Megan Vanderwel


Areas of interest

Northeast BC Archaeology, Winter Testing Methodology, Cultural Heritage Resource Management


  • MA: Heritage Resource Management M.A. Candidate
  • BA: University of British Columbia 2012

MA Theses in HRM: Megan Vanderwel, 2018

A Critical Evaluation of Winter Archaeological Impact Assessments for Proposed Oil and Gas Developments in Northeast British Columbia


Dave Burley, Professor, Senior Supervisor
Keary Walde, President, Heritage North Consulting Ltd, Supervisor
Michael Kalssen, Principal, Klahanee Heritage Research, External Examiner


Consulting archaeologists in northeast British Columbia have employed winter testing for archaeological impact assessments for over a decade. This thesis compares archaeological impact assessments carried out during summer and winter conditions to determine if snow cover effects the rate of site identification. To do so, this thesis first discusses the environmental and cultural history of northeast British Columbia. The unique regulatory environment that has developed around the oil and gas industry, which led to the introduction of winter testing, is also examined. The requirements for consulting archaeologists carrying out winter assessments are introduced and reviewed. Data, in the form of archaeological impact assessments reports, is presented and analyzed to compare reports produced during summer and winter conditions. Finally, potential avenues of new research and regulatory improvements are discussed. The report data examined in this thesis reveals that the rate at which archaeological resources are identified does not differ substantially between summer and winter conditions. This suggests that the continued use of winter testing in northeast British Columbia is an appropriate tool to meet regulatory requirements and ensures that impacts to heritage resources from development are minimized.

Keywords:  northeast British Columbia; archaeological impact assessments; winter testing; BC Oil and Gas Commission; Archaeology Branch