BC Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations: Forest Investment Account – Archaeological Overview Assessments



Forest Investment Account funding recipients interested in undertaking Archaeological Overview Assessments projects are required under their recipient agreement with PricewaterhouseCoopers to adhere to RISC standards or Best Practices Standards established by government. In this case, the archaeological overview assessment must conform with section 3.4 and Appendix A of the ” British Columbia Archaeological Impact Assessment Guidelines.” (Archaeology Branch, Revised Edition, (October 1998) and with Archaeological Overview Assessments as General Land Use Planning Tools – Provincial Standards and Guidelines  New (March 2009).

In the event a recipient desires to vary from the standards a request must be submitted to PricewaterhouseCoopers who will then forward that request for approval of the variance.

Please note that the purpose of these Archaeological Overview Assessment studies is the identification and assessment of archaeological resource potential or sensitivity within a proposed study area for archaeological resources protected under Section 13 (Heritage Protection) of the Heritage Conservation Act.Section 13 of the Heritage Conservation Act states that the following types of sites may only be disturbed with a permit (this is a truncated list of types that may be encountered in the working forest):

  • Burial places
  • Aboriginal rock paintings or aboriginal rock carvings
  • Sites that contains artifacts, features, materials or other physical evidence of human habitation or use before 1846
  • Heritage aircraft wrecks

Eligible Projects

The following research components are typical of an archaeological overview assessment study and are eligible for FIA funding:

  • Background library and records search of ethnographic, archaeological and historic documents pertinent to the study area, where the intent is to predict the location of archaeological sites protected under the Heritage Conservation Act.
  • Interviews and consultation with individuals having knowledge of archaeological resources in the study areas where the objective is to compile information concerning the location, distribution and significance of reported archaeological resources.

This information is used by a qualified archaeologist to make statements (often including mapping) of the archaeological resource potential and distribution in the study area.  In areas where development, resource extraction or other types of land altering is planned, further field studies by a qualified archaeologist are required to confirm the presence of protected archaeological sites.

Ineligible Projects

Studies focusing on First Nations land use, such as traditional use or cultural heritage studies, are not eligible for FIA funding as Archaeological Overview Assessment studies. These studies focus on the identification of sites significant to a local First Nations community where traditional activities take place. Information is usually gathered through interviews with knowledgeable individuals within the community and the results may be used in consultation concerning aboriginal rights and title issues.

Traditional use site types may encompass spiritual sites, harvesting, hunting and other resource gathering areas, camping sites and other sites used in traditional activities of a First Nation community. Traditional use sites may or may not have an archaeological component (i.e. use of the area may or may not leave physical evidence of habitation or use prior to 1846.)  For example, a culturally modified tree site may be a traditional use site, however it is only considered an archaeological site subject to provisions of theHeritage Conservation Act if some of the  cultural modifications are dated prior to 1846.

Many traditional use areas cover much larger parts of the landscape than archaeological sites defined by physical evidence.

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