Archaeology in National Historic Sites of Canada

The Cultural Resource Management Policy is an integrated and holistic approach to the management of cultural resources. It applies to all activities that affect cultural resources administered by Parks Canada.  In other words it applies to the overall management of a national historic site as well as to the individual cultural resources that are contained in a national historic site. Cultural resource management depends on a strong corporate or organizational ethic embodied in a set of principles. In its practice, cultural resource management integrates professional, technical and administrative activities to ensure that cultural resources are identified and evaluated, and that their historic value is duly considered in all actions that might affect them. In the case of cultural heritage sites, cultural resource management provides the means for ensuring their commemorative integrity.

The concept of commemorative integrity was designed as a framework to evaluate and report on the health and wholeness of national historic sites.5  A commemorative integrity statement (CIS) is integrated into NHSC management plans. The guidelines presented in the Guide to the preparation of Commemorative Integrity Statements apply to archaeological resources that are determined to be within the cultural resources family.

Archaeological resources are key components to ensuring commemorative integrity at many national historic sites. A site’s commemorative integrity statement is an elaboration of what constitute a state of commemorative integrity for a site.  It provides a baseline for planning, managing operations, reporting and taking remedial action.

A national historic site possesses commemorative integrity when:
  • The resources directly related to the reasons for designation as a national historic site are not impaired or under threat;
  • The reasons for designation as a national historic site are effectively communicated to the public; and
  • The site's heritage values (including those not related to the reasons for designation as a national historic site) are respected by all decisions and actions affecting the site.

5 Refer to the Guide to the Preparation of Commemorative Integrity Statements 2002, p.1 and 1.1.2, p.2.


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