Report A Find

Have you ever discovered a projectile point, stone tool, ceramic, bone or other archaeological artifact? If so, we want to hear from you!

A variety of artifacts typically found in Alberta. Photo credit: Todd Kristensen.

A variety of artifacts typically found in Alberta. Photo credit: Todd Kristensen.

Archaeological artifacts may be exposed by natural events (flooding, freeze/thaw cycles or tree throws) or human modification to a landscape (agriculture, recreation activities or development). As explained in a previous post, Alberta is Rich in Archaeology, archaeologists working in the province discover, or revisit, sites during the course of Historical Resource Impact Assessments. However, there are large stretches of the province that are not subject to Historical Resource Impact Assessments such as previously cultivated areas or areas that do not have development projects on them. This doesn’t mean there are not archaeology sites there. Often, people will discover archaeological artifacts and sites when they are out hiking, fishing, geocaching, working or cultivating their fields. This can include arrowheads or other stone tools, bones, ceramics or tipi rings and other stone features. So, what can people do when they make these discoveries? They can Report A Find!

Bone artifact from a “Stones and Bones” event in Coaldale. Photo credit: Royal Alberta Museum.

Bone artifact from a “Stones and Bones” event in Coaldale. Photo credit: Royal Alberta Museum.

The Archaeological Survey has set up a webpage where people can report their discoveries. You can get an expert opinion on your find and, who knows, possibly be credited with recording a new archaeological site! Recording this information is a big step in helping to preserve and protect Alberta’s historical resources. But, please remember that if you observe an artifact in your travels, the best practice is to leave it where you found it. Archaeological sites are protected under Alberta’s Historic Resources Act, regardless of where they were found. Removing an artifact from its original context disrupts the integrity of the site and may hinder efforts to further understand the significance of the object. You just need to provide us with a photo of your find and the location it was found, either by providing geographic coordinates or plotting the location on a map. Your find will be reported to staff at the Archaeological Survey and they will follow up with you and possibly ask for additional information. Staff will confirm if the site is already known or if the find warrants a new site designation!

Medicine Wheel with outer rings and a central cairn. Photo credit: Royal Alberta Museum.

Medicine Wheel with outer rings and a central cairn. Photo credit: Royal Alberta Museum.

Reporting finds can provide valuable information that helps the staff at the Archaeological Survey manage, protect and preserve archaeological resources in Alberta. We can’t wait to hear about your discoveries!

Written by: Courtney Lakevold, Archaeological Information Coordinator.

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