Our local historical societies, North Grenville and Merrickville and District, do an outstanding and ever-improving job of preserving the history of our people, places, and events.
Identifying, registering and preserving our archaeological heritage has not occasion to be foremost in the collective efforts to recognize our subsurface prehistoric and historic heritage.
“I propose the formation of a Rideau Grenville Archaeological Society, seeking a membership in the Ontario Archaeological Society, which would hold regular, informative meetings with guest speakers related to the profession,” said Michael Whittaker of Bishop’s Mills. “I believe a number of people living south of the Rideau River want to actively locate, protect, and perhaps, eventually, dig under the guidance of a licensed archaeologist.”
An inquiry into forming a sub-group of the Ottawa Chapter of the Ontario Archaeological Society has not been answered at the time of writing.
North Grenville recognizes that there may be archaeological remains of prehistoric and historic habitation, or areas containing archaeological potential, within the Municipality. Section 12.7, Cultural Heritage and Archaeological Resources, of the North Grenville Official Plan contains the municipality’s current and proposed new archaeological policies.
“Typically, staff requests archaeological assessments as a pre-condition to development applications when the development is located within one of the areas specified in this section”, said Phil Mosher, Planner, Municipality of North Grenville. “From time to time, there may be other circumstances, besides development applications, that trigger requirements.”
In North Grenville, areas of archaeological potential include where the lands in question contain, or are located in, an area having one of 13 listed criteria. They include known archaeological sites, distance from water sources, elevated topography, unusual land formations, and local knowledge.
Mr. Whittaker has reported a number of potential and actual archaeological sites to Mr. Mosher, and he believes community involvement is essential to finding yet unrecognized sites.
Merrickville-Wolford will update archaeological policies in their new Official Plan, as required by the Province of Ontario, and the new United Counties of Leeds and Grenville Official Plan. The new Official Plan begins early in the 2018.
Section 4.5.2 of Official Plan for the United Counties of Leeds and Grenville concerns Archaeological Resources. County policy encourages local municipalities to undertake the preparation of archaeological management plans in conserving archaeological resources and areas of archaeological potential.
The municipalities and county do not have the resources to actively seek and log archaeological sites. A Rideau Grenville Archaeological Society would contribute the local knowledge vital to the identification of important archaeological resources.
Interested parties should contact Michael Whittaker at [email protected] or 613-258-0477.