Studies and Assessments 

Archaeological Overview Assessment

An Archaeological Overview Assessment (AOA) is a broad background study of a defined area. This includes comprehensive research of archival documentation such as: existing archaeological documentation; historical records; and First Nations traditional use including oral histories; and a ground truthing pedestrian survey .

The purpose of an AOA is to 1) estimate potential for archaeological sites within an area, and 2) make recommendations for further work where necessary.


Preliminary Field Reconnaissance

Preliminary Field Reconnaissance (PFR) is a fast, small scale version of an AOA. Usually done for smaller land areas such as single family dwelling lots, acreages, commercial properties. A PFR typically includes a background check of known archaeological sites within the vicinity and a brief site visit.

The goal of a PFR is the same for an AOA, to estimate the potential for archaeological sites. 


Archaeological Impact Assessment

An archaeological Impact Assessment (AIA) is a focused study of an archaeological site. Once a site has been identified either through, the background check, AOA, or PFR, if a project is planned within 50 meters of the archaeological site, the government requires an AIA.

The purpose of the AIA is to (1) identify the boundaries of the site, (2) estimate it's depth and make estimations about it's significance and (3) make recommendations regarding potential impact and propose strategies to avoid impact or if necessary, reduce impact. An AIA determines this through testing, usually soil-probing, or shovel testing.



An archaeologist will monitor a project, by working closely with construction personnel to observe excavation of an archaeological site. This is often used when for example, a site has been previously disturbed or damaged, or if there is a reasonable chance that an archaeological site is deeply buried. Sometimes this is done in conjunction with a Section 12 permit.

Section 12 Permit

Sometimes, if an archaeological site is identified, and it has intact deposits and the proposed project cannot avoid disturbing those deposits, then the Archaeology Branch will allow the proponent to apply for a Section 12 permit. This permit enables the archaeologist to excavate parts of the archaeological site to gather sensitive data before it is destroyed by construction activities. The methods used under as Section 12 permit are project specific to each unique situation.