Principles of Archaeological Resource Management

The management of archaeological resources under Parks Canada stewardship is based on the CRM Policy principles of value, public benefit, understanding, respect and integrity as applied on a case-by-case basis13.  For effective management of cultural resources, these principles should be considered individually and together.  All major aspectsof the five CRM principles are followed in archaeological resource management within Parks Canada and could be adopted by other federal land managers.  In addition to these principles, archaeologists should give due consideration to the following aspects of their work.


Archaeological resource management demands ethical consideration (see Appendix 6). It is a good practice to inform all interested parties when their cultural heritage is involved. For example, before archaeological investigations that may encounter resources relating to the history of a specific cultural or Aboriginal group are conducted, the appropriate group(s) should be informed.

Professional Judgement

Parks Canada archaeological resource management activities are based on knowledge, professional and technical skills, and expertise14. Archaeologists participate in evaluating archaeological resources and, in case of threats   to resources, in designing appropriate protection and mitigation measures.


Research is essential in evaluating, conserving and interpreting archaeological resources. The information generated through research is also important for long-term planning for cultural resources on federal lands. Reports pertaining to archaeological activities on Parks Canada administered lands are expected to meet report content standards as required by Parks Canada.  Parks Canada also requires that researchers refer to the basic report content standards contained in the relevant provincial or territorial legislation where research takes place15.  For a summary of Acts and regulations see Unearthing the Law:  Archaeological Legislation on Lands in Canada.

In addition, as stated in the CRM Policy, “research and the results of research will be the basis for activities that have an impact on cultural resources and their presentation”16. Results of archaeological research should be disseminated not only as information, analysis and advice within the Parks Canada organization, but also through public programming to identify the resource significance and to educate the public about the risk and/or benefits associated with access to archaeological resources.

Archaeological objects should be considered to be part of a site’s archaeological resources and included in research schemes. Archaeological objects must be inventoried, evaluated, studied and preserved or conserved, taking into consideration their relationship with other resources.

13 CRM Policy, 1994, 3.3.1.
14 CRM Policy, 1994, 2.1.1.
15 While those laws apply to research on provincial or territorial lands, and do not apply to federal lands, Parks Canada refers to certain aspects for guidance as a matter of practicality.
16 CRM Policy, 1994, 3.3.1.


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