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Lower Churchill Project Archaeology

Working with the community to protect its heritage

  • Happy Valley-Goose Bay, Labrador

    Happy Valley-Goose Bay, Labrador

A full-scale excavation of important cultural resources

The Lower Churchill River flows through central Labrador, an area traditionally used by several First Nations groups—it’s been used for at least 3000 years for travel and trade. That’s why, when an agreement was reached to build the Muskrat Falls hydroelectric development, a historic resources mitigation component was outlined. Our job? Minimizing project effects on known cultural resources in the area.

Community was kept at the heart of this project. Because it was a key component of a land claim agreement between the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador and the Innu Nation, there was a push for local training and employment. We worked with our indigenous partner company, Stassinu Stantec—an Innu owned company—and remained committed to the inclusion of locals in our delivery of the project.

During baseline studies, we discovered that there were several archaeological sites and resources within the area that would be inundated by flooding from the construction of the hydroelectric dam. Our primary role was to complete a full-scale excavation, cataloging and conserving artifacts—about 350,000 pieces were retrieved.

The outcome? By working with the community, we were able to preserve important artifacts in a way that did justice to the First Nations people and the land itself.

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