Ontario has a cultural history that begins approximately 12,000 years ago and continues to the present. The archaeological sites that are the physical remains of this lengthy settlement history represent a fragile and non-renewable cultural legacy. They are distributed throughout the landscape, reflecting a multitude of human activities, endeavours, and events. Archaeological sites may be found on or below the modern land surface, and can even be found submerged under water.
Archaeological sites may take a variety of forms, including surface scatters of artifacts; subsurface strata that are of human origin or that incorporate cultural deposits; the remains of structural features; or a combination of the above. Documenting and protecting these sites has become especially important in southern Ontario, where landscape change has been occurring at an ever increasing rate since the 1950s, resulting in extensive losses to the archaeological record.
ASI regularly conducts archaeological assessments in advance of residential and commercial developments subject to Planning Act approvals, as well as infrastructure projects, such as road widenings, utility corridors, and waste management facilities, that are subject to Environmental Assessment Act approvals. All of our work is conducted in accordance with the Standards and Guidelines for Consultant Archaeologists, as administered by the Ontario Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport.
Stage 1 Assessments
ASI fulfills the requirements of the Stage 1 background study and property inspection by providing comprehensive historical background and archival research, and thorough site analysis.
Stage 2 Assessments
ASI employs efficient and intensive field survey and material analysis methods to identify the presence and nature of archaeological sites and determine if further assessment is warranted.
Stage 3 Site-Specific Assessments
ASI satisfies the requirements of Stage 3 assessments to identify the extent and heritage value of archaeological sites through responsible and cost-effective excavation methods and artifact processing procedures.
Stage 4 Site Mitigations
ASI excels at both the development of impact mitigation strategies for the long-term protection of archaeological sites and extensive, complex site documentation and excavation when protection and avoidance are not viable options.
ASI regularly undertakes complex, high-profile archaeological mitigation work in busy, urban environments. Urban archaeological excavations are conducted using methods tailored to each project and with the utmost attention to health and safety of all personnel.
ASI specializes in the identification of cemetery limits, exploratory excavation, and the exhumation of human and animal remains. We consult with First Nations councils, surviving next-of-kin, and all relevant government and non-government agencies.
Our Laboratory Services department is committed to detailed processing and inventory of all artifacts that come in from the field. In addition, Laboratory Services facilitates research access, interpretation, and public outreach.
Zooarchaeology & Paleoethnobotany
ASI conducts specialist analyses of zooarchaeological and paleoethnobotanical remains recovered from archaeological sites, completed by ASI staff as well as Perca Zooarchaeological Research, on a contract basis.
ASI conducts specialist analyses of human osteological remains recovered from archaeological sites, completed by ASI staff or by internationally recognized experts, on a contract basis.