Archaeology is an exciting field to study that often elicits curiosity from the general public, and we get lots of great questions along the way. Here are just a few commonly asked questions to help you learn a bit more.
Q: What should I do if I find an artifact?
A: Please do not collect or remove any artifacts! If you think you have found an artifact or a site, report it to the BC Archaeology Branch and leave it where you found it and record as much as possible about it.
If you are able to collect or record its location (via GPS or even a hand-drawn map), information about soil composition, nearby landmarks or geographical features, this could prove very helpful for the lawful recording of the site! Photographs of the feature or artifact along with any surrounding geographical markers could also prove helpful.
Check out the Government of BC’s reporting procedures for more information, or get in touch if you have any questions about the procedure.
Q: Are you looking for gold?
A: No, but if we did find any we wouldn’t be talking about it!
Q: What do you find?
A: Mostly in the Kootenays we find lithic (rock) remains from ancient tool production of varying types and fire altered rock. Less occasionally we find bone fragments, stone tools themselves, or other material remains.
Q: Is there really much archaeology here in the Kootenays?
A: Yes! The Columbia and Kootenay valleys have been occupied continuously for millennia by several First Nations peoples.
Q: Do you find many dinosaur bones?
A: Archaeology is the study of human culture and remains. Dinosaur bones and other fossils would fall under the study of paleontology (which we also think is super cool). To find out more about fossils, visit the BC British Columbia Paleontological Alliance’s (BCPA) website.
Q: Why should I stop digging just because I found some rocks or bones?
A: Archaeological resources can be scientifically, historically, culturally or economically significant and are a non-renewable resource. Once they have been dug up, most of the important information is gone with no chance to recover it unless a trained archaeologist is responsible for the excavation.
Q: Where can I find arrowheads?
A: It is illegal to collect or disturb archaeological remains or artifacts without a permit issued in the Heritage Conservation Act.
Q: Where do all the artifacts you collect go?
A: After the artifacts are catalogued and documented, they are transferred to the local Ktunaxa Nation Regional Repository in Cranbrook or the Royal British Columbia Museum in Victoria.
Q: What does a cost estimate account for?
A: A cost estimate is a total to complete the archaeological work as requested. It is difficult to predict the cost for the many unknowns in archaeology which may include: site registration, quantity of artifacts, type(s) of reporting or extra field time to fulfill the requirements of the permit issued to us under the Heritage Conservation Act.
Where possible we choose the most efficient method(s) to reduce costs, and we only charge for the actual time spent on a project. If we come under budget, that is what is charged to our client.
Q: Are invoices sent in stages?
A: Yes, invoices are generally sent when major milestones are completed (e.g. permit submission, field work completion, reporting). The largest invoice is typically when field work has concluded.
Have more questions? Send us an email!
With more than a decade of experience in the Kootenays, we are your go to source for archaeological knowledge in the region.