Unanticipated discoveries of objects and features of archaeological interest occur for various reasons and in diverse contexts coincident with activities that alter land surfaces. When community development and resource extraction projects unexpectedly encounter a chance find, heritage resources management efforts are required. Such efforts necessarily expose project proponents to financial and regulatory obligations and risk that may or may not be balanced out by gains from additional engagements with stakeholders and further studies by archaeologists. British Columbia’s archaeological record and applicable resource management policy provide an apt case study for understanding risk, policy, and management implications for archaeological chance finds. A typology for archaeological chance finds enables analyses that indicate there are new opportunities available to manage risk. The typology allows for consideration of alternative approaches that draw from international best practice. A suggested process improvement seeks to offset adverse effects to archaeological resources through overcompensation. Recommendations to align policy and practice are provided. These include the implementation of measures to improve triggering mechanisms for archaeological assessment and changes to established assessment processes for chance finds from the perspectives of regulators, proponents, practitioners, and Indigenous Nations.
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Thesis advisor: Welch, John
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