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UBC Theses and Dissertations

The role of archaeology in cultural resource management Yip, Arlene Jeanne


A new field in archaeology, cultural resource management, emerged during the environmental and conservation movements of the mid 1960s and early 1970s. The term cultural resource management (CRM) was first introduced into the archaeological literature by American archaeologists. CRM combines the philosophy of conservation (i.e. the preservation and public stewardship of archaeological resource for future use) with management skills to create a process to assess and mitigate archaeological resources affected by adverse impacts. The main purpose of this thesis is to examine the development of CRM in Canada at the federal and provincial levels and to present alternative conservation strategies that may prove to be as effective as present government heritage legislation and policies. To achieve these aims, first the general literature on CRM is reviewed. From this examination, archaeology, cultural resources and CRM are defined. Second, CRM in the United States and Canada is discussed by examining federal preservation laws and environmental policies which address the issue of archaeological resources located on federal lands. Emphasis is placed on the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA). This Act introduced an environmental impact assessment process that became the model used to identify, evaluate, assess and mitigate archaeological resources affected by a project's actions. Third, a study is made of a provincial policy guideline and an impact assessment procedure for archaeological resources. Using this literature review, an evaluation of the provincial archaeology agency is presented. Fourth, alternative methods for conserving and managing archaeological resources are analyzed. Finally, after a brief summary, policy recommendations are presented for developing an integrated planning approach to facilitate the achievement of a more effective CRM plan. Examination and analysis of the literature concerning CRM in Canada reveals several main problems. The four most important deficiencies are: 1) a failure to integrate CRM planning with the planning policies and programs of other land agencies; 2) the lack of a federal archaeology policy; 3) the lack of a legislated mandate to enforce adherence to the provincial archaeology policy guidelines or to the archaeological impact assessment procedure; and 4) the centralization of final decision-making regarding the designation and preservation of archaeological sites. These related problems suggest that a new approach to conserving and managing the resource base should be considered. This thesis contends that if archaeological resources are to be preserved for future generations, then alternative resource management strategies should be implemented immediately. In addition, the management of archaeological heritage should be the joint responsibility of all levels of government and community groups. Therefore, a successful and effective CRM plan should integrate government heritage legislation and policies with community needs and values.

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