Preservation of Alberta's cultural past
Archaeology on the Willesden Green Pipeline Project
Before beginning any new project, Pembina conducts environmental studies to understand the potential impacts a proposed project may have on the land, air, wildlife and watersheds – and then develops detailed plans to minimize our environmental footprint. In preparation for the Willesden Green Pipeline Project TERA Environment, on behalf of Pembina, conducted a Historical Resources Impact Assessment during which 240 shovel tests were excavated in 19 locations with higher potential for archaeological sites.
Buried artifacts were found at two of these locations, resulting in the identification of two new archaeological sites: one ancient Aboriginal campsite on the north side of Rose Creek near Rocky Mountain House; and a second Aboriginal campsite on the north side of Washout Creek near Drayton Valley. Pembina attempted to find alternate route options that would avoid the sites, but none were available and therefore opted to mitigate these sites through excavation, which was also conducted by TERA archaeologists along with assistants from the O'Chiese First Nation in December, 2010.
Stone tools, flint knapping debris and remains of old fire pits were found at both sites, providing evidence of activities including stone tool production, hide processing, cooking and bone grease extraction. Various styles of stone dart and arrow heads were found at Rose Creek, from which the archaeologists learned that the site had been occupied by people at least twice in the past: as early as 4,800 years ago, and as recently as 200 years ago. A stone arrow point was found at Washout Creek, revealing that this site was occupied at a time between 2,000 and 200 years ago.
The recoveries made at both of these sites, which were donated to museums, are important and provide us a new window on people's activities from times long ago.