Officials with SaskEnergy say work is complete at the site near Bethune where ancient human remains were discovered during pipeline construction in October.
Work on the pipeline going to a new potash mine north of Moose Jaw was halted when a worker noticed the remains.
SaskEnergy spokesperson Dave Burdeniuk says archaeological work was done with the help of the Carry the Kettle First Nation and staff from the provincial government’s Heritage Conservation Branch:
“Before the snow came, we were able to complete, with guidance from elders and cultural monitors from Carry the Kettle, soil reclamation. And so, the soil pile that had been set aside for trenching was carefully gone through. We had archaeologists go through and hand sift to see if there were any other remains or artifacts to be found — and nothing else was found.”
Burdeniuk says trenchless technology is being used to install the pipeline below the surface of the north slope of the Qu’Appelle Valley so as not to further disturb the site.
He says it is not unusual to drill under certain areas to avoid disturbing them:
“When we moved north from Montreal Lake to La Ronge, that transmission line that goes along the highway, we had to go under 30 different bodies of water. So, it’s not uncommon for us to actually drill deep underneath something that might be in our way. We’re in the process right now of directional drilling. We’re at the base of the valley, and then we’ll directional drill under this hill for about a kilometre, we’ll be at depths between 30 and 150 feet.”
Burdeniuk says, for now, the Heritage Conservation Branch is overseeing the remains found at the site.
Officials from Carry the Kettle will decide what to do with the bone fragments.