Information for Realtors & Land Owners

Information for Realtors

In British Columbia, archaeological sites are protected by legislation, meaning that sites must not be altered. The Province maintains an inventory of known archaeological sites and realtors are strongly advised to check this inventory to determine if known archaeological sites are recorded on specific properties listed for sale. BCAPA Professional Members or Consulting Firms can secure information regarding archaeological sites from the Archaeology Branch.

Archaeological sites are fragile and subject to looting, therefore information concerning archaeological site locations is not released into the public domain. The following limitations apply to realtor requests for archaeological information:

  • Requests may only be made for parcels listed for sale,
  • Information may be shared only with your client, property owner and their agents,
  • Requests apply only to known archaeological sites recorded in the Provincial Archaeological Sites Inventory.

Information for Land Owners

An archaeological site located on private, public, or crown land regardless if it is listed in the provincial inventory or not is still protected under the Heritage Conservation Act. Damage of any kind to an archaeological site without a permit is punishable by law.

If there is an archaeological site on your property, you will have to obtain a permit before you can develop or subdivide. Depending on the scope of work, obtaining a permit and conducting an archaeological assessment or mitigation work can be a quick process, but it may also take several months. It is, therefore, a good idea to start this process as soon as possible. The steps outlined below are meant as a general guideline and should be conducted as early as possible to help keep costs to a minimum and to avoid or reduce damage to heritage sites.

    • Step 1: Find out if there is an archaeological site on your property. The Province maintains an inventory of archaeological sites. You can find out if there is an archaeology site on your property by submitting a data request to the Archaeology Branch or contact the BCAPA at to preform expedited data requests for a fee.
    • Step 2: If there is an archaeological site on your property and you plan to develop, you will need to engage a professional archaeologist or consulting firm. The archaeologist will review the situation and determine whether the development will disturb the site. A list of BCAPA Professional Members and Consulting Firms is available here.

If at any time during the development of your property you locate archaeological materials you must immediately stop work before further damaging the site and contact the Archaeology Branch for direction.

Additional information, frequently asked questions, and contacts are available on the Archaeology Branch website.

Archaeology in British Columbia: A Guide for Property Owners and Developers (Brochure)