We encourage the practice of ethical archaeology in the discovery of the history of Huronia (northern Simcoe County) through archaeological research and discussion of the historic record and oral tradition. Please feel free to comment and or join and post on the blog. Blog contents do not necessarily reflect the opinion of the Ontario Archaeological Society or the Huronia chapter.
Penalties for disturbing an archaeological site
without a licence
The Ontario Heritage Act prohibits
anyone from disturbing or altering an archaeological site — whether on land or
under water — unless they hold a valid archaeological licence issued by the ministry. You may be
disturbing an archaeological site, if you pick up arrowheads in a farmer's
field, grade an archaeological site with a bulldozer, or take objects from a
Anyone who disturbs or alters an archaeological site
or removes an artifact from a site without a licence can be fined or
imprisoned. A person or a director of a corporation found in violation of the
act or its regulations can face a fine of up to $1,000,000 or imprisonment for
up to one year or both. A corporation found in violation of the act or the
regulations can face a fine of up to $250,000.
What to do if you find human bones
The Cemeteries Act and the Funeral, Burial and Cremation
Services Act, when proclaimed in force, require anyone who
uncovers a burial site containing human remains to report the discovery to the
appropriate authorities — the police or a coroner. Likewise, archaeologists who
encounter human remains during archaeological fieldwork are required to comply
with all relevant provisions of the Cemeteries Actand Ontario Regulation 133/92 (Burial Sites) as part of the
terms and conditions of their archaeological licence.
If human remains are discovered during land
development activities, all construction and soil disturbance must stop
immediately to allow the authorities to investigate. All archaeological
fieldwork must stop until the coroner has had the opportunity to investigate
and the Registrar of Cemeteries has been consulted.