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From Land to Sea

At Sea-Beneath, we offer a wide range of professional archaeological services on Vancouver Island that can benefit private owners, developers, realtors, municipal and federal bodies, and First Nations communities.

Our experienced archaeologists can help to uncover and document the rich cultural heritage of Vancouver Island, while working with all stakeholders to develop design plans that factor in the avoidance and protection of heritage values.

If you are a federal, provincial or municipal government; private owner, developer, or real estate agent, we can assess the archaeological significance of your property and work with you to design a plan for development that will preserve significant archaeological and cultural heritage features. We will help you to comply with the Heritage Conservation Act and other regulations and policies that are in place so that archaeological sites are properly protected and managed, and we will work with you to navigate through the archaeological assessment and permitting process.

Sea Beneath works directly with First Nations communities to support the identification and documentation of culturally important sites, in a manner that respects traditional values. We conduct our work, to the best of our ability, in accordance with Article 11 of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People (UNDRIP), and in accordance with the BC Heritage Conservation Act.

At Sea-Beneath, we are 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 all stakeholder needs. We understand the big picture, strive for balanced solutions, and honor open, honest, and genuine relationships.

Archaeological Overview Assessment (AOA)

Desktop assessment of the archaeological potential of a property based on known archaeological sites, traditional land use, and environmental variables. AOAs provided include small-scale reviews but can include large-scale GIS models; and follow established guidelines provided by the Archaeology Branch.

Click for more information on AOA from the BC Government

Preliminary Field Reconnaissance (PFR)

A PFR may be conducted without a Heritage Conservation Act (HCA) permit and is an in-field evaluation of the archaeological potential of a property, conducted in accordance with the Archaeology Branch best practices for recording the results of non-permitted studies.

Click for more information on PFR from the BC Government

Archaeological Impact Assessments (AIA)

an AIA is conducted by an archaeologist under the authority of a Section 12.2 Heritage Inspection Permit (HIP), and allows for subsurface investigations, artifact collection, and archaeological site evaluation. AIAs include a level of analysis and reporting and must meet specific terms and conditions of the HCA permit.

Click for more information on AIA from the BC Government

Site Alteration

SAPs generally follow an AIA and are conducted when an organization or individual needs to build on or in the established boundaries of an archaeological site. A Section 12.4 Site Alteration Permit (SAP) is required, and the alterations taking place within and near that archaeological site will be directed, monitored, and recorded by a professional archaeologist working in conjunction with the local First Nations. SAPs may involve the archaeological monitoring of alterations to a known site by an archaeologist, and include a level of analysis and reporting that must meet specific terms and conditions of the SAP permit.

Cultural Resource Management Education

We provide guidance, support, and training to land use planners with cultural resource management education to help them identify, appreciate, and understand the value and need for heritage values to be considered and incorporated in their planning strategies. We deliver training to municipalities, land developers, and real estate agents. Our presentations discuss the Heritage Conservation Act, and responsibilities under it; the archaeological permitting process in British Columbia as it relates to the sale and purchase of property, proposed residential, commercial, and municipal developments, utility repairs, installations, and upgrades, road works, and all other subsurface impacts conducted within areas of archaeological potential or within known archaeological sites.

Resource Inventory Standards Committee (RISC) training

he RISC course is 5 – 10 days in duration and provides students with a comprehensive introduction to BC Heritage Conservation Act (HCA) legislation that protects archaeological sites in the province; instruction and practical experience in basic field survey techniques, and support in the identification of archaeological site types known within a given region. Upon successful completion of the RISC course, each student is issued a certificate from the Archaeology Branch. The training and certification will provide students with the necessary qualifications to assist professional archaeologists for all manner of development projects that require archaeological investigation and oversight. This coursework is taught to people seeking employment as archaeological field technicians, cultural monitors, and Guardian Watchman. An underwater component of the course is also available.


We will arrange and provide archaeological and cultural monitoring during construction activities when an archaeological site is being impacted or at risk of impact.

Archaeological Inventory Studies (AIS)

Archaeological Inventory Studies provide data on where Archaeological sites are, and are likely to be found. This information is used for planning and land use projects by governments, municipalities, regional districts, and large scale developers to help them make informed decisions for the future.


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 breach of the Act, impose penalties of not more than:

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