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Resources for Archaeologists

  1. PAO Document Reference List PDF (1.3 MB) (September, 2015)
  2. What do I need in order to conduct an archaeological investigation in Newfoundland and Labrador?
  3. What are the steps involved in obtaining an Archaeological Research Permit?
  4. How do I apply for funding?
  5. What is the relationship of the Provincial Archaeology Office and the Newfoundland Museum?
  6. How do I report an archaeological site?
  7. What if this is an ongoing project - do I have to fill out a Site Record form every year?
  8. How do I catalog and label artifacts?
  9. What about conservation?
  10. When do I submit reports and what should they contain?
  11. Permit deadlines
  12. Online references and forms

2. What do I need in order to conduct an archaeological investigation in Newfoundland and Labrador?

In order to conduct an archaeological investigation in the Province, whether it is an excavation, survey, or Historic Resources Impact Assessment, you need to get a permit from the Provincial Archaeology Office. You also need to be an archaeologist recognized by the PAO, or be a graduate student working under the supervision of an archaeologist.

Permits are assigned on a project by project basis and are valid only in a specific area, and during the specific time that is indicated on the permit. Permit applications are available from the Provincial Archaeology Office, or can be printed directly from this web page.

The permit holder is responsible for:

  • Employing proper excavation techniques;
  • Providing progress and final reports;
  • Restoring the site to its original condition, and;
  • Delivering all of the archaeological artifacts found in the course of the investigation, including those in conservation, into the care of the Provincial Archaeology Office.

The permit allows the researcher to enter Crown Lands for the purpose of conducting the investigation, but it does not entitle the holder to enter private property or Crown Land that has been leased without the landowner's permission. The permit holder is responsible for any damage to private property done in the course of the investigation.

For further information on archaeological permits check the:

Historic Resources Act opens new window
Archaeological Investigation Permit Regulations opens new window

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3. What are the steps involved in obtaining an Archaeological Research Permit?

The first step is to get a permit application. These are available from the Provincial Archaeology Office.

Be sure that you get the right application. If you are planning on carrying out archaeological research, you will need the Research Permit Application. However, if you are planning to carry out an archaeological impact assessment, you will need the Historic Resources Impact Assessment Permit Application.

The application must be submitted by the archaeologist who is responsible for all scientific aspects of the research, both in the field and in the laboratory. It must be received by the Provincial Archaeology Office no later than one month (20 working days) before the project begins.

Along with your application you will need to provide:

  • a current resume including your educational background, any relevant scientific publications to your credit, all institutions that you have been attached to since the completion of your post-graduate studies, your status at each institution, and any experience you have had that is pertinent to the proposed project.
  • documentation demonstrating that:
    • you have written a post graduate thesis in archaeology or anthropology and have been awarded a graduate degree in archaeology or anthropology.
    • you have had at least 24 weeks of supervised training in the field in basic research techniques in archaeological surveying and excavation, and at least 6 weeks of training in archaeological laboratory analysis and/or archaeological curating.
    • you have the capacity to design and execute a relevant study comparable in scope and quality to the project described in the permit application.
    • you have qualifications equivalent to the above

If you are a student enrolled in a postgraduate university program, you may not have all of these qualifications on your own, but you may have your thesis advisor (or some other qualified archaeologist who is familiar with your work) sponsor you. Your sponsor will review the methodology you propose to use, visit you in the field (after the project has begun and before investigations are one-third complete), and provide the Provincial Archaeology Office with a report, within 30 days of the visit, in order to update that office on the progress of your project. To apply, you must use the standard Research Permit Application, which both you and your sponsor must sign. By co-signing, you and your sponsor become jointly responsible for fulfilling the conditions of the permit.

Return your completed application to the Provincial Archaeology Office.

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4. How do I apply for funding?

The Provincial Archaeology Office has a budget for grants for archaeological research. Priority is given to graduate student projects.

 You may submit your permit application and your grant application together. Applications are available from the PAO, or this website.

The funding provided through the Provincial Archaeology Office may be used for most expenses incurred during field work and post field work analysis.

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5. What is the relationship of the Provincial Archaeology Office and The Rooms Provincial Museum Division?

The Provincial Archaeology Office of the Heritage Division, and the Archaeology and Ethnology Unit at the Rooms , are responsible for the management of archaeological, ethnographic and palaeontological resources within the Province. Both agencies have personnel and resources who can assist you with your research in the Province.

The Provincial Archaeology Office, aids the Minister of Business, Tourism, Culture and Rural Development in protecting, preserving, developing, studying, interpreting and promoting the appreciation of the historic resources of the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador.

The PAO is the regulatory agency responsible for all archaeology carried out in the Province. It is also the central repository for all archaeological records in the Province, including site record forms and archaeological reports. The PAO also has a small annual grant that is used to help students and archaeologists in their research.

The PAO is located in the West Block of the Confederation Building, in St. John's. It has a map and literature library which contains reports and theses from the very beginning of archaeology in the Province.

Artifacts are not permanently curated by the PAO; that is the responsibility of the The Rooms Provincial Museum Division. However, all artifacts are first received and processed by the PAO, who in turn transfers them on to the Museum.

The purpose of The Rooms Provincial Museum Division according to The Rooms Act is to "collect, catalogue, conserve, preserve, study and exhibit historic artifacts and natural history specimens of significance to the province" and to "enlighten and educate people respecting the history of the province."

The Archaeology and Ethnology Unit is responsible for the management of all archaeological and ethnographic artifacts that are submitted to The Rooms Provincial Museum Division and their staff can help you sort through and research the collections.

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6. How do I report an archaeological site?

If you discover a new site while you are carrying out the work under permit you should report it to the Provincial Archaeologist at the Provincial Archaeology Office within 30 days. If the site is threatened, you should report it within 48 hours. When possible it is important to maintain contact with the PAO while you are in the field and submit the UTMs, or latitudes and longitudes, of new sites you have found. The PAO can usually assign the sites' Borden numbers the same day.

If you are issued a permit, the Provincial Archaeologist may request that you relocate sites previously known from within your study area, and report any changes in their condition. If this request is made, you will have up to 90 days to make your report, unless the site is threatened, in which case you should report the fact within 48 hours.

Prior to heading into the field, you should obtain a supply of Site Record Forms, and any other forms required. If you intend to use substitutes for the forms the Province provides, submit copies of them along with your permit application for approval.

One of the first things you should do when you get back from the field is submit your Site Record forms for all of the new sites you have found, and all of the known sites you have revisited. These should be submitted to the PAO within 30 days of the expiration of your permit, along with 1:50,000 scale topographic maps showing the locations of the sites, all the areas surveyed and the techniques employed.

It should be noted that many permits are issued each year and there are thousands of archaeological sites within the Province. It is important to standardize the information coming into the Provincial Archaeology Office as much as possible. So, you should familiarize yourself with the User guide for Completing the Archaeological Site Record Form found on the first two pages of the Site Record Form.

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7. What if this is an ongoing project - do I have to fill out a Site Record form every year?

Yes. This is a requirement pursuant to the Archaeological Investigation Permit Regulations.

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8. How do I catalog and label artifacts?

The Province has standardized an Excel spreadsheet which must be filled out for each artifact. This procedure ensures that a basic suite of characteristics is recorded for every artifact found in the Province. You may be able to use an alternative electonic cataloguing system but it must be cleared with the PAO first.

Please Note: Paper catalog forms will no longer be accepted for projects from 2016 forward.

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9. What about conservation?

All artifacts recovered within Newfoundland and Labrador must be conserved, and it is the responsibility of the permit holder to arrange for & assume the cost for their conservation. Every permit application must include the name of a professional conservator, and be accompanied by that conservator's current resume, listing educational background, employment experience, and relevant scientific publications, as well as any specific experience relevant to the project.

In your permit application you must demonstrate that adequate budgeting has been allocated for conservation, and that adequate facilities are available.

You are required to engage the services of a conservator, who will assume full responsibility for the conservation of your archaeological objects. The conservator must meet the requirements of the PAO before approval is granted. The conservator must examine all recovered artifacts and provide the PAO with examination records. When treatment is necessary detailed treatment records must also be submitted.

Treatment records must be signed and dated by the conservator and must include:

  • Site name;
  • Borden, specimen and permit numbers;
  • Name, description, material(s) and condition of the archaeological object;
  • Details of treatment, including treatment proposal, materials used and methods and techniques employed during treatment.

For more information on conservation requirements, check the Archaeological Investigation Permit Regulations.

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10. When do I submit reports and what should they contain?

All archaeologists are required under the Historic Resources Act opens new window to report all archaeological work carried out in the Province.

The Historic Resources Act and Archaeological Investigation Permit Regulations opens new window outline the contents and scheduling of submissions required by the Provincial Archaeology Office including reports, record forms and site record forms. An interim report and project report are required for each permit or year of research at a multi-year project. Multi-year projects require a final report at the end of the project. Please be sure to send a copy of any published articles to the PAO for the reference library.

  1. Interim Report: Six months (180 days) after a project is completed an interim report is to be submitted, outlining activities carried out under the permit.
  2. Forms and Photos: Six months (180 days) after a project is completed the following items are to be submitted:
    • completed PAO archaeological record forms; including field, level, feature and photographic records, level and feature plans, and scientific and radiocarbon sample forms
    • a representative selection of black and white prints and colour slides depicting a variety of perspectives of each site, including: geographic situation, site condition before commencement of the archaeological investigation, all visible surface features, any agents of site degradation, plan views of excavation units, stratigraphic profiles, archaeological features, conservation measures employed in the field, and post-excavation condition
    • detailed plans and vertical sectional drawings for each site.
  3. Project Report: Within one year (365 days) of the expiration of the permit, a project report must be submitted to the PAO. This report must:
    • describe the field work undertaken and the location and extent of investigation of each site, including maps, drawings, photographs, and detailed descriptions of the diagnostic artifacts.
    • describe the methodologies used in data acquisition, recording and analysis, including field, archival and laboratory investigations.
    • describe the environmental factors and cultural history relevant to the investigations.
    • assess the current condition of the site and any present or potential factors which could alter the current status.
    • interpret the significance of the site investigated, based on a summary examination of the findings
    • assess the results of the investigation in relation to the scope and objectives of the project, as stated in the permit. [Other publications or theses produced from the research conducted during the permit may be submitted to the Provincial Archaeologist for consideration in lieu of a project report.]
  4. Final Report: In the case of a multi-year project, a final report (in addition to regular yearly project reports) must be submitted to the PAO within 2 years of the expiration of the final permit. This final report should address all of the same information included in each project report, but from the perspective of the project completed in its entirety.

For additional information on the reporting of archaeological projects to the Provincial Archaeology Office, check the regulations in the Archaeological Investigation Permit Regulations opens new window

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11. Permit Submission deadlines

To Do:Deadline:Description:
Permit Application1 month (20 working days) before project begins Required for conducting archaeological work
Report New Sites within 30 days of discovery or within 48 hours if the site is threatened provide map, and location information (NAD, UTM'S or Latitude and Longitude)
Site Record Forms within 30 days of permit expiration fill in all information as required
Interim Report within 180 days of permit expiration preliminary summary of fieldwork
Forms within 180 days of permit expiration
  • completed PAO archaeological site record forms
  • sample of black and white prints and color slides
  • detailed plans of each site
  • vertical sectional drawings of each site
Project Report(all projects) within 365 days of permit expiration
  • description of fieldwork and each site
  • methodology
  • environment and culture history
  • current status of sites
  • significance of sites
  • results of investigation
Final Report(for multi-year projects) 2 years of permit expiration summary of project in its entirety
Artifacts & Records within 2 years of permit expiration
  • artifacts
  • specimen record forms
  • artifact treatment records

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12. Online references and forms

For more detailed answers to these questions and to answer those not covered in this FAQ, you may wish to consult the following references:

ALL FORMS AND APPLICATIONS CAN BE COMPLETED BY DOWN LOADING A MICROSOFT WORD OR EXCEL FILE WHICH CAN THEN BE E-MAILED TO THE PAO.

FORM 
Research Permit Application Research Application Word
Historic Resources Impact Assessment Permit Application HRIA Application Word
Research Grant Application Grant Application Word
Site Record Forms Site Record FormWord
Specimen Record Forms Specimen Record Form
Specimen Record Key Specimen Record Key PDF
Procedures for Collections Procedures for CollectionsPDF

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