Jay Project Archaeological Site Mitigations

Brent Murphy/Brad Novecosky (NWT Archaeologist’s Permit 2015-013)

In September 2015, Golder Associates Ltd. (Golder) conducted an archaeological survey on behalf of Dominion Diamond Ekati Corporation (Dominion Diamond) for the Jay and Sable Projects, located approximately 300 km northeast of Yellowknife, Northwest Territories. The survey was completed under Class 2 Archaeologist Permit 2015-013. The field crew consisted of Brent Murphy and Jessica Hill of Golder, as well as Morris Martin of the Yellowknives Dene First Nation.

The field program had two goals. The first was to revisit two previously documented archaeological sites in proximity to the Sable winter access road. The second was to mitigate potential impacts to one previously recorded archaeological site from the proposed development of the Jay Project waste rock storage area.

Sites LeNt-18 and LeNt-26 are small, dispersed scatters of stone tool manufacturing debris located within 30 m of the Sable Project winter access road that was used over the 2014-2015 winter season. The sites were first identified in 2014 during pre-impact assessment for the Sable winter road. The sites were revisited in 2015 to determine if staking placed at the sites was intact and to determine if any adverse impacts to the sites were caused by the use of the winter road. Both sites were successfully located and no adverse impacts were noted.

Site LdNs-53 is a compact and dense scatter of stone tool manufacturing debris located within the boundary of the proposed waste rock storage area for the Jay Project. This site was identified in 2014 during pre-impact assessment of the Jay Project and was revisited during this field program to mitigate the potential impacts of the development of the waste rock storage area. Mitigation of the site involved the mapping and collection of archaeological artifacts visible on the surface. A small test unit of 50 by 50 cm, was placed to determine the depth of the site. This unit encountered bedrock at 5 cm below the surface and yielded minimal additional material that was not observed on the surface. This collection provides a sufficient sample of the site contents for scientific analysis and site interpretation.

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