Archaeological Impact Assessment of Courageous Lake Project

Lisa Seip (NWT Archaeologist’s Permit 2012-002)

In June and September of 2012, Rescan Environmental Services Ltd. conducted archaeological baseline studies for Seabridge Gold Inc.’s Courageous Lake Project under Northwest Territories Class #2 Archaeologist’s Permit 2012-002. These investigations were a continuation of baseline studies conducted in 2010 and 2011, under Northwest Territories Class #2 Archaeologist’s Permits 2010-015 and 2011-006, respectively. Lisa Seip directed the field work and was assisted by archaeologists Daniel Walker, Vanessa Neuman, and Michael Campbell, also of Rescan Environmental Services Ltd., and by First Nations assistants Ernie Sangris of the Yellowknives Dene, and Darcy Zoe and Charlie Tatzia of the Tłı̨chǫ First Nation. Investigations included the assessment of proposed drill pad locations to the north of Courageous Lake, and surrounding Walsh and Saucer Lakes, and proposed project infrastructure to the south of Courageous Lake.

The objective of the investigation was to identify sites that would potentially be impacted by newly proposed infrastructure and drill pad locations. Pedestrian surveys were conducted, focusing on areas considered to have high archaeological potential; subsurface testing was conducted in areas with adequate soil deposition. Examinations resulted in the identification of 54 archaeological sites, including 44 lithic sites, 6 rock feature sites, and 4 historical sites. Twelve archaeological sites with diagnostic artifacts were identified, including two Shield Archaic tradition sites, five Arctic Small Tool tradition sites, and five Taltheilei tradition sites; all of the attributed cultural affiliations are tentative. One previously recorded site, LaNv-20, was revisited.

Avoidance is the preferred management recommendation for all sites. If avoidance is not possible, then systematic data recovery is recommended. As the project is currently in the design phase, no impacts are anticipated this year. Additional archaeological studies are planned for 2013.

(Edited by Shelley Crouch, Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre)