top of page


Frequently Asked Questions

  • Stage 3 Site Specific Assessment
    If archaeological resources of significant cultural value are encountered within a Stage 2 assessment a Stage 3 Site-Specific Assessment must be conducted for all archaeological sites found on a property. The purpose of Stage 3 Site Specific Assessment is to assess the cultural heritage value or interest of each archaeological site identified by the Stage 2 assessment. The Stage 3 further determines whether the site has been sufficiently documented or if further archaeological measures are required to protect or document the site.
  • Stage 4 Site Mitigation
    The purpose of Stage 4 Site Mitigation is to address the development impacts on an archaeological site with a level of cultural heritage value or interest which has been determined to require mitigation though Stage 3 Site Specific Assessment. There are two approaches to site mitigation, the first being avoidance and protection of the site through project redesign or green space and parkland. Avoidance and protection is the Ministry of Heritage, Sport, Tourism, and Cultural Industries and Detritus’s preferred option. However, avoidance is not always a feasible action, and, in this case, full excavation of the archaeological site is the second option. Detritus will excavate the entire archaeological site with the goal of full documenting and removing all archaeological features.
  • Stage 1 Property Assessment
    Stage 1 assessments are primarily desktop studies consisting of a historical background and archival search of all known historical, environmental, and archaeological data for the subject property. The information gathered in this search is used to determine the archaeological potential of the study property. Stage 1 assessments often include a site visit to assist in ascertaining the archaeological potential of the Study Area.
  • Stage 2 Property Assessment
    Stage 2 assessments are property surveys conducted through systemic means appropriate to the characteristics of the property and in accordance with the Standards and Guidelines for Consultant Archaeologists. Recent or active cultivated fields, arable land, and feasible open areas must be ploughed and suitably weathered before conducting a Pedestrian Survey. Pedestrian Surveys are conducted by systematically walking 5 m transects to permit recovery of cultural material on the surface of the soil. Urban settings, and areas that are inaccessible for ploughing are subject to Test Pit Survey. Test Pit Surveys are conducted digging 30-40cm wide test pits at 5m transect intervals over the entire assessment property and examining the pits contents.
  • Our Philosophy
    Detritus was born in 1997 from the former staff of a larger CRM company. With the formation of this new company I pledged to treat our customers with empathy and respect instead of indifference or disdain. While I believe the preservation of the archaeological record is important, I also understand that our customers represent an important industry within the Canadian economy. At Detritus we try to treat every customer like the first one who came to us - a homeowner just trying to sever a small parcel of land and confused by the need for an archaeological assessment. The satisfaction I got from sheparding that client through a confusing and stressful time is the driving force for this company. I hope we can help you too. Garth Grimes
  • Why am I being told I need an archaeological assessment?
    An archaeological assessment is usually triggered by municipal heritage planning policies and sometimes by existing Archaeological Master Plans that identify areas of archaeological potential. If your property has certain characteristics that indicate there is potential to find an archaeological site, you may be required to get an assessment done as part of the development approval process. If this happens there is an archaeological condition has been placed on your property and you need to get it removed before development can proceed.
  • How does the archaeological assessment process work?
    There are a maximum of four stages to the archaeological assessment process: Stage 1 This assessment is designed to determine whether there is archaeological potential at a property and whether or not physical survey will be required (stage 2). It is usually performed in the absence of an archaeological master plan and in cases where there is a need to know what areas of a property are archaeologically sensitive. A stage 1 report may conclude there is no archaeological potential which ends the process or recommend stage 2 if there is potential Stage 2 This stage of the assessment process is usually combined with stage 1 but can be performed as a ‘stand alone’ assessment once a stage 1 has been completed. Stage 2 assessment involves physically surveying a property to see whether there are in fact artifacts or archaeological sites present. This is done one of two ways: Pedestrian survey – done in agricultural areas where ploughing can be performed. The field is visually scanned by a crew walking at intervals over the property. Artifacts are mapped and recovered. Test pit survey – done in any areas where ploughing can’t be done. The property is surveyed by a crew digging test pits at intervals and screening the contents of each pit for artifacts. Once a property has been surveyed a stage 2 report is produced which will either recommend clearance of the archaeological condition or if a site is found it may recommend stage 3. Stage 3 If a significant site is found during stage 2, either historic Euro-Canadian (pioneer) or First nations aboriginal, a stage 3 assessment will be required to determine whether the site has real importance or not. This involves excavation at intervals across the site to sample it and get a more complete picture of what kind of site it is. Again a report is produced and a recommendation to proceed to stage 4 or clear the heritage condition is made. Stage 4 If a site is found to have real importance, it must either be avoided or excavated. Sometimes it is possible to redesign a site plan to avoid all or most of a site. If avoidance isn’t possible the site must be excavated and a report produced. This is the final stage in the process.
  • Helpful Links
    Ontario Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport The Ontario Archaeological Society Ontario Association of Professional Archaeologists BILD (The Building Industry and Land Development Association)
  • Heritage Impact Assessments (HIA)
    The purpose of an HIA is to evaluate the impact of a proposed development or changes to known cultural heritage resources in order to recommend strategies for mitigation of impacts to the cultural heritage value.
  • Cultural Heritage Landscape Evaluation (CHLE)
    Cultural heritage landscapes are geographical areas that have been modified by human activity over time and may include a grouping of built heritage components. There are three types of cultural heritage landscapes which include, clearly defined landscapes, organically evolved landscapes, and associative landscapes. Defined landscapes include gardens, parks, and cemeteries which were designed for aesthetic or economic reasons. Organically evolved landscapes result form a long-term relationship between human activity and the natural environment. Associative cultural landscapes include those which may have no evidence of cultural activity, but the natural features are known to have spiritual, artistic, or other cultural significance. These landscapes combined with built heritage and the impacts from proposed development form a CHLE and result in mitigation or development change recommendations.
  • Cultural Heritage Evaluation Report (CHER)
    The purpose of a CHER is to evaluate and document, built structures and architectural features of historical and cultural interest. The evaluation includes archival research of the property’s history, occupants, documentation of architectural features and how the proposed development interacts with the property’s cultural history.
  • Built Heritage Assessments (BHA)
    Built heritage resources are individual person-made or modified resources such as buildings or structures. A BHA is often part of the initial phase of the CHER, HIA as well as a Landscape Evaluation. A BHA also can be completed on a historical or culturally significant structure that has not been documented previously.
bottom of page