Archaeological Fieldwork Reports for 2006
Thirteen archaeological research permits were issued to 7 archaeologists for work in the NWT in 2007. Of these permits, 2006-991 was cancelled at the request of the permit holder and no work was conducted. Of the 12 permits remaining, 9 were for projects related to resource development impact assessment, 2 were for projects related to NWT transportation systems and one was part of an ongoing traditional knowledge project. 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 Shelley Brookes, Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre
Mackenzie Gas Project Heritage Resources Program
Sean Webster (NWT Archaeological Permit 2006-978)
The 2006 Heritage Resources Program represents the fourth field season associated with the Mackenzie Gas Project. The project is being proposed by a consortium of companies including Imperial Oil Resources Ventures Ltd., the Aboriginal Pipeline Group, ConocoPhillips Canada Ltd., Shell Canada Limited, and ExxonMobil Canada Properties Ltd.
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 north-western 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.
The 2006 field program was conducted by a team of archaeologists from the Mackenzie Project Environment Group. Numerous local assistants were also involved with the fieldwork and included:
- Inuvialuit Region: Dennis Chicksi, Robert McLeod
- Gwich’in Area: Allen Firth, Fred Jerome
- K’ahsho Got’ine Sahtu Area: Alfred Orleas, Barthy Kotchile, Jean Marie Rabisca, Leon Taureau
- Tulita Sahtu Area: Frederick Andrew, Pearl Lennie, Shawn Etchinelle
- Pehdzeh Ki First Nation – Deh Cho Region: Darcy Moses, Justin Clillie, Katie Antoine, Lawrence Nayally
- Trout Lake Dene Band – Deh Cho Region: Tony Jumbo, Fred Punch
- Liidlii Kue First Nation – Deh Cho Region: Edward Cholo
- Jean Marie River First Nation – Deh Cho Region: Tod Minoza
The 2006 field program focused primarily on conducting heritage resource impact assessments at 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. Investigations were also conducted in areas that are planned to be geotechnically tested during the 2007 winter drilling program. Investigations were completed by three crews of three to four people including a local assistant. Ground based assessments were conducted at over 215 locations resulting in the discovery of 55 new heritage resource sites. Fourteen previously recorded heritage sites were also re-visited.
Both prehistoric and historic sites were recorded as a result of these investigations. Archaeological sites recorded include both large and small lithic scatters, several exposed hearths, four burials, an isolated projectile point and several historic trails. One of the sites also included a microblade and several microblade cores. Traditional land use sites were also commonly recorded and include a number of trails, traplines, cabins, camps, and wood gathering areas.
Archaeological Activities at the Ekati Diamond Mine
Jean Bussey (NWT Archaeological Permit 2006-979)
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 and mitigate sites or conduct tours of archaeological resources for interested groups. Archaeological sites located near development areas have been tested and mitigated through systematic data recovery consisting of subsurface excavation 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 BHBP 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. The majority of the sites near EKATI are best described as lithic scatters, sites that are characterized by unworked flakes of stone and may include an occasional tool. The most common lithic or stone material is quartz, which is found naturally as veins in the bedrock of the Lac de Gras area. Quartz cobbles are also found naturally in the numerous eskers in the claim block and it is suggested that both sources of quartz were used prehistorically for stone tool manufacture.
A number of the sites in the BHPB claim block have yielded small chert tools suggestive of the Arctic Small Tool tradition, which may date 2500-3500 years before present, but the majority of the archaeological sites probably relate to activities conducted in the last 2500 years. Although most sites are associated with the prehistoric period, a number of traditional use sites have also been identified with the assistance of interested First Nations.
Mistrelle Lockhart, of Points West, and Peter Sangris of the Yellowknives Dene First Nation assisted with the archaeological field work conducted at EKATI in July. The 2006 field investigations involved examination of 16 proposed exploration locations, two potential wind turbine farm localities and three possible options for access routes to an advanced exploration area. Archaeological investigations involved a combination of aerial examination using a helicopter and ground reconnaissance. Areas with moderate or greater archaeological potential were traversed on foot and exposures and bedrock outcrops within the development areas were closely examined. No new archaeological sites were discovered in 2006, but in total there are 199 sites recorded in the BHPB claim block.
Archaeological Investigations for the Tibbitt to Contwoyto Winter Road
Jean Bussey (NWT Archaeological Permit 2006-980)
In 2006, 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 main winter road runs from the south end of Tibbitt Lake near Yellowknife to almost the north end of Contwoyto Lake in Nunavut. In late 2006, a secondary route was identified at the southern end of this winter road. If used, this secondary route will head west from West Bay on Gordon Lake to the vicinity of the old Discovery Mine and then south to Prosperous Lake, which is accessible by paved road. This is an existing winter road that is currently operated under permit to Robinson Trucking Ltd. (RTL). Because it is an existing route and was not identified to Points West until October, archaeological field investigations were restricted to a proposed new portage at the south end.
The proposed portage will cross a narrow (maximum 250 m) peninsula of land north of McMeekan Bay and south of the main body of Prosperous Lake. The portage will only be 15 m in width, but because a final route has not been selected, a much wider low-lying area between two elevated bedrock outcrops was examined. It was determined that provided the bedrock outcrops are avoided, the low lying terrain between them is suggestive of low archaeological potential and no further archaeological investigation is required.
The work was conducted on October 18 in company with Jonas Sangris of the Yellowknives Dene First Nation and four other individuals who were undertaking environmental and route feasibility studies. Since the portion of this proposed secondary route from Prosperous Lake to the old Discovery Mine was examined for archaeological resources by Gabriella Prager of Points West in 2005, no further work is required along this portion of the existing RTL route. However, if this secondary route is used, the portion that connects with West Bay on Gordon Lake should be examined in 2007 when weather conditions are favourable.
Archaeological Investigations for Northwestel Repeater Stations
Jean Bussey (NWT Archaeological Permit 2006-981)
In 2006, Points West Heritage Consulting Ltd. conducted archaeological investigations directed toward determining the archaeological potential of four proposed NorthwesTel repeater stations located between Yellowknife and the diamond mines in the Slave Geological Province. The four stations were given names based on nearby lakes: Paterson, Brown, Mackay and Courageous. The archaeological investigations were directed by Jean Bussey, who was assisted by Kim Banner, a resident of Yellowknife and member of the Metis community. The archaeological work was conducted concurrently with habitat assessment undertaken by EBA Engineering Consultants Ltd.
All four proposed repeater stations were examined from the air and via a series of foot traverses. The terrain characteristics and amount of surface exposure evident at each location determined how many traverses were walked and their spacing. There are no archaeological concerns at three of the proposed repeater station locations: Paterson, Brown and Mackay. No further archaeological investigation is required at these locations provided there are no changes to the development plan and all construction activities are within the identified footprint.
An archaeological site was discovered at the proposed Courageous repeater station. A small lithic scatter was discovered near the northern portion of the footprint. It is approximately 10 m by 10 m in area and consisted of around 10 flakes of quartz. Since the site is avoidable and no archaeological material was found in areas adjoining the station footprint, it was recommended that the development be relocated slightly to ensure a substantial buffer zone between the site and any activity.
Archaeological Investigations for the Gahcho Kué Project
Jean Bussey (NWT Archaeological Permit 2006-982)
Points West Heritage Consulting Ltd. conducted limited archaeological investigations for De Beers Canada Inc. at their Gahcho Kué Project in 2006. This was a continuation of work initiated in 2004. The study area is located at Kennady Lake, which is approximately 300 km east/northeast of Yellowknife and 80 km southeast of Snap Lake. Jean Bussey directed the field investigations and was assisted by Misty Lockhart, also of Points West, and Arthur Rabesca of the Lutselk’e First Nation.
The major objective of the 2006 field investigations was to monitor sites in the vicinity of activities conducted during the winter of 2005-2006. A secondary objective was to conduct archaeological inventory along a possible new road route located west of the proposed waste rock storage area, an area that had not been previously examined.
The archaeological monitoring primarily involved low and slow helicopter reconnaissance. During these aerial investigations, the full length of the winter access road between Gahcho Kué and Mackay Lake, the land based portions of the southwest gravel pit access road and the vicinity of the proposed southeast gravel borrow pit were examined. In addition, limited ground reconnaissance was conducted in the vicinity of an area being used to store a mobile camp. This area is east of Mackay Lake near the start of the winter access road to Gahcho Kué. Placement of one unit of this camp has likely impacted a previously recorded archaeological site. This occurrence was reported to the Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre (PWNHC). The site is a small lithic scatter that was discovered in 1999 during an inventory conducted for the Gahcho Kué Project. As a result of discussions with the PWNHC, De Beers proposes to conduct further archaeological investigation at this site once the trailer units have been removed. The 2006 archaeological monitoring has confirmed that all other sites located near activities that took place in the winter of 2005-2006 have been avoided.
As a result of the inventory of the proposed waste storage access road, one new archaeological site was discovered. It is a small lithic scatter with over 25 flakes of quartz visible in one exposure. Scattered within a 10 m radius of this small concentration were a number of other quartz fragments, which in conjunction with the moderate vegetation cover, suggests potential for additional archaeological material. Site assessment through shovel testing will be conducted prior to any development activity. As a result of the archaeological inventory conducted in association with the Gahcho Kué Project, a total of 242 archaeological sites have been recorded.
Archaeological Assessment of the Thonokied Lake Area
Callum Thomson (NWT Archaeological Permit 2006-983)
Two areas affected by Peregrine Diamonds Ltd. mineral exploration project in the vicinity of Thonokied Lake were assessed for potential conflicts between exploration activities and heritage resources from July 4-6, 2006. The work was conducted by Callum Thomson, Thomson Heritage Consultants, and a team from the Yellowknives Dene First Nation including Alfred Baillargeon, Peter Sangris, Paul MacKenzie and Morris Martin. We undertook a pedestrian survey of the exploration area around the Peregrine camp, a 2 x 2 km block centered on the north end of the camp lake and including all activity areas and areas considered to have some archaeological potential, such as bedrock outcrops, level gravel terraces, elevated points and lake shores. In addition, we flew the winter spur road alignment to the lake informally called Gravel Pit Lake, 11 km west northwest of camp, where it joins the main Tibbett to Contwoyto winter road, formerly called the Lupin Road, observing the light imprint of the spur road on the overland portages. We landed to survey around the esker.
Eight new archaeological sites were found. Most sites contained only scatters of lithic (stone) materials, and one also contained an exploited quartz vein. Two other quartz veins were encountered but not recorded, as there was no positive evidence of exploitation. At only one site was any evidence found of any habitation features or structures used in hunting or processing – one tent ring. Modern or historic period campsites were not encountered. No sites were found to lie directly within any of the activity areas around the camp.
The five sites that were found around the camp lake are relatively distant from these activity areas and located on high points so they do not appear to be at risk from the present project activities. Similarly, none of the four archaeological sites associated with the esker at Gravel Pit Lake appear to have been directly affected yet by activities in this area such as construction, maintenance and use of the winter spur road or gravel extraction from the esker. One site previously recorded adjacent to the esker (LcNr-1) appears to be intact and not at risk. One new site is located on a bedrock outcrop on the north side of the esker, so should not be at risk. Another is located within 15 m of gravel extraction activities on the esker, so is at considerable risk from continuing activities, presumably by the contractor responsible for construction and maintenance of the Tibbett to Contwoyto winter road. The third new site is located about 100 m from the esker and separated from it by a small bay, so is not at risk. Of these four sites, one appears to be of high significance due to the presence of the exploited quartz veins and associated workshop; the other three are of low to moderate significance. As the winter spur road from the DO 27 exploration area runs across a portage between the last lake on the spur route and Gravel Pit Lake, north of the esker, none of the four sites are at risk from operation of the Peregrine winter spur route; however, mitigation recommendations were proposed to safeguard the quartz quarry/workshop site from continuing gravel extraction on the esker.
The 2006 Sambaa K’e Archaeology Project
Glen MacKay (NWT Archaeological Permit 2006-984)
Glen MacKay of the Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre continued an archaeological survey of Trout Lake, NT under Archaeological Permit 2006-984. Edward Jumbo (Sambaa K’e Elder), Phoebe Punch and Dennis Deneron (project guides/translators) and Jessica Jumbo (research assistant) were partners in this project. Several community students also participated in the fieldwork. I also conducted archaeological work at Sambaa Deh Falls Territorial Park under permit 2006-984.
A collaborative effort between Elders, students and archaeologists, the Sambaa K’e Archaeology Project involved visiting several important cultural places identified by the Elders of the Sambaa K’e Dene Band, and documenting them as archaeological sites. The project had a strong educational component for high school students from the community, with students receiving instruction in archaeological survey methods and learning about important cultural places from community elders.
We recorded fourteen archaeological sites, including sacred sites, historic sites, traditional trails and precontact sites, during the Sambaa K’e Archaeology Project. Working in close collaboration with Sambaa K’e Elders, we were also able to document some of the oral histories and traditions associated with these sites. Contextualized in this way, archaeological data illustrates how ‘history is written on the land’ at cultural places, and how these places are linked with other places, to form a cultural landscape.
Highlights of this year’s project include the documentation of a spruce-plank canoe building workshop, used by Sambaa K’e Elder Edward Jumbo in the 1950s, on the north bank of the Paradise River, two sacred moose wallow areas at the southwest end of Trout Lake, a historic camp from which a musket barrel, tentatively identified as a “Northwest Gun”, was recovered, and several precontact sites. We conducted test excavations at two precontact sites in the vicinity of the community of Trout Lake. At the first, located on the south bank of the Island River, we investigated a lithic scatter associated with a small hearth feature containing abundant fish bone. An arrowhead was found associated with this hearth, indicating that this site is less than 1200 years old. Located on the north bank of the Island River, at its confluence with Trout Lake, the second site also consisted of a small lithic scatter associated with a hearth feature containing fish bone. A radiocarbon date obtained for this hearth indicates an age of 825 before present for this site.
Archaeological work at Sambaa Deh Falls Territorial Park, located at the junction of the Trout River with Highway 1, resulted in the initial characterization of a large lithic workshop, which was likely associated with the quarrying of tool stone embedded in the local limestone.
The Sambaa K’e Archaeology Project seeks to integrate cultural and archaeological understandings into an integrated history of the Sambaa K’e cultural landscape. We hope to continue this project in future years.
Archaeological Investigations of a Proposed Gravel Pit, Dempster Highway
Kristi Benson (NWT Archaeological Permit 2006-985)
The Gwich’in Social & Cultural Institute was contracted by the Department of Transportation to conduct an archaeological impact assessment of a proposed gravel pit on the Dempster Highway. The proposed gravel pit is located at Kilometre 34 (KM34, 34 kilometres from the Yukon Border), on the north side of the highway. The proposed pit is approximately ten kilometres west of Midway Lake. It was identified as having an increased potential for buried archaeological remains due to landforms and proximity to a creek.
The work was carried out on June 5th, 2006 by Kristi Benson from the Gwich’in Social & Cultural Institute’s Inuvik office with assistance from Woody Elias, an elder from Fort McPherson, and Arvind Vashishtha, from the Inuvik office of the Department of Transportation, GNWT.
The proposed gravel pit, in the Bonnet Plume Flats region, is within the traditional territory of the Teetł’it Gwich’in of Teetł’it Zheh (Fort McPherson). The Teetł’it Gwich’in travel through this area to and from the mountains hunting Porcupine caribou and Dall sheep. Traditionally, the Teetł’it Gwich’in would move to the mountains for caribou hunting in the winter, summer, and fall, and return to the Peel River and its tributaries for fishing in the summers. The proposed gravel pit is about 15 kilometres north of Vitreekwaa viteetshik, or Vittrekwa River, a tributary of the Peel River and an important travel corridor.
The proposed gravel pit is a small area, and was surveyed completely by foot. Two shovel tests were excavated. Approximately 40 disturbances were examined for cultural materials.
No cultural remains were discovered, and no impacts to archaeological materials are anticipated from the development of this gravel pit.
Archaeological Impact Assessment of the Great Bear River Bridge Project
Glen MacKay (NWT Archaeological Permit 2006-986)
On behalf of the Department of Transportation, GNWT, Glen MacKay, Assessment Archaeologist at the Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre, conducted an archaeological impact assessment of the proposed Great Bear River Bridge Project.
The proposed Great Bear River Bridge (GBRB) Project, located in Tulita, NT, will require several project components, including the bridge, the right-of-way for the bridge approaches and tie-ins to the Mackenzie Valley Winter Road, and the camp and stockpile areas required to support bridge construction. The development of these project components will involve clearing and/or excavating by heavy machinery, leading to significant ground disturbance in areas of high archaeological potential, thus warranting a pre-construction archaeological impact assessment.
A detailed investigation was conducted for all of the high potential zones in the project footprint, including all development areas immediately adjacent to the banks of the Great Bear River, which exhibit high potential for campsites and travel routes, and the edges of oxbow ridges found on both sides of the river, which were likely used as lookouts for large game hunting.
The assessment of these high potential areas included walking transects across the development area to locate any surface features, and inspecting subsurface exposures (i.e. tree-throws and eroded sections of the riverbank) and excavating shovel tests to detect evidence of buried archaeological deposits. The areas of lower archaeological potential – in general, the wetter areas between the riverbanks and oxbow ridges – were visually inspected by walking the winter road alignment right-of-way.
As a result of the assessment undertaken for the proposed Great Bear River Bridge, four archaeological sites were recorded. Archaeological Site LfRq-16 is a small precontact campsite located at the confluence of an ephemeral drainage channel with the north bank of the Great Bear River. This campsite is centred on a small hearth feature containing fire-cracked rock and highly fragmented large mammal bone. Lithic tools include a cobble-spall hide scraper and three refitting core fragments.
Archaeological Site LfRq-17 is a small precontact campsite located at the confluence of a small drainage channel with the north bank of the Great Bear River. This campsite is centred on a small hearth feature containing numerous pieces of fire-cracked rock and highly fragmented bone (small and large mammal). Archaeological site LfRq-18 is a low-density lithic scatter located at the confluence of a small drainage channel with the north bank of the Great Bear River. The site assemblage includes a graver, a biface fragment and two flakes. Archaeological site LfRq-19 consists of a large flake found on the surface of the Enbridge Pipeline right-of-way. The primary context of this artifact is unknown but it likely belongs to an archaeological deposit disturbed during construction of the pipeline.
Site management plans were designed for these sites to ensure that they are adequately mitigated prior to construction of the proposed Great Bear River Bridge.
Archaeological Investigations for the Mactung Project
Jean Bussey (NWT Archaeological Permit 2006-988)
In August 2006, Jean Bussey of Points West Heritage Consulting Ltd. conducted an archaeological assessment of the proposed North American Tungsten Corporation Ltd. mine, known as the MacTung Project, which is located northwest of Macmillan Pass. The mine is situated near the Yukon/Northwest Territories border and potential development areas were identified on both sides although the ore deposits are in the Yukon. Jean was assisted by Brian Apland, of Points West, and Harold Dick of the Ross River Dena Council. The work was conducted under a Class 1 permit in both territories (Yukon Archaeological Sites Regulations permit 06-01ASR and NWT Archaeologists permit 2006-988).
The 2006 work was intended as a preliminary assessment to determine if more detailed archaeological investigation was required and was originally restricted to the Yukon. Due to terrain constraints, alternate development areas in the NWT were identified and a second permit was applied for. In the Yukon, two possible mill locations, a waste rock dump and a potential tailings pond divided into an upper and lower section were identified. No previous archaeological investigation has been conducted in these areas. In the NWT, an alternate mill location and a single proposed tailings pond were identified. Similar developments in the NWT had previously been examined for archaeological resources with one site, KhTg-1, recorded within the proposed tailings pond.
Prior to conducting any ground reconnaissance, a series of low and slow helicopter overflights were completed. A series of traverses were then walked on landforms judged to have moderate or greater archaeological potential. Most proposed development areas within the Yukon portion of the project were characterized by heavy vegetation cover while some were in disturbed upland areas. Because it is not possible to conduct shovel testing under a Class 1 permit, the objective was to examine natural exposures. No archaeological sites were discovered, but potential for such was identified. The tailings pond in the NWT was also characterized by heavy vegetation cover, but the alternate mill location was in a rugged, upland area that had good exposure. No new archaeological sites were discovered, but previously recorded KhTg-1 was relocated and photographed.
The investigations conducted in 2006 suggest that the Yukon mill location, a few landforms south of the waste rock dump and portions of the upper tailings pond have sufficient archaeological potential to justify additional field investigation. Although some previous archaeological work has been conducted in the NWT portion of the study area, it is not known where testing was undertaken and further investigation is recommended near the proposed tailings pond. During this reconnaissance, the archaeological significance of KhTg-1 should be reassessed.
Mackenzie Delta Joint Venture Proposed 2006/2007 Summer Field Assessment Program
Wendy Unfreed (NWT Archaeological Permit 2006-989)
On behalf of KAVIK-AXYS Inc., as agents for Chevron Canada Limited and their Mackenzie Delta Joint Venture (MDJV) with whom they are partners with BP Canada Energy Company, FMA Heritage Resources Consultants Inc. conducted archaeological investigations for three sweet natural gas drilling locations and one remote sump associated with the Proposed 2006/2007 Summer Field Assessment Program. The investigation is part of a larger program of biophysical study that is designed to conduct both follow-up study for previous development as well as investigation of potential future development locations. Its purpose is to provide background data to aid in planning for future exploration and development activities. The specific purpose of the archaeological study in this Proposed 2006/2007 Summer Field Assessment Program was to assess the heritage resource potential of future drilling and sump sites.
As part of the Proposed 2006/2007 Summer Field Assessment Program, archaeologists Wendy Unfreed and Alan Youell were assisted by wildlife monitor Rufus Tingmiak in conducting assessments of drilling locations on Langely Island near the Reindeer Channel (Attick North, Langely South B) and a drilling (Kumak South) and sump location on Richards Island, near Trench Lake and the Yaya River, respectively. Prior to the assessment, it was determined that 31 recorded archaeological and cultural sites were within the general region of the developments. None of these, however, were located in any potential impact areas associated with the developments.
Field reconnaissance of the areas consisted of pedestrian traverse, surface examination and shovel testing to determine the presence of additional unrecorded archaeological or cultural sites. Fifty-one shovel tests were excavated across the footprints, but yielded no cultural deposits. The proposed locations on Langely Island and near the Reindeer Channel (Attick North, Langely South B) were found to be located on areas of relatively active alluvial plain that is subject to seasonal flooding. Continuous remodelling of this area, combined with shallow sediments and underlying waterlogged and silty clays, rendered this area as possessing a low potential for the identification of archaeological or cultural sites.
In the Proposed 2006/2007 Summer Field Assessment Program development locations on Richards Island (Kumak South, remote sump), although the developments will be situated in areas of more elevated morainal deposits which are sometimes associated with the presence of archaeological or cultural sites in the region, surface inspection and shovel testing of the developments did not result in the identification of archaeological or cultural sites.
Based on the results of the assessment on Langely and Richards islands for the three proposed sweet natural gas drilling locations (Attick North, Langely South B, Kumak South) and the remote sump of the Proposed 2006/2007 Summer Field Assessment Program, there appears to be no potential conflicts between archaeological and cultural sites and the development footprints. As a result, it is being recommended to representatives of the Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre that these four developments locations associated with the Chevron MDJV Proposed 2006/2007 Summer Field Assessment Program be granted heritage resource clearance relative to the physical archaeological and cultural site concerns in this region.
Archaeological Investigations For The Tuk2 Gas Development Project
Wendy Unfreed (NWT Archaeological Permit 2006-990)
On behalf of KAVIK-AXYS Inc., as agents for Devon Canada Corporation (Devon), FMA Heritage Resources Consultants Inc. conducted an archaeological investigation for a proposed production facility and three alternative pipeline routes on the Tuktoyaktuk Peninsula. The potential production facility will lie adjacent to the existing Tuk2 M-18 well, 12 kilometres southeast of Tuktoyaktuk. The pipeline will be used to connect the proposed facility to a different proposed facility at Parsons Lake.
The archaeological investigation was part of a larger program of biophysical study that was designed to provide background data to aid in planning for future exploration and development activities. The specific purpose of the archaeological assessment was to help identify the heritage resource sensitivity of a 20-kilometre wide corridor between the two proposed production facilities, and to provide recommendations regarding the need for mitigation and further work.
To conduct the assessment, archaeologists Wendy Unfreed and Alan Youell were assisted by wildlife monitor Ernest Cockney of Tuktoyaktuk. Field reconnaissance consisted of pedestrian traverse, surface examination and shovel testing to determine the presence of unrecorded archaeological or cultural sites. Fifty shovel tests were excavated in 12 Target Areas within the proposed development corridor.
Although no new archaeological sites were identified during the assessment of the development corridor, two previously recorded sites (prehistoric Inuvialuit cache site NhTp-1 and precontact artifact scatter NgTq-1) were revisited as the result of the assessment. These sites were identified in the Western and Central Route alternatives, respectively, which were found to cross more hummocky ground than the Eastern Route alternative. Of these, NhTp-1 is significant, as previous investigations in 1991 and 1993 revealed that it contained artifacts representative of the Arctic Small Tools Tradition. At that time, however, a discrete component of this period could not be isolated.
Based on the results of the assessment, including the ground inspection and shovel testing of the Target Areas and the aerial overflight of all three routes, it was found that the Eastern Route alternative was the most preferable for avoiding impact to archaeological resources. This was based on three criteria: (1) the lack of previously identified archaeological sites within the general footprint area; (2) the fact that the majority of the route follows intermediate and lower lying ground with lower archaeological site potential and (3) the fact that large parts of the Eastern Route alternative follow or will parallel apparent winter road disturbance. It was felt that use of this area would result in fewer additional impacts to archaeological sites in the region. The area of the M-18 production facility was considered to have low archaeological site potential, due to the fact that it lies in low wet terrain that has been previously impacted through wellsite development. Likewise, the area of the tie-in to the proposed Parsons Lake facility is also of low archaeological site potential, even though it is located in slightly higher and more hummocky terrain. In this case, the low potential is the result of the fact that it has already been subject to large-scale industrial impact.
If it proves impossible to use to the Eastern Route alternative, it was strongly recommended that the final routing of the Tuk2 pipeline be designed to avoid impact to the previously known sites. This is particularly important with respect to site NhTp-1, which is considered to have regional significance due to the occurrence of materials representing the Arctic Small Tools tradition, and the potential that undisturbed components with this Tradition may be found at this site or in its immediate area.
As the plans for the Devon Tuk2 Gas Development project are still very preliminary, and no final routing of the pipeline between the M-18 production facility and the proposed Parsons Lake facility have been finalized, it is recommended that the work conducted under this assessment be considered as part of a preliminary field overview that can be used to narrow down the selection of important archaeological areas that could be recommended for use. As a result, once the final routing for the Devon Tuk2 Gas Development project has been selected, it is recommended that a full and final archaeological assessment of the route be conducted to ensure that all locations containing cultural deposits can be fairly and accurately evaluated and mitigated relative to potential development impacts. This investigation will include the evaluation of a location identified during the 2006 vegetation survey for this project, which requires verification as to whether it contains significant cultural information.