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Land owners and Realtors

Residential and Commercial Development

Consulting a professional archaeologist before deciding to develop on Vancouver Island, is essential for several reasons. First, there is a rich history of human habitation dating back at least 14,000 years. As a result, there may be important cultural heritage and archaeological sites immediately beneath or in the vicinity of the proposed development location. Secondly, it is important to recognize that many of these archaeological sites and artifacts are culturally significant to Indigenous peoples, who have a deep connection to the land and its stories. Building on or disturbing these sites can cause significant cultural and emotional harm to these communities. Thirdly, there are legal requirements in place to protect archaeological sites and artifacts. In British Columbia, for example, the Heritage Conservation Act outlines the steps that must be taken to protect these important cultural resources.

Landowners are required by law to disclose the presence of an archaeological site on their property to their real estate agent, and the agent is required by law to disclose the presence of a site on a property to a purchaser.

By consulting with Sea Beneath before building on Vancouver Island, developers can gain a better understanding of the potential impact of their project on cultural heritage and archaeological sites. They can also work with Sea Beneath to develop strategies for minimizing harm and protecting these important cultural resources. This ensures that the development is conducted in a responsible and sustainable way that respects the island's rich history and cultural heritage.

Excavation showing the depth of archaeological site.

Our Value Statement

Links for more information

Knowing what to expect and how to navigate building when there is an archaeological site present is important for everyone involved. Here are some links with more information:

RAAD Searches

RAAD is the Remote Access to Archaeological Sites Database administered by the Province of BC and accessed by professional archaeologists and other qualified individuals. A search of this database can quickly and easily inform realtors, developers, prospective and current landowners. Sea Beneath will conduct the search for you and provide a written report in very limited time. This service is a quick and inexpensive way to help make informed decisions, manage risk, and simply give clients a piece of mind.

Who is the BCAPA?

The BCAPA is an association of professional archaeologists engaged in archaeological research and the archaeological resource management process in British Columbia. Our members work with all parties with an interest in archaeology, including First Nations, universities and colleges, industry, developers, and government agencies. SeaBeneath is a corporate member of the BCAPA as is our staff! We are active and contributing members of the association, one of us is even the past President!


Heritage Protection in British Columbia

All archaeological sites in B.C. are protected under the Heritage Conservation Act (HCA) and may not be altered or changed in any manner without a permit issued by the Archaeology Branch. This applies whether sites are located on public or private land, and whether the site is known or unknown. Two mechanisms within the Act are used to protect sites: designation and automatic protection. Designation is a process to protect a specific identified site. Several types of sites are automatically protected by the legislation including localities that contain physical evidence of human use or activity predating 1846, burial places and aboriginal rock carvings or paintings. Examples of additional protected sites include plane wrecks and shipwrecks (regardless of age); burials, temporary camp spots, permanent villages, cultural modified trees (pre-1846), quarry sites (to make stone tools), and all artifacts and utilitarian objects.

The Act also provides for heritage inspection or investigation orders, temporary protection orders, civil remedies and penalties to limit contraventions. These powers provide: the Province with the ability to inspect a site or halt work to prevent site alteration, and the Courts with the ability to issue an injunction to restrain contravention of the Act or, where there has been a brat of the Act, impose penalties of not more than:

A fine of $50,000 and 2 years imprisonment for an individualA fine of not more than $1,000,000 for a cooperationA fine of $50,000 or 2 years imprisonment for an employee, officer, director or agent of the corporation

Click here to learn more about the Heritage Conservation Act in BC

Examples of archaeological evidence at sites around Vancouver Island.

Our Value Statement

Sea-Beneath is committed to working collaboratively to meet Project objectives and timelines. We are equally committed to the protection and conservation of First Nations’ cultural heritage. This balance allows a Project to proceed while minimizing impacts to heritage resources. Upholding these commitments requires integrity, respect, transparency, and careful consideration of stakeholder needs. We understand the big picture, strive for balanced solutions, and honor open, honest, and genuine relationships.

Sea-Beneath principals Rob Field and Kim Berg respectfully acknowledge that they are descendants of settlers who live, work, and play on the unceded lands of the First Peoples. We conduct our work in accordance with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples(UNDRIP) and in keeping with the code of ethics and conduct of the British Columbia Association of Professional Archaeologists(BCAPA) with whom we are members in good standing. Value Statement to replace scenario.docx14 of 141 of 1