Kennady Lake, which is approximately 300 km east/northeast of Yellowknife and west of Walmsley Lake. Jean Bussey directed the field investigations and was assisted by Gabriella Prager, also of Points West, and Henry Basil and Aaron Catholique of the Lutselk’e First Nation. The archaeological work was conducted under a Class 2 NWT Archaeologists Permit and was primarily concerned with the relocation and/or assessment of previously recorded archaeological sites associated with the proposed diamond mine and its ancillary facilities.
Twenty-six previously recorded sites located within 1 km of the proposed Gahcho Kue mine were relocated and assessed. Subsurface testing was conducted at fifteen of these sites and they, in conjunction with an isolated find that was previously collected, were judged to be suggestive of low archaeological significance. This testing along with the preparation of updated site maps and surface collection, where relevant, is judged to be sufficient mitigation in the event these sites are threatened by the proposed mine development. At the remaining ten sites, detailed surface examination was judged to be sufficient to suggest that three sites have high archaeological significance and the other seven have low-moderate to moderate significance. Systematic data recovery consisting of subsurface excavation and surface collection is recommended at each of the three highly significant sites if avoidance is not feasible. Testing of the seven sites with low-moderate to moderate significance is recommended and it is likely that subsurface excavation and/or systematic surface collection will also be necessary at some of these sites if they can not be avoided. Additional archaeological inventory was conducted in areas that had not been previously examined or where revised development plans were identified in the area of Kennady Lake. No new archaeological sites were discovered.
Recorded archaeological sites located along the winter road route to Mackay Lake were also revisited. Emphasis was placed on visiting sites nearest to the land-based portages although aerial reconnaissance was conducted to ensure other sites were sufficiently above or distant from the route. A total of 20 sites were revisited. The majority of the 20 sites, and all sites that were not revisited, are situated over 30 m from the winter road route or are on elevated landforms that would not likely be crossed even if there was a route revision. Several sites, however, are located on low landforms near the existing route and require periodic monitoring to ensure they are not impacted, while a few sites are very near abandoned sections of the winter road route. One recorded site will require testing to determine if more intensive data recovery is justified and one new site was discovered, but is avoidable.
Ten previously recorded sites were relocated along the esker complex south of Kennady Lake. Two sections of this esker were traversed on foot to assist in the selection of areas where aggregate or other samples could be collected without disturbing archaeological sites. No new archaeological sites were discovered.
Archaeological Activities at the Courageous Lake Property
Jean Bussey (Northwest Territories Archaeologists permit 2004-953)
In 2003, exploration activity prompted archaeological investigations in the vicinity of Courageous Lake on behalf of Seabridge Gold Inc. In 2004, archaeological activities formed one component of a number of tours conducted on the property and a number of drill locations were assessed. Work in both years was directed by Jean Bussey of Points West Heritage Consulting Ltd. and was conducted through EBA Engineering Consultants Ltd.
To provide background, in 2003 a total of 14 new sites were recorded. Two graves, the location of a possible tent camp likely used during an early phase of mineral exploration and a log cabin were recorded north of Courageous Lake. Between Matthews and Courageous lakes six archaeological sites were found. Four are associated with esker deposits, one is on a bedrock ridge and the sixth site is on an old lake terrace/beach. All six sites contain varying quantities of quartz flakes, most of them unworked. Two archaeological sites were recorded east of Matthews Lake. One is a windbreak likely relating to early mineral exploration and the other is an isolated find consisting of a white chert artifact suggestive of the Arctic Small Tool tradition (approximately 2500 to 3500 years before present). Both sites are located in an area typified by scattered bedrock outcrops. To the south of Matthews Lake three prehistoric sites were found on elevated bedrock outcrops. One is an isolated find consisting of a stone tool fragment and the other two are lithic workshops and/or dense lithic scatters.
The investigations conducted in 2003 suggest that portions of the Courageous Lake Property contain landforms with archaeological potential. Only a small portion of this area was examined in detail and it was recommended that further work be conducted in advance of development and/or exploration. Seabridge conducted exploration drilling in 2004 and a post-activity archaeological examination was completed. The drilling activity occurred in areas with low archaeological potential or in locations that had been examined previously with negative results for archaeological sites although one drill hole was just over 30 m from a site. These 2004 investigations confirm that further work should be conducted in advance of any new exploration or development activity.
While Jean Bussey was present at the Courageous Lake property in 2004, representatives of the Lutselk’e First Nation, Yellowknives Dene First Nation and Dogrib Treaty 11 Council visited one or more archaeological site. Representing the Lutselk’e First Nation were Maryrose Enzoe, Windi Skye (Sai) Catholique, Jordan Michel, Gary Michel and Monica Krieger. Representing the Yellowknives were Noel Doctor, Peter Sangris, Michel Paper, Frank Paper, Leo Betsina, Alfred Balligeon and Louis Azzolini. Representing the Dogrib were Eddie Erasmus, James Rabesca, Georgina Chocolate, Joe Migwi and Joline Huskey. Since the major emphasis of the tours was the exploration activity, limited archaeological discussion occurred and only one or two sites were visited with each group. However, Joe Migwi provided useful information on the cabin and burials found to the north of Courageous Lake in 2003.
Archaeological Investigations for Chevron Canada Resources on Ellice, Garry and Niglintgak Islands
Wendy J. Unfreed (NWT Archaeologists Permit 2004-954)
On behalf of Kavik-AXYS Inc., as agents for Chevron Canada Resources, Wendy Unfreed of FMA Heritage Resources Consultants Inc. conducted two archaeological investigations that were grouped together under Northwest Territories Class 2 Archaeologists Permit #2004-954. These investigations included an archaeological impact assessment of two proposed well locations related to the proposed 2004-2006 Ellice Taktuk Drilling Program and an archaeological field overview of an area that will be explored during the Garry 3D Seismic Program. The project areas, which are located in the outer Mackenzie Delta, are focused in the vicinities of Ellice, Garry and Niglintgak Islands, approximately 120 kilometres north of Inuvik, NWT.
The proposed 2004-2006 Ellice Taktuk Drilling Program is located on Ellice Island, on the western portion of the outer Mackenzie Delta. Situated within Crown Land in the Inuvialuit Settlement Region (ISR), the program involves the drilling of an exploratory natural gas wells (the West Ellice well), as well as the expansion and testing of an existing well that was drilled in 2003-2004 (well I-48). Drilling at the three locations is scheduled to commence during winter 2004-2005, although some of this work may be carried through to completion during the winter of 2005-2006.
The I-48 and West Ellice well locations were subject to surface examination and subsurface (shovel) testing in an attempt to ascertain whether they were in conflict with any archaeological deposits. Based on the investigation of the two well sites, it was noted that both are situated in low-lying areas of Ellice Island and a small adjacent island to the northwest, all of which are subject to seasonal flooding. This information, combined with that provided by an Inuvialuit Elder who accompanied the field crew, led to the interpretation that the two well site areas possess low potential for the identification of archaeological sites. Surface examination and shovel testing did not result in the identification of any archaeological deposits. One site of traditional concern, however, was identified adjacent to the West Ellice well site. This was found in the form of a burial (site NhTx 1), observed on the crest of a pingo approximately 300 metres southeast of the proposed West Ellice sump location. Due to the sensitive nature of this site, it was recommended that three steps be taken to preserve the location: (1) that development respect a 100 metre buffer around the site as a ‘no impact’ zone; (2) that unnecessary visitors within this zone be discouraged from visiting the site, to avoid hastened erosion or vandalism; and (3) that local community Elders be consulted to gain insight about the location and determine a culturally relevant mode of treatment for the site.
The Garry 3D Seismic Program is located on land surrounding the mouth of the Middle Channel of the Mackenzie River. It covers an area of approximately 144 km2, and includes portions of Garry and Niglintgak Islands, as well as part of a third unnamed island on the outer Delta and adjacent sections of the mainland channel. Situated within ISR lands, the program will extend into areas protected by the Canadian Wildlife Service as the Kendall Island Bird Sanctuary.
The investigation of the Garry 3D Seismic areas involved an intensive surface examination of a sample of areas within the proposed seismic exploration area, as well as adjacent areas on the Middle Channel of the Mackenzie River that will be used as campsite and staging locations. Based on the results of the investigation, two archaeological sites and one traditional site were identified. The archaeological sites were comprised of two isolated artifact finds, while the traditional site was interpreted as a fishing camp. The traditional site (site NiTw 3) and one isolated artifact find (site NiTw 2) were identified on the southern sand spit of Garry Island, while the remaining artifact find (site NiTw 4) was noted on a mid-slope area of the highest landform of Niglintgak Island. The remainder of the study area, outside Garry Island and the central portion of Niglintgak Island, were found to be low areas of mud flats and sandbars subject to seasonal flood as part of the active Mackenzie Delta. Based on these observations, combined with insights provided by an Inuvialuit Elder who accompanied the field crew, an interpretation was made that the areas of highest potential for the identification of older archaeological and traditional sites would be in the higher ice-thrust landform areas of Garry Island and central Niglintgak Island. The areas of the active delta and associated sand spits, although obviously important for modern site location such as NiTw 3, were considered to be of lower potential for the identification of archaeological materials. This is considered to be the result of a combination of factors, including the removal of evidence through water flooding or the burying of evidence through alluvial silting.
Based on the results of the field overview assessment conducted for the Garry 3D Seismic program, it was recommended that the areas of the three identified sites (two archaeological sites, one traditional site) be protected by identifying a large ‘impact-free’ buffer zone around them. With this buffer, the integrity of each of these locations can be preserved both from primary and secondary impacts. For the remainder of the area, no archaeological or traditional sites were identified in conflict with the objectives of the Garry 3D Seismic Program. As additional development occurs in the region, however, more detailed models of archaeological site probability should be developed and tested with field reconnaissance. Creation of these models will be greatly facilitated through consultation with local community Elders.
Archaeological Surveys Around Great Slave Lake
Callum Thomson (NWT Archaeologists Permit 2004-955)
The Great Slave Lake investigations comprised four parts. In early July, Callum Thomson and Mike Beauregard, Project Geologist for Snowfield Development Corp., conducted boat-assisted surveys on the coastline and several kilometres into the interior between Drybones Bay and Matonabbee Bay. Alfred Baillargeon, Modeste Sangris, Morris Martin and Paul Mackenzie from the Yellowknives Dene First Nation (YKDFN) joined them for the last two days. The objective was to locate sites that may be affected during Snowfield’s mineral exploration activities, expand the site inventory developed during a preliminary survey in the area by the YKDFN, Randy Freeman, and Callum Thomson in 2003 (NWT Permit 2003-927), and assess the need for any mitigation measures to protect sites during exploration.
Forty new precontact and early historic sites and three recent sites were found during our five days of survey on more than 30 km of access trails, cut lines, exploration grids and lake shoreline. Sites were found primarily on exposed bedrock outcrops close to lakes and ponds. Some contained worked quartz veins and stone tools, indicating precontact occupation of the area. No sites had been affected by previous exploration activities and, in general, there seemed to be little potential for conflict between planned exploration activities and heritage resources in this area. In August, a follow-up survey was conducted by helicopter of several additional claim blocks east of Drybones Bay. Rachel Crapeau of the YKDFN Land and Environment Committee accompanied Mike Beauregard and Callum Thomson. No sites were found. Although archaeological potential was judged to be high in some parts of the Snowfield claim blocks, the planned winter exploration programme, which mostly involves lake-ice drilling and use of existing winter trails, was considered unlikely to negatively affect any heritage resources.
The second part of the survey involved more intensive work between Francois Bay and Gros Cap, then focused on the east shore of the North Arm, northwest of Yellowknife Bay, and the west shore of North Arm between Whitebeach Point and Alexander Point. Forty-two more new sites were found, including fish camps, old cabin sites, cemeteries, and a large number of precontact sites on sandy terraces on the west side of the North Arm, several of which had been disturbed by sand and gravel quarrying operations.
The third and fourth parts of the project involved two phases of boat-assisted survey in July and August of parts of the north shore of the East Arm and the North Arm of Great Slave Lake with representatives of the YKDFN Alfred Baillargeon, Peter Sangris, Modeste Sangris, Paul Mackenzie and Mike Francis. The first part of the survey area extended from Taltheilei Narrows on East Arm to Gros Cap, south of Matonabbee Bay. Thirty-three new sites were found, including at least three precontact sites containing quartz veins and tools, two cemeteries, a trading post site, six old cabin sites and more than 30 boulder features such as tent rings and hide-drying rings.
Overall, the finding and interpretation of 115 new archaeological sites in two weeks of surveys, added to the 61 new sites found in the vicinity of Drybones Bay in 2003, has contributed greatly to the picture of land use around Great Slave Lake by the Yellowknives Dene and other contemporary, historic and precontact groups over several millennia. These results suggest that a need exists for intensive surveys wherever major exploration and development projects are planned around Great Slave Lake, and indicates that collaborative research and field survey projects by archaeologists and Aboriginal people are beneficial.
Mackenzie Gas Project Heritage Resources Program
Grant Clarke (NWT Archaeologists Permit 2004-956)
The 2004 program marks the third field season on the Mackenzie Gas Project. A consortium comprised of Imperial Resources Ventures Ltd., the Aboriginal Pipeline Group, ConocoPhillips Canada Ltd., Shell Canada Limited, and ExxonMobil Canada Properties Ltd is proposing the project.
At present, the project includes plans to develop: natural gas production facilities at Taglu, Parsons Lake, and Niglintgak; a gathering system that will collect the natural gas and associated gas liquids from these three fields and transport them to facilities in the Inuvik area; a natural gas liquids pipeline from the Inuvik area to Norman Wells; a natural gas pipeline (the Mackenzie Valley Pipeline) from the Inuvik area south via Norman Wells that will connect to an existing pipeline in northwest Alberta allowing access to the market; and a number of infrastructure locations that will be required to support the construction and continued operation of the pipeline.
A team of archaeologists from MPEG (the Mackenzie Project Environment Group) conducted the 2004 archaeological field program. As the program is wide spread along the Mackenzie Valley numerous local assistants were also involved with the fieldwork and included:
- Inuvialuit Region: Dennis Chicksi, Tommy Chicksi, Robert McLeod, James Rogers
- Gwich’in Area: Julie Ann Andre, Andy Andre, Anna May MacLeod
- K’ahsho Got’ine Sahtu Area: Alfred Orleas, Alfred Masazumi
- Tulita Sahtu Area: Peter Horassi
- Pehdzeh Ki First Nation – Deh Cho Region: George Tally, William Williams
- Trout Lake Dene Band – Deh Cho Region: Fred Jumbo, Ron Kotchea
- Liidlii Kue First Nation – Deh Cho Region: Edward Cholo
- Jean Marie River First Nation – Deh Cho Region: Derrick Norwegian, Raymond Minoza, Darran Gorgon
The 2004 field program was focused primarily on a number of potential infrastructure and granular resource extraction sites that are situated along roughly 1,400 kilometres of proposed pipeline route stretching from the tip of the Mackenzie Delta to the Alberta border. The primary goal of the 2004 program was to conduct heritage resource impact investigations at newly proposed sites as well as to further investigate sites that could not be assessed in 2003 due to snow cover. Reconnaissance level investigations were also conducted for several pipeline re-routes in locations that were considered to be of moderate to high potential for heritage resources. A number of post-impact assessments were also conducted in areas that were with a winter drilling program that was completed in the winter of 2003/2004. Two crews of three people including a local assistant completed the investigations. Ground based assessments were conducted at over 100 locations resulting in the discovery of 20 new heritage resource sites over a period of 30 days. Thirteen previously recorded heritage sites were also re-visited.
Both prehistoric and historic sites were recorded as a result of these investigations. All of the prehistoric sites identified during the 2004 field program are comprised of stone flakes and other debris resulting from the manufacture of stone tools. Historic period sites were more common and include a number of trails, traplines, cabins, and camps that are primarily related to traditional land use.
Colville Lake Heritage Survey
Don Hanna (NWT Archaeologists Permit 2004-958)
Between August 2nd and 7th of 2004, Bison Historical Services Ltd. carried out an archaeological survey for heritage sites in the general vicinity of Colville Lake, NWT. These investigations were carried out at the request of Northern EnviroSearch Ltd. on behalf of Apache Canada Ltd. and Paramount Resources Ltd. Fieldwork was based out of Norman Wells and carried out by helicopter over-flight and on foot. Investigations were carried out by Don Hanna and Bob Steinhauser of Bison Historical Services Ltd. and accompanied by Rhea MacDonald of Norman Wells and Robert Kochon of Colville Lake, who acted as guides, advisors and wildlife monitors. Examination consisted of helicopter over flight, on-foot surface examination and judgemental shovel testing.
There were three objectives to this study:
- To examine existing well sites drilled by Paramount and Apache to determine if any heritage sites had been damaged by drilling;
- To look at proposed new well site locations to ensure that no heritage sites are damaged;
- To examine selected portions of the access routes associated with these well sites to identify heritage sites that might be impacted.
Two well sites and portions of access road in the Turton Lake area were examined. One recent traditional land-use locality was identified near the access route. The planned drilling program won’t damage this locality. Four well sites and portions of access road in the vicinity of Lac Maunoir were examined. A prehistoric lithic scatter and a relatively recent traditional land-use camp were identified near the already existing access route. Neither of these sites will be damaged by use of the access road. One well site and portions of access road in the vicinity of Tunago Lake were examined. A large traditional land-use camp area was identified on the northeast side of Tunago Lake. This concentration of land-use locales includes cabins, tent frames, stages, deadfall traps and other signs of intensive land use. One of these old camp locales, consisting of the remains of tent frames, stages and other camp debris is close to a proposed water uptake area on Tunago Lake. If necessary the access road will be adjusted to avoid this locality. Six well sites and portions of access road in the Nogha vicinity were also examined. Two traditional land-use camp areas were identified near Lac Belot. Both of these locales are well away from proposed access routes and will not be damaged. Two old traditional land-use locales were also identified on the north end of Tweed Lake. These locales are well away from proposed access routes and will not be damaged.
The planned 2004-2005 drilling programs of Apache Canada Ltd. and Paramount Resources Ltd. in the Colville Lake area will damage no known heritage sites.
Tyhee Yellowknife Gold Project
Gabriella Prager (NWT Archaeologists Permit 2004-961)
In July 2004, on behalf of Tyhee NWT Corp., Points West Heritage Consulting Ltd. completed archaeological assessments relative to proposed mining developments. This project is near the old Discovery Mine, abandoned in 1969, and located approximately 85 km north of Yellowknife. The original Discovery Mine is situated on Giauque Lake, but the two current proposed developments are on Winter Lake, known as the Discovery property (a short distance west of Giauque Lake) and on Nicholas Lake to the northeast, approximately 12 km apart. Both properties have previously excavated exploratory shafts, which are to be reopened and developed.
Archaeological assessments were conducted of proposed development areas identified on a conceptual plan received from EBA Engineering in June 2004. Planned facility locations are fairly preliminary, therefore, archaeological field work was aimed at providing a combination of impact assessments of those more firmly defined developments as well as overview assessments of possible development areas. The latter were meant to provide indications of archaeological potential and to identify specific locations where fieldwork may be required. Impact assessments consisted of pedestrian surveys together with shovel testing where necessary. Overview assessments were completed using low and slow aerial over flights as well as pedestrian surveys of selected portions.
Ground reconnaissance was conducted in the vicinity surrounding the proposed mine on the Discovery property, the entire perimeter of Round Lake (the proposed tailings pond), a possible waste rock storage area west of the mine site, as well as selected portions of the terrain surrounding the Nicholas mine site. Several transects were also walked over a large, broad, rocky ridge extending west from the old Discovery Mine town site, past the current camp location to the north end of Narrow Lake. Old mining debris and various structural remains associated with the past mining activities were found scattered over this ridge. An esker identified as a possible gravel source southwest of Giauque Lake was also walked. A broad exposed area at the south end was shovel tested, and an old gravel borrow at the north end contained extensive exposures that were closely inspected.
Low-level helicopter over flights were completed of the general route for a road between Discovery and Nicholas Lake properties as well as the northern two-thirds of the old winter road between Discovery property and Yellowknife. This provided a good indication of terrain suggestive of archaeological potential where ground reconnaissance will be necessary when routes are finalized. These landforms generally consist of elevated terrain near the larger water bodies.
Heritage resources found this season were all associated with past mining activities, with one possible exception. Some camp remains found on the south side of Round Lake may relate to Aboriginal hunting activities, but this site did not appear to contain any evidence suggestive of a date older than 50 years. Additional archaeological assessments will be required when locations of all ancillary developments have been finalized.
Archaeological Investigations at Minto Inlet, Victoria Island
Donald S. Johnson (NWT Archaeologists Permit 2004-962)
Archaeological investigations (in conjunction with sociocultural investigations, Hamlet of Holman, Victoria Island, Northwest Territories) were conducted between July 26th and August 15th, 2004 in the Boot Inlet Area, and the Fish Bay Area of Minto Inlet, Victoria Island, Northwest Territories. The archaeological investigations represent the second field season in a two-year project, and focus on an assessment of mid-19th century direct and indirect contact and 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 one of 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, Walker Bay and environs.
Field surveys were conducted in the immediate Boot Inlet area – including the Isthmus (itanyak) connecting Winter Cove, Walker Bay, and the northern extremity of Boot Inlet – and much of the Fish Bay area of northwest Minto Inlet. A total of approximately twenty-four sites, comprising historic Copper Inuit tent rings and caches, Royal Navy habitation, cache and survey features and one site preliminarily identified as Neoeskimo, 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 was present. All recovered items are now undergoing conservation procedures.
As was the case with the survey conducted in 2003, preliminary results of the 2004 field survey continue to suggest that Northern Copper Inuit groups interacting with the officers and crew of H.M.S. Enterprise in the Winter Cove, Walker Bay, and Boot Inlet areas ca. 1851-52, acquired numerous manufactured items of European origin. Some 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, Boot Inlet 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 and Trappers Committee, Holman, Victoria Island, Northwest Territories. Aaron Kimiksana and Jack Kataoyak of Holman served as Research Assistants. Other invaluable support in the field and in Holman was provided by Joseph Haluksit, Donald Inuktalik, Aaron and Susie Kimiksana, and the 1st Canadian Ranger Patrol Group, Holman, Northwest Territories. 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 Environment and Geography, University of Manitoba; Dr. Rick Riewe, Department of Zoology, University of Manitoba; Dr. William “Skip” Koolage, Department of Anthropology, University of Manitoba; Dr. James Savelle, Department of Anthropology, McGill University, Vermilion Community College, Ely, Minnesota, Will Steger, Ely, Minnesota, Margaret O’Leary, Salamander Bay, Australia and Dylan Morgan, Ottawa, Canada.
Heritage Resources Impact Assessment of Fortune Minerals Nico All-Weather Access Road
Todd Paquin (NWT Archaeologists Permit 2004-963)
Todd Paquin of Golder Associates Ltd. completed an archaeological inventory and assessment under NWT Permit 2004-963 for an all-weather access road proposed by Fortune Minerals to service their mine operation near Nico Lake, NWT. The mine property is located about 10 km east of Hislop Lake in the Marian basin, and the proposed access road will proceed approximately 50 km west and south from this location to an existing access road leading west to the village of Wah Ti. Edward Williah and Leon Nasken of the Dogrib First Nation and Marcel Lafferty of the North Slave Métis Alliance assisted with the investigations.
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. Map and aerial photograph mosaic analysis served as an orientation to the Project area landforms and their heritage resource potential.
The all-weather access road is in the preliminary planning stage of development; thus, field investigations focused on a 100 m wide proposed corridor. The aim of the pedestrian survey and shovel-testing program were to assess landforms considered to exhibit moderate to high potential for heritage resources. These included river and creek crossings, uplands, ridges and elevated areas adjacent to water bodies. In addition, a potential conflict was noted with previously recorded heritage resource KjPo-44 at the proposed Marian River crossing. Emphasis was placed on relocating the site to develop a mitigation strategy should a conflict exist.
In total 225 shovel tests were excavated along the proposed corridor. No artifacts were recovered from these tests. The Dogrib First Nation and North Slave Métis assistants indicated that use of the area away from the Marian River was limited and significant heritage resources were not expected.
Heritage resource KjPo-44, an approximately 450 m long portage trail site along the southern bank of the Marian River, occurs in conflict with a proposed bridge location. Shovel testing immediately adjacent to the trail and in the near vicinity did not result in the identification of intact cultural components. However, portages are an important component of the Dogrib cultural landscape and considered highly significant. A recommendation for avoidance of this site has been made to mitigate impacts from construction activities.
Additionally, visual examinations encountered one claim post, one trail and three small metal traps. The three metal traps occur along cleared winter roads while the trail exhibits trees cut by chainsaw. In recent times, Aboriginal harvesters on snowmobile would access these trapping locations. The claim post lacks an identification plaque but is consistent in size and structure with claim posts from ca. 1968 identified during a 2003 heritage assessment of the Nico Mine property. None of these areas contains evidence of antiquity greater than 50 years and are not considered archaeological resources under the current provisions of the NWT Archaeological Sites Regulations (GNWT 2001).
All moderate and high potential landforms were examined within the proposed all-weather access road corridor. The crossing of the Marian River must be rerouted to avoid impacting KjPo-44. As a result, additional heritage assessment will be required at the new crossing location, once determined. No heritage concerns were noted for the remainder of the proposed Fortune Minerals all-weather access road corridor. Given that local area traditional users are known to use the region, consultations, directed at determining impacts to local harvesting activities, is recommended.
Mackenzie River Winter Road Bridges Project
Don Hanna (NWT Archaeologists Permit 2004-964)
In August of 2004, Bison Historical Services Ltd. and Sahtu Environmental Services Inc. carried out a survey of heritage sites at a series of bridge locations on the Mackenzie River winter road. The Department of Transportation of the Government of the Northwest Territories is in the process of building forty permanent bridges along the Mackenzie Valley Winter Road between Wrigley and Fort Good Hope. The Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre in Yellowknife recommended that fifteen of these planned bridge installations should be examined by an archaeologist to make sure that no heritage sites would be damaged by construction.
Sahtu Environmental Services Ltd. sub-contracted Don Hanna of Bison Historical Services Ltd. to carry out the required investigations. Fieldwork was based out of Norman Wells and carried out by helicopter and on foot. The area of each bridge crossing was extensively shovel tested. Accompanying Don Hanna were Bob Steinhauser of Bison Historical Services Ltd. and Thomas Manuel of Norman Wells. Bridge locations examined include those located at Blackwater River, Little Smith Creek, Big Smith Creek, Denise Creek, Rachelle Creek, Jackfish Creek, Jungle Ridge Creek, Christina Creek, Hellava Creek, Francis Creek, Elliot Creek, Gibson South, Gibson North, Tsintu River and Lynn Creek.
No heritage sites were found at Denise Creek, Jackfish Creek, Jungle Ridge Creek, Christina Creek, Hellava Creek, Francis Creek, Elliot Creek, Gibson South, Gibson North and Lynn Creek.
Two relatively recent traditional land-use localities were identified near the Rachelle Creek crossing. Neither will be impacted by the proposed bridge construction. A recorded traditional land-use site and an unknown traditional land-use site were identified at the Tsintu River crossing. Neither will be impacted by the proposed bridge construction. A small prehistoric site was identified at the Little Smith crossing. This site has already been damaged by bridge construction. However, this site has very limited importance. Four recorded ancient sites lie near the Big Smith Creek crossing. However, examination of this crossing indicates that none will be damaged by the planned bridge construction. Four recorded heritage sites are known to lie near the Blackwater River crossing. However, examination of this crossing indicates that none will be damaged by the planned bridge construction.
Mackay Lake Archaeological Survey
Callum Thomson (NWT Archaeologists Permit 2004-965)
In late September, on behalf of the Yellowknives Dene First Nation (YKDFN), Callum Thomson joined Noel Doctor, Paul Mackenzie and Angus Martin for seven days of boat-assisted surveys from the MacKay Lake Lodge to Warburton Bay, areas traditionally used by the YKDFN for caribou hunting and trapping. While we lost a great deal of time to bad weather and a faulty outboard motor which prevented us from visiting many planned target areas, we were able to record 40 new sites, 33 of which contained precontact stone tools and 12 of which contained boulder features such as tent rings and hearths. Many of the sites were associated with eskers, including three that had been disturbed by runway construction at MacKay Lake Lodge. During our two days at the Warburton Bay camp, more than 500 caribou, in small herds of 50-200, were seen resting at narrow lake crossings on their way south to the tree line.
This was the first intensive archaeological survey around MacKay Lake since the late1960s, when William Noble recorded several sites, and suggests that many more sites associated with caribou hunting, trapping, fishing and travel on the lake remain to be found. As at Great Slave Lake (see Permit 2004-955), it is recommended that archaeological surveys and assessments be undertaken prior to any major exploration or development project around MacKay Lake, with the research involving collaboration between experienced archaeologists and aboriginal groups familiar with the local environment and resources.