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back to index Permitting Archeology—An Overview of the National Archeological Database, Permits Module

Repositories and Collections

Both the Antiquities Act and ARPA require a permit applicant to provide certification that an authorized repository will curate the collections resulting from the project. Repositories may include state, university or private museums, state historical societies, university departments, research laboratories, libraries, or offices of state archeologists.

The states with the most repositories identified in NADB-Permits are New Mexico (308), Arizona (207), California (193), and Colorado (191), all of which are where the majority of permits were granted. No permit record lists any repositories in New Hampshire, Mississippi, Vermont, or West Virginia.

Designated Repository # Times Designated
University of Wyoming—Laramie, WY 156
University of Colorado Museum—Boulder, CO 148
Museum of New Mexico—Santa Fe, NM 135
Nevada State Museum—Carson City, NV 93
University of California-Berkeley—Berkeley, CA 89
University of Utah—Salt Lake City, UT 87
Brigham-Young University—Provo, UT 86
Mesa College, Grand Junction, CO 81
University of Oregon—Eugene, OR 77
University of New Mexico—Albuquerque, NM 69
University of Alaska—Fairbanks, AK 67
Southern Utah State College—Cedar City, UT 66
Smithsonian Institute—Washington DC 64
University of Denver—Denver, CO 60
Museum of Northern Arizona—Flagstaff, AZ 56
Western Wyoming College—Rock Springs, WY 49
Ft. Lewis College—Durango, CO 48
New Mexico State University—Las Cruces, NM 48
Navajo Tribal Museum—Window Rock, AZ 44
Eastern New Mexico University—Portales, NM 44
Table 5: Top 20 Repositories Designated in the Permits Issued.

The data also provides information about the specific repositories designated most often (Table 5). The top three are the University of Wyoming (Laramie, WY), University of Colorado (Boulder, CO), and the Museum of New Mexico, (Santa Fe, NM). Not surprisingly, the staff at each repository has conducted a large number of permitted projects.

The types of permits granted, project locations, and those who executed the investigations have been discussed in previous sections. But what were the results of these permitted projects? What did the permittees discover, unearth, and collect?

Archeological Materials Recovered
Reported in 179 NADB-Permits Records
(figure) Types of Archeological Materials Recovered as Reported in 179 Permits.
Figure 8: Types of Archeological Materials Recovered as Reported in 179 Permits.

Of the permits currently entered in NADB-Permits, only 179 (7%) contain information on the types of archeological materials recovered. The most common materials were lithic artifacts and ceramics (Figure 8). Interestingly, the third and fourth most common materials found were human remains and bone/ivory. The vast majority of these latter material types, however, were listed in the permit files issued between 1908 and 1935.

Over 70 permit files in NADB-Permits are designated as potentially subject to the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA). Sixty-six contain documentation that human remains were recovered. NAGPRA requires the return of Native American remains and funerary objects to the culturally affiliated tribe, if determined. The human remains deemed potentially subject to NAGPRA in the permit files were recovered in a range of geographic locations, such as Mammoth Cave National Park in Kentucky and Imperial County, California. Interestingly, two of the potential NAGPRA sites were submerged, which possibly contributed to the preservation of the recovered materials.

Paeontological Materials Recovered
Reported in 123 NADB-Permits Records
(figure) Types of Paleontological Materials Recovered as Reported in 179 Permits.
Figure 9: Types of Paleontological Materials Recovered as Reported in 123 Permits.

Just over 120 (24%) paleontological permit records contain information about the types of materials recovered, such as invertebrates, vertebrates, flora, and trace fossil materials. Vertebrate fossils were the most common fossil type found (Figure 9). They were most frequently recovered in Wyoming, perhaps because investigators working in this state applied for and received the largest number of paleontological permits. As well, it is not surprising that those who documented the paleontological materials they recovered were from institutions with curatorial responsibilities, such as the University of California-Berkeley, University of Colorado Museum, University of Wyoming, and the Carnegie Museum of Natural History.

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