Archaeologists love their jargon. Here's a handy alphabetical guide to the most common terms you'll encounter in BC.
AAIF - Archaeological Assessment Information Form: A document required by the BC Oil and Gas Commission for projects related to the transport or recovery of oil or gas.
AIA - Archaeological Impact Assessment: An archaeological assessment conducted under permit, allowing for shovel testing.
AOA - Archaeological Overview Assessment: An office-based assessment of an area's potential to contain archaeological sites. Unlike a desktop review, these are usually conducted for a large area. They act as both a trigger for archaeological assessments, as well as a guide to focus field work. Most of the existing AOAs in the Kootenays are the product of Mr. Wayne T. Choquette.
AOP - Area of Potential: An area identified during a PFR as having potential to contain unidentified archaeological sites (see also: HAP).
APTS - Archaeological Permit Tracking System: The BC Government online application for submitting and managing archaeological permits.
Arch Branch - BC Archaeology Branch (part of the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations): The regulator of archaeology permits and standards in British Columbia.
Artifact: An object created or modified by humans. In the Kootenays, these typically take the form of stone artifacts (tools and flakes), FAR, and bone.
BCAPA - British Columbia Association of Professional Archaeologists: A professional standards body for consulting archaeologists in BC.
Cultural Depression: The general term for any pit or depression created by humans. These may include house pits, cooking or roasting pits, and cache pits, where food or other items were stored.
Debitage: The waste material created through the process of creating stone tools (flintknapping).
DTR - Desktop Review: A focused desktop assessment of archaeological potential within the scope of a single project.
FAR/FBR/FCR - Fire-Altered Rock/Fire-Broken Rock/Fire-Cracked Rock: Whichever you call it, FAR is an artifact type defined by distinctive breakage patterns. It is indicative of cooking and hearth activities. Forest fires do not produce FAR.
Faunal Material: Organic remains of animals (usually bone).
Feature: A cultural creation that cannot be moved. Examples include pictographs, cairns, stone circles, hearths, and cultural depressions.
Flake: A piece of debris (debitage) created in the process of making a stone tool, or created to use as a tool itself.
Flintknapping: The process of creating stone tools through controlled percussive strikes and directed pressure.
HAP - High Archaeological Potential: An area identified during a PFR as having potential to contain unidentified archaeological sites (see also: AOP).
HCA - BC Heritage Conservation Act: The legislation governing archaeology in BC, administered by the BC Archaeology Branch.
Interim Report - Blanket permit interim report: Don't let the name fool you; under a blanket permit, an interim report is the final product delivered to the client (the report is later incorporated into a larger report, with interims from many other projects).
OGC - Oil and Gas Commission: The OGC regulates most archaeological assessments within Northeast BC, and requires AAIFs for oil and gas related projects elsewhere in the province.
PARL - Provincial Archaeological Report Library: Online application administered by the BC Archaeology Branch as a repository of permitted reports.
PFR - Preliminary Field Reconnaissance: A non-permitted field assessment. No shovel testing is allowed, but surface sites and areas of archaeological potential can be identified for avoidance or further inspection under permit.
Pictograph: Drawings on stone, usually done with ochre. These are always protected in BC, regardless of age, and are considered to have extremely high importance to most First Nations peoples.
PO - Project Officer: The person assigned by the Archaeology Branch to a specific permit or project.
Polygon - Archaeological Overview Assessment Polygon: The areas of medium and high archaeological potential identified during an AOA or DTR are referred to as polygons.
RAAD - Remote Access to Archaeological Data application: A map-based database of known archaeological sites, site forms, and AOA polygons. Though not comprehensive, RAAD is a useful project screening tool.
RISC - Resource Information Standards Committee: A standardized course for archaeological technicians in BC.
SAP - Site Alteration Permit: A Permit type under Section 12 of the HCA. This allows for alterations to a known site, usually with an archaeologist monitor.
STL - Shovel Test Location: An area where shovel tests have been conducted in search of archaeological sites.
Section 12 Alteration Permit: See SAP.
Section 14 Inspection Permit: See AIA.
Shovel Test: A small stratigraphically controlled test pit used to look for subsurface artifacts and features. Placed systematically or judgementally over a landform.
Site Inventory Section: The section of the BC Archaeology Branch responsible for curating site records in BC.
Site Form: A form containing details of new and revisited archaeology sites; filled out and submitted by an archaeologist to the Site Inventory Section.