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Balzac Archaeological Site


Other Names:
Balzac Campsite

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place
The Balzac archaeological site is located along a large meander of Nose Creek in northern Calgary and adjacent parts of the Municipal District of Rockyview. Covering an area of approximately 10 hectares, it contains an intact, layered record of Aboriginal campsite occupations spanning the last 2,000 years. The Late Prehistoric Period (ca. 1750 to 250 years ago) is represented in its entirety at this site. Also preserved are cultural materials associated with the Historic, Protohistoric and Middle Prehistoric Periods.

Heritage Value
The heritage value of the Balzac archaeological site lies in the fact that its multiple campsite occupations represent a well-preserved and clearly identifiable Aboriginal land use pattern that occurred in the Calgary area over the last two millennia. Rapid and frequent burial of continuous cultural occupations by creek flooding events has resulted in excellent preservation of at least 13 discrete cultural layers. The most completely represented occupations are those of the Late Prehistoric Period, which include five layers of Avonlea Phase (ca. A.D. 250 to 800) cultural material and six cultural layers containing Old Women's Phase (ca. A.D. 800 to 1750) materials. Among archaeological sites in Alberta, few are so well stratified or contain well-preserved materials in such quantity.

Source: Alberta Culture and Community Spirit, Historic Resources Management Branch (File: Des. 2130)

Character-Defining Elements
The character-defining elements of the Balzac archaeological site include:
- the well-stratified occurrence of numerous Late Prehistoric Period occupations;
- the potential scientific value of remaining intact deposits which exhibit quantity, diversity and integrity in cultural materials, including the excellent preservation of organic specimens such as bone;
- the scientific research potential retained in the over 7,000 stone artifacts and in excess of 120,000 preserved bones that have been recovered to date from the site, as well as more unique artifacts such as bone tools, shell and bone beads, pottery and a metal projectile point;
- the presence of time-diagnostic artifacts, such as projectile points (arrow points) and pottery which contain valuable information on cultural affinity;
- the presence of activity nodes indicated by the occurrence of campfire features such as hearths and burn areas, which are numerous and well preserved and provide valuable information on prehistoric subsistence activities.


Street Address:
Community: Calgary
Contributing Resources: Archaeological Site/Remainss: 1

ATS Legal Description:
Mer Rge Twp Sec LSD

PBL Legal Description (Cadastral Reference):
Plan Block Lot Parcel

Latitude Longitude CDT Datum Type

UTM Reference:
Northing Easting Zone CDT Datum Type


Recognition Authority: Province of Alberta
Designation Status: Provincial Historic Resource
Date of Designation: 2002/12/10

Historical Information

Built: N/A
Period of Significance: 250 to 1750
Theme(s): Peopling the Land : Canada's Earliest Inhabitants
Peopling the Land : People and the Environment
Historic Function(s): Undetermined : Buried Site
Current Function(s):

Additional Information

Object Number: 4665-0071
Designation File: DES 2130
Related Listing(s):
Heritage Survey File: HS 81409
Website Link:
Data Source: Alberta Culture and Community Spirit, Historic Resources Management Branch, Old St. Stephen's College, 8820 - 112 Street, Edmonton, AB T6G 2P8 (File: Des. 2130)
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