Archaeological Impact Assessment for Dominion Diamonds and North Arrow Project Area

Brent Murphy (NWT Archaeologist’s Permit 2013-015)

During September of 2013, Golder Associates Ltd. conducted an Archaeological Impact Assessment under Northwest Territories Archaeological Permit 2013-015 on behalf of Aurora Geosciences Ltd. of the Dominion Diamonds and North Arrow, formerly Harry Winston and North Arrow-Harry Winston Project Area, south of Lac de Gras, Northwest Territories.  The project is located approximately 280 km northeast of Yellowknife, southwest of the Diavik Diamond Mine.  The Project area encompasses approximately 1,485 km2 between 64°01’36”N to 64°28’31”N and -109°57’36”W to -110°47’31”W.  The closest communities to the Project area are the Tłı̨chǫ community of Wekweètı̀ and the historic Inuit outpost of Pellatt Lake.

The objectives of the Archaeological Impact Assessment were to conduct an overflight of the entire project area to ground truth areas that were identified as having high potential for archaeologıcal sıtes and to conduct a limited survey on foot of locations that have been impacted by camp construction and that may be impacted during future development.

The field assessment was conducted over three days in September 2013, with the participation of Elder Nic Football from the Tłı̨chǫ First Nation (Plate 1).  The final day of fieldwork included the participation and insight of Elder Alfred Balongous from the Yellowknives Dene.  Both Elders assisted during the field program and provided advice on the cultural significance of the landscape we travelled through during the investigation.  The field studies included low and slow helicopter overflight and some survey on foot (Plate 2).  The foot survey of the existing camp area and the five high potential locations resulted in the identification of 11 new archaeological sites.  All of the sites consist of small lithic scatters or isolated lithic artifacts.  The identified sites will be avoided during the proposed drilling program and further studies will take place before any additional drilling or other mine developments are conducted.

(Edited by Morgan Moffitt, Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre)