Archaelogical Assessments & Predictive Modelling, GIS and Traditional Knowledge, First Nation Engagement, & Non-Invasive Investigations.
Determination if any cultural remain exist on the landscape within the proposed develop.
Using remote sensing methods to determine likelihood of the presence of archaeological remains.
Working with Indigenous Communities to preserve and document cultural and sensitive areas within their traditional territory.
Working with communities to address concerns regarding the cultural heritage of their history within their traditional territory.
A Stage 1 Archaeological Assessment is a comprehensive survey of the geographic land use and historical information that pertains to the development. Using several sources of information, Woodland Heritage Northwest examines satellite, TOPO maps and relevant archival information to determine whether or not there is potential for archaeological resources on the property. When possible, a field inspection must be competed to document resources on the property. This provides important, firsthand insights into the condition of the property, and serves to narrow the scope of any necessary Stage 2 assessment and allow for well-informed recommendations.
The Stage 2 Archaeological Assessment serves to determine the presence of any unknown archaeological resources that might be present in the identified areas from the Stage 1. This involves a field inspection of the footprint of the development whereby a pedestrian survey is conducted as well as shovel tests as appropriate. The nature and procedures of the shovel testing is mandated by the Ontario Government and varies depending on location and the nature of the surrounding terrain. If archaeological resources are discovered, Stage 2. Woodland Heritage Northwest is fully capable in determining appropriate measures for next steps.
If resources are significant enough to warrant further investigations, Stage 3 Archaeological Assessments are site specific. They include a wide variety of measures including further historical research, mapping of artifact finds and the controlled excavations of a portion of the site. These excavations aid in interpretation of the context, nature and size of the site. The methods utilized during a Stage 3 assist the archaeologist in better understanding the complexities and nature of archaeological sites and help in determining if Stage 4 mitigation is required.
Also known as Mitigation, Stage 4 Archeological Assessments are only employed if recoveries from the Stage 3 are productive enough. There are two options at this point: namely avoidance or salvage. Working with the client, if measure can be employed to avoid the finds and preserve the site in its context. If this is not possible, then excavation of the site is required. Excavation involves controlled removal of the archaeological resources in such a way that the cultural value of the site (artifacts, research data) is conserved for future use. In all possible outcomes, Woodland Heritage Northwest works with clients and communities to ensure that recoveries are used for activities that include tourism, education, research, cultural ceremonies, and respectful curation.
All stages of Archaeological Assessments require notification to the Ministry of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries of the proposed work and involve an extensive report detailing the work that was completed. All work has to abide by the regulations as set out by the 2011 Standards and Guidelines for Consulting Archeologists.
Archaeological Predictive Modelling
Cultural heritage resources are defined by the Ontario Government as including both known resources (recorded/registered locations and locations reported by First Nations) and high potential resources (as determined by archaeological predictive models). We will work closely with you or your clients (forest industry, transportation industry, mining industry, First Nations communities) and the Ontario Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sports to (1) identify the location of cultural heritage resources, and then (2) determine the most appropriate management strategy for ensuring the protection of those resources. We have developed innovative techniques to ensure the protection of cultural resources while concurrently striving to minimize the impact to the development in question.
Archaeologists at Woodland Heritage Northwest has many years of experience working with forest management planning teams in Northern Ontario. We have worked with major transportation development project along Hwy 69, Hwy 17, Hwy 11, and innumerable smaller highways across the north.
Woodland Heritage Northwest has conducted cultural heritage assessments for wind farm developments, new hydro-electric projects, and existing hydro-electric project upgrades and improvements.
Woodland Heritage Northwest has conducted numerous cultural heritage assessments for mining projects across northern Ontario – both large and small.
Additionally, we are internationally recognized leaders in developing and applying models of archaeological site potential. We have also been involved in the development of cultural heritage policy for the OMNR and in the revision of the Forest Management Guidelines for the Protection of Cultural Heritage Resources.
- Determination of Archaeological/Cultural Heritage Site Potential using archaeological predictive modelling
- Screening of planned operations in areas of high archaeological potential
- Determination of disturbance levels of forest operations
- Long term heritage assessment planning
- Ensuring that forest operations are in compliance with the cultural heritage protection requirements
Northern Ontario is a remote undeveloped region and important area for exploration of mines for minerals and other resources. Woodland Heritage Northwest has extensive experience and can assist in pre-screening of areas whereby proposed development could impact high potential areas. Woodland Heritage Northwest works closely with clients to ensure that they are complying with legislative requirements such as the Ontario Heritage Act as well as any Environmental Assessment requirements.
GIS and Traditional Knowledge
Mapping and visual representation of the environment is a powerful tool that can help community understand and represent land use, traditional knowledge, and territory. This knowledge can be used as leverage in consultation and negotiations with proponents, consultants, and the government. Traditional GIS knowledge serves to develop database management utilizing cartographic and techniques such as GIS, map biographies, historical mapping, and oral tradition in order to aid in the creation of sound environmental and economic planning in developing communities. One of the main aspects of the documentation of traditional GIS knowledge is cultural preservation. In a time when traditional lifestyles are declining or under threat of disappearing due to modernization and development, it is essential for the documentation of past land use to ensure preservation of the past. Woodland Heritage Northwest is fully capable to ensure traditional knowledge gathering is preserved in modern era databases which can aid communities in economic planning and development moving forward.
Communities in Northern Ontario often want to be engaged in the work that is performed. Through a collaborative process, Woodland Heritage Northwest works with communities through community meetings, band council engagement and participation within community activities to ensure the members are heard and concerns are voiced. This process ensures that the community feels a part of the process and that their issues are both valid and heard. Woodland Heritage Northwest has worked with a number of communities such as; Fort William, Red Rock, Rocky Bay, Lake Helen, Big Island, Keewaywin, Neskantaga, Lac des Mille Lac, Pic River and Whitesand to name a few. Woodland Heritage Northwest can work with the client as well as Indigenous community to ensure concerns are addressed and the development is handled in a professional and culturally appropriate manner.
Sometimes resources are buried beneath the soils, but the soils cannot be disturbed. In these rare cases, Woodland Heritage Northwest can provide options such as Ground Penetrating Radar and Drone imagery to aid in assessing what is below the surface. These cases usually involve special sites such as burials whereby disturbance of the remains can be an incredibly sensitive to all parties involved. The Funeral, Burial and Cremation Services Act (FBCSA) ensures cemeteries are properly identified, managed and protected. The Bereavement Authority of Ontario (BAO) and Ministry of Government and Consumer Services (MGCS) ensure compliance with the FBCSA and offer guidance on how to address accidental discoveries of ancestral remains and manage the precise locating of interments in aging cemeteries where burials may no longer be marked by stones. Woodland Heritage Northwest takes pride in embracing a respectful process to preserving Ontario’s cultural heritage and will work with developers, communities and municipalities to ensure any type of project is investigated with the utmost care and respect.