Derek O’Neill


M.A.: Heritage Resource Management M.A. Candidate

B.A.: UNBC 2009                     

Supervisor: Dr. Hugo Cardoso

Research Areas: Bioarchaeology, Human Osteology, Mortuary Archaeology, Forensic Anthropology, Northwest Coast Archaeology


I am a professional archaeologist who has been engaged in Heritage Resource Management since 2008. Additionally, I have also worked in Canada, Colombia, Guatemala, and Somaliland as a forensic anthropologist and archaeologist. I am the Past President and Vice President of the British Columbia Association of Professional Archaeologists (BCAPA). I am a full-time archaeologist with In Situ Consulting Inc. based on the Sunshine Coast, BC. Additionally, I am the sole proprietor of Sirius Archaeology Solutions, a small CRM firm based in Metro Vancouver, BC. While I am a member of the HRM MA Cohort, I also am a student in the Forensic Science Centre and a part of Dr. Cardoso’s Juvenille Osteology (JUNO) group.

My enthusiasm was sparked for the HRM graduate program as it enables me to develop and flesh out my research questions, on and off campus, while being able to continue working on projects across British Columbia with In Situ and Sirius Archaeology.

Research Interest:

I am interested in topics of forensic anthropology and mortuary archaeology. I am interested in how death shaped, formed, and altered the physical landscape and the relationship with the landscape in prehistoric times. There is a clear lack of representation of human remains, and thus mortality, exhibited in the archaeological record on the south coast of British Columbia. I am interested in exploring the intersections of ethnohistory, archaeological methods and training, and, burial practices of the northwest coast to further understand the lack of representation of ancestral remains, especially juvenile remains, within the archaeological record. The human skeleton tells us so much on how people lived, showcasing environmental influences, diseases, and growth; and, while skeletal remains can reveal so much, I strongly believe that the interactions between humans and their ancestral remains, this culture of death, is also important.

Additionally, I am also interested in the use of forensic anthropology and archaeology as a tool to resolve cases of homicide, human rights violations, extra-judicial killings, disappearances, and genocide.

M.A. Research:

My MA research aims to address the lack of juvenile skeletal remains within the archaeological record on the northwest coast, specifically the Sunshine Coast. I am examining the intersection between professional practice, established exhumation methods, and mortuary site types using both existing research datasets in addition to some experimental archaeology experiments. The goals of my thesis research include improving the methods used by archaeologists when excavating sites that have, or may possibly, have human remains (specifically juvenile) and provide a greater understanding of the lack of representation of human remains in the archaeological record in British Columbia.

Other Activities:

If I am not in the field, lab, or working on reports I can usually be found exploring both the outdoors and the breweries of the northwest coast. I have a passion for reading (a self-diagnosed bibliophile), retro video games, and playing percussion (primarily acoustic and electronic drums).  



O’Neill, Derek

2016 Archaeological Impact Assessments for Petrochemical Developments for Various Proponents within NTS Mapsheets 93 I & P under Heritage Conservation Act Permit 2012-0053. (On file with the BC Archaeology Branch)

Derek has also authored numerous Archaeological Impact Assessment interim reports for Oil and Gas, Forestry, Infrastructure, and other industries (on file with the BC Archaeology Branch).

Conference Presentations:

O’Neill, Derek
2016   Unpacking Some of the Secrets of Secret Cove: Recent Archaeological Discoveries from Secret Cove, British Columbia. Presented at the 2016 British Columbia Archaeology Forum, Vancouver.

O’Neill, Derek and Francesco Pretto
2011   Grave Secrets: Unearthing Evidence from the Guatemalan Genocide. Presented at the University of Alberta’s Human Rights Week, Camrose.



Derek working in a mass grave in Hargeisa, Somaliland.

Derek preparing skeletal remains for analysis in Bogota, Columbia in 2011.

Derek photographing the pictographs of Las Geel, Somaliland in 2012.

High elevation archaeology surveys in the mountain ranges near Boston Bar, BC (2014)