Friday, July 9, 2010

Summer Plans

Surveying in Nunavut
This week, I've been winding down Elfshot for the summer and gearing up for fieldwork.  Next Wednesday, I'll be leaving for 6 weeks of fieldwork in Nunavut.  I'd love to post updates to this blog while I'm away, but there are logistical and confidentiality reasons why that won't be possible.  If I do manage to post some pictures and stories from the field, they won't be as regular or detailed as usual.  That said, I've gone through my photo folders and have set up a series of pre-scheduled posts to cover the period that I'm away.

Arctic Hare
The work in Nunavut is a consulting job, or Cultural Resource Management (CRM), and its up to the project archaeologist, the client, and the Nunavut government's Department of Culture, Language, Elders and Youth to decide how information about the project is disseminated.  In a nutshell, there is a large project proposed in Nunavut which will have an impact on the land.  The company proposing the work needs to hire a suite of environmental scientists to determine the impact that the project will have on all the plants, animals, land, water and cultural resources within the project's footprint.  The archaeologist's job is to deal with the cultural resources.  We need to create an inventory of all the archaeological and historic sites within the boundaries of the proposed development and monitor any activities that may impact on those sites.  Based on that information, the client, working with the territorial government and the archaeologists will determine how best to avoid those resources.  If they can't avoid the sites, then the client needs to pay to have them systematically recorded and excavated so that as much information as possible is preserved.  This process is called mitigation in archaeology-speak.

Mapping with mosquitoes
Cultural Resource Management can be very fast paced and stressful.  I'd love to be able to talk about all the cool stuff we're doing and finding, but a good day for the archaeology crew isn't necessarily a good day for the client who has to adjust their plans and budget accordingly.  Its also not necessarily going to excite the investors who are required for the next stage of the project to proceed.  So even though the camp we're working out of may have intermittent internet access and I may manage to make occasional blog posts this summer, they'll be quite vague about where I am, what we're finding and who I'm working for.

Photo Credits:
1: Ainslie Cogswell
2-3: Lori White

1 comment:

  1. Glad to hear that NT is using this process that you describe. I was there as part of the warm-up act for territorial government in the late 90s and it seemed to be an afterthought at best. I had visions of Sarah Palin's "drill, drill, drill" mentality for a pristine environment.


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