Part of Archaeology

Archaeological research permits

Learn who can apply for a permit to survey land or excavate archaeological sites in Alberta.


All archaeological investigations in Alberta must be undertaken by an approved archaeologist who has been issued a research permit.

Alberta archaeologists generally undertake one of two types of research: they both survey and test land to look for archaeological sites, or they use careful techniques to excavate sites from within the ground. A valid Archaeological Research Permit is required in both cases.

Types of archaeological permits

The Archaeological Survey issues 3 types of archaeological permits:

Mitigative permits

These permits are issued to consulting archaeologists to assess the potential impact of proposed development activities on archaeological sites. This work is done on behalf of the developer but is required by the Province. The vast majority of permits issued in Alberta are of this type.

Research permits

These permits are issued to professional researchers working in museums, universities, or other institutions who are seeking to answer specific research questions.

Student permits

These permits are issued to graduate-level university students who want to undertake field studies as part of a Masters or PhD program.


Usually only a professional archaeologist who meets specific qualifications under the Archaeological and Palaeontological Research Permit Regulation can apply for an Archaeological Research Permit. An exception is made for university students doing graduate studies in archaeology, who can apply for permits if they have the support of approved academic sponsors. Qualifications that differ from those specified in the Regulation may be considered when determining eligibility if they are deemed by the Archaeological Survey to be equivalent.

How to apply

Approved researchers can apply for a permit using the Online Permitting and Clearance (OPaC) system.


To contact the Archaeological Survey:

Hours: 8:15 am to 4:30 pm (open Monday to Friday, closed statutory holidays)
Phone: 780-431-2300 (in Alberta)
Toll free: dial 310-0000 before the number
Email: [email protected]
Fax: 780-427-3956

8820 112 Street NW
Edmonton, Alberta  T6G 2P8