Tag: methods

By Corey Cookson

April 4, 2019

Where does the Obsidian we find come from?

Obsidian is a volcanic glass that was used by pre-European contact people all over North America. Known for its natural sharpness, ancient peoples sought the material for making tools for cutting and slicing. Additionally, it is easier to flintknap than the harder and more readily available materials local to Alberta. As many of our readers

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By Corey Cookson

December 18, 2017

Field School in Belize – Trent University

One of the most common questions that I get asked is what is the coolest thing I have ever found.  My default answer is this censer fragment that my excavation team unearthed back in 2009 as part of the Trent University field school in Belize, at the Minanha site. My team was working on the excavation

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By Corey Cookson

December 11, 2017

Find the Flake (Part 2!)

While we always prefer to survey areas prior to any impacts, the identification of artifacts in post-impact contexts can be easier because of large areas of exposed sediments. Instead of targeted shovel tests that excavate a very small percentage of a high potential area, we can potentially see everything that is under the ground. However,

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By Madeline Coleman

December 4, 2017

Public Archaeology at the Brazeau Reservoir

Public archaeological programs are an excellent opportunity for people with a general interest in archaeology or amateur archaeologists to learn what an artifact is, and to practice the techniques that are used to find and interpret them. Often these programs will have a dig component, where people join for a few days or a week,

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By Teresa Tremblay

November 27, 2017

The View From Out Here

We took this photo in the fall of 2016 while completing fieldwork for Sundre Forest Products’. It’s of the Clearwater River valley as seen from a site we found that year. The site was easily identified because artifacts were eroding out of the steep valley wall and the ATV trails that cross the landscape. From

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By Kurtis Blaikie-Birkigt

November 20, 2017

Working in the Winter

Specializing in forestry archaeology in Alberta, I haven’t had much opportunity to work in winter conditions. One of the nice things about forestry is its relatively long planning horizon and the flexibility to schedule our work. Unfortunately, in fall 2012, a variety of factors conspired to push some of our fieldwork into late October, and

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By Teresa Tremblay

October 23, 2017

Why do HRIAs (Historic Resource Impact Assessments)?

“Archaeological heritage is an essential element in the affirmation of our Canadian identity and a source of inspiration and knowledge. It is the policy of the Government of Canada to protect and manage this heritage.1” This sentiment is echoed through all levels of government and most provinces2, territories, and municipalities have either a piece of

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By Elenore Hood

October 9, 2017

What is Mitigative Excavation?

Mitigative excavation is the process of digging an archaeological site that is threatened either by development or natural erosion. Mitigative excavations have different goals than academic excavations. The goal of mitigative excavations is is to save as much information about the site before it is destroyed, whereas in academic digs the goal is to answer

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By Elenore Hood

September 25, 2017

HRV 4C – What Happens Now?

You have made a plan for a development and reviewed your plan against the Listing of Historic Resources. You’ve found that you have a conflict on your land parcel, it is listed with an HRV of 4C. What does that mean? An HRV of 4C indicates that an historic resource site is located on that

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By Britt Romano

August 28, 2017

Index to Alberta Homestead Records 1870 to 1930

Many people are interested in researching their family history and genealogy. The Index to Alberta Homestead Records are an excellent place to start your research. The following blog will give instructions on how to use the Index. If you wish to learn what the homestead records are, or how they can help archaeologists, please check

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