We are a full-service heritage consulting company with the capacity to carry out projects of varying scope throughout western and northern Canada and adjacent areas. As a boutique operation, we pride ourselves on our high standards.

Lifeways offers in-house services that can enhance the analysis, presentation, and delivery of information gained through historical resources studies, from expert testimony to GIS analyses.

Through our professional partners we can offer a range of other analytical services from geophysical studies such as magnetometry and ground penetrating radar, to 3-D scanning of sites and artifacts, and radiometric dating.

Since its inception Lifeways has completed almost 1,000 archaeological field assessment studies. Don't hesitate to reach out; we'd be happy to discuss your project.

About Us


We are a private company with a sizeable, full‐time permanent staff who work efficiently together as a team through all stages of Historical Resources Impact Assessment and Aboriginal Engagement and First Nations Consultation projects.

Lifeways has literally undertaken thousands of historical resources projects. For almost five decades Lifeways has helped conventional developers minimize their impact to the environment and we are proud to expand this tradition by providing expertise to newer, greener developments.

The study of the past is an intriguing field of inquiry.  Here are some interesting facts about Alberta and beyond.

The study of Archaeology in Alberta, like that of most other areas in northern North America, is a post-World War II phenomenon. However, unlike some of our sister provinces, initially the study of archaeology in Alberta was a private rather than a government initiative.

Lifeways of Canada is proud to be part of the vibrant community of Calgary. We believe that contributing to the society in which you live is an important part of community membership. To that end, in addition to personal giving, Lifeways and its staff contribute to projects that help build public awareness of archaeology, and that help make Calgary and Alberta better places for their citizens.

Although Historic Period archaeological sites are an important part of Canada’s heritage, when most people think about archaeology, they are thinking about what archaeologists commonly call Precontact archaeological sites. On the prairies, common types of sites that you may be familiar with are:

  • Tipi rings (circles of cobbles that once held down the hide lodge covers of a tipi)
  • Buffalo jumps such as Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump
  • Medicine Wheels such as Majorville
  • Historic Period sites such as the Bar-U Ranch, Fort Calgary, or Lower Fort Garry

However, these represent only a fraction of archaeological sites. Archaeological sites related to Aboriginal peoples who seasonally and occasionally occupied Canada over the past 12-15,000 years occur almost everywhere. Alberta has over 40,000 recorded archaeological sites, ranging from places where just a few artifacts are found, to much larger sites like Head-Smashed-In. As a class, this type of archaeological site represents the most common type of historical resource, not surprising given the length of the Precontact Periods. These sites include surface and buried sites, both of which occur in rather shallow contexts in most of Canada. Sites that are deeply buried, say more than a meter deep, are relatively uncommon. That being said, do not be startled when we recommend the use of a backhoe in certain areas to test the deep deposits to see if archaeological remains are present.

Alberta maintains a series of records called the Heritage Survey, containing information primarily about historic places such as:

  • houses
  • churches
  • grain elevators
  • train stations
  • barns
  • mines
  • cemeteries
  • geological and natural features

While the Heritage Survey staff consider these to be “non-archaeological historic sites,” the fact of the matter is that there is substantial overlap between historic sites and historic period archaeological sites. Historic Period sites are those sites that post-date the exploration and settlement of an area by peoples primarily of Euro-Canadian descent and “Western European Culture”, but also including newcomers from many places in the world. They may include sites with standing structures/structural remains such as cabins, trading posts, towns, mining camps, mines, prospects, graves, trails, roads, and railroads. In addition, Historic Period sites can include locales where significant historic events occurred, but for which there is no physical evidence. Historic artifacts are those artifacts associated with such sites and are generally of industrial rather than of folk manufacture. Sites of potential significance typically predate the Second World War, unless a site is of exceptional architectural or historic value.

Palaeontological sites and fossils include both surficial and bedrock deposits and the fossilized remains of both living and extinct species of plants and animals. They range from invertebrate fossils and fossil localities found in rocks of Palaeozoic age, through Mesozoic-aged plants and animal remains, particularly those of large land and marine reptiles, to plants and mammals of the Cenozoic. Significant mammalian fossils, such as mammoth or extinct species of bison, can also occur in glacial outwash and post-glacial deposits, generally in gravels. The locations of such isolated finds are extremely difficult to predict.

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