Archaeology in Canada’s Capital Region

Photo of 19th century lime kiln ruins in the Greenbelt
19th century lime kiln ruins in the Greenbelt
Maps and Publications

The Capital’s heritage resources are not always located on the surface of the ground. Many artifacts of the past — for example, the stone tools of pre-contact Aboriginal peoples, the porcelain dishes of settlers and the iron relics of industry — have long since disappeared under the soil.

It is the task of archaeologists to locate, recover and interpret those remains, which are an important component of the region’s cultural heritage. The NCC ensures that the archaeological resources of Canada’s Capital Region are properly managed before, during and after development work.

NCC Responsibilities

We are committed to managing archaeological resources on NCC lands and to considering archaeological issues when making NCC Master Plans.

As the federal organization with authority for federal land use, transaction and design approvals, we review changes and alterations to federal properties. During this process, one factor we consider is the potential of a proposed project to disturb or damage archaeological resources. We conduct an environmental assessment to ensure that a project will not adversely impact the environment, including archaeological resources.

We have mapped the pre-contact archaeological potential of most federal lands within Canada’s Capital Region. This allows us to add measures to protect archaeological resources into development processes affecting these lands.

The NCC also ensures that federal archaeological artifacts from the region are stored by approved artifact collections repositories. Until an agreement is signed with an approved repository, the NCC temporarily stores artifact collections in its own facilities.

Our archaeological practices are outlined in the Guide for the Management of Archaeological Resources.