Vermillion Ridge Quarry Development

Michelle Wickham (NWT Archaeologist’s Permit 2013-017)

On behalf of HRN Contracting Ltd., Bison Historical Services Ltd. Carried out an archaeological survey for heritage sites southeast of Norman Wells in the Sahtu Region of the Northwest Territories in October, 2013. The objective of the investigations was to conduct a pre-impact examination of all areas that may be impacted by the 2013/2014 Vermillion Ridge Quarry Development and to ensure that any unrecorded heritage resource locations will be avoided by current development activities.

Michelle Wickham and Joe Moravetz of Bison Historical Services Ltd., carried out the investigations and were assisted by (Stormen) Norman McDonald of Norman Wells, who acted as a wildlife monitor and local advisor. Fieldwork was based out of Norman Wells and was carried out by helicopter and on foot. Investigations focused on high potential areas within the proposed quarry area footprint, as well as along the proposed access road.

The helicopter landed on or near landforms or drainages that were deemed to have moderate to high potential for undisturbed cultural resources; these areas were then systematically examined on foot and judgmentally shovel tested.

The quarry and access road were repeatedly overflown at low elevation and slow speed to facilitate the identification of any possible heritage concerns. Given the lack of topographic relief, the observation of muskeg, black spruce, and in some cases standing water, or existing disturbance (along existing seismic lines) these locations were identified as possessing low heritage resource potential. As such, the over flights and photographic documentation were deemed to be an appropriate level of assessment.

Pre-field investigations consisted of a review of known site data to ensure that no previously recorded sites were jeopardized by the planned development. Areas that were identified as high potential from the air and pre-field map analysis were well drained areas with topographic relief, glacial landforms (eskers and drumlins), areas with the potential for soil development, and areas where the access road crossed drainages, as well as the entire quarry area were further assessed through pedestrian and subsurface testing. Pedestrian survey and subsurface testing was conducted at four locations within the Vermillion Ridge Quarry Development; 44 shovel tests were excavated, all yielded negative results. No known sites are located within 1 km of the proposed quarry and access road; no previously un-recorded heritage sites were identified during these investigations. The proposed Vermillion Ridge Quarry Development will not impact any known heritage sites.

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