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The electronic records in NADB-Permits reveal that permits were granted to over 640 different individuals and institutions. The list of permittees consists of a range of organizations, including U.S. educational institutions, foreign universities, cultural resource management (CRM) firms, museums, state highway departments, and historical societies. U.S. schools include state universities from Arizona, New Mexico, Wyoming, Colorado, California and such private universities as Harvard, Yale, and Brown. Secondary schools include the Alamo Navajo Community School (Magdalena, NM) and the Holy Family Diocesan High School (Huntington, NY).

Some foreign universities that conducted investigations include Simon Fraser University of British Columbia, Canada and Hokkaido University in Japan. The very first foreign applicant received a permit in 1908. The permit was granted to Vladimir Jochelson, a representative of the Imperial Geographical Society of Russia and the former Siberian leader for Franz Boas’ Jessup North Pacific Expedition in 1898 (Dzeniskevich and Pavlinsksia 1988). Jochelson conducted archeological field work and socio-cultural anthropological studies in the Aleutian Islands (Browning 2003).

Permits were granted to many American and international museums, such as the Museum of Northern Arizona in Flagstaff, the Baltimore Maritime Museum, the Carnegie Museum of Natural History in Pittsburgh and the Danish National Museum in Denmark. CRM firms include the Bechtel Group, Inc. (San Francisco, CA), as well as Science Applications, Inc. (Boulder, CO). The Departments of Transportation from the states of Nevada, Colorado, Idaho, Arizona, and California also performed excavations. The Texas Historical Commission (Austin, TX) and the Rhode Island Historical Preservation Commission (Providence, RI) are examples of local historical societies participating in archeological investigations.

Number of Unique Permittees
(Archeology and Paleontology)
Issued between 1973-83
(figure) Number of Unique Permittees between 1973-1983
Figure 6: Number of Unique Permittees between 1973-83.

Early permits were generally granted to large, well established universities and museums located on the east coast. They began building archeological collections prior to the Antiquities Act, and continued to collect and display additional artifacts from the American Southwest using the new permitting procedures. Just five major scientific institutions received over 100 permits for investigations in 10 states between 1907-1935: the American Museum of Natural History and the Museum of the American Indian in New York City, the United States National Museum in Washington DC, the Carnegie Institute of Washington, and the Peabody Museum at Harvard University (Browning 2003).

As time passed, the number of different institutions involved and interested in archeology, paleontology, and historical preservation increased. The decade from 1973 to 1983 is a clear example of this trend (Figure 6).

Some organizations conducted numerous permitted activities for specialized research or as contracted projects during this period, which is evident by examining the entire range of permits issued and entered in NADB-Permits. The top twelve institutions that received archeology permits are found in Table 3. The top ten institutions that were issued paleontology permits are listed in Table 4.

Archeological Permitees from 1979–1986 Total Number of Permits
Museum of New Mexico—Santa Fe, NM 53
Western Cultural Resources Management, Inc.—Boulder, CO 38
Museum of Northern Arizona—Flagstaff, AZ 37
Centuries Archaeological Research, Inc.—Montrose, CO 35
Powers Elevation Company—Denver, CO 34
Eastern New Mexico University—Portales, NM 30
New Mexico State University—Las Cruces, NM 28
American Museum of Natural History—New York, NY 27
Peabody Museum, Harvard University—Cambridge, MA 24
Arizona State Museum—Tucson, AZ 22
Northern Arizona University—Flagstaff, AZ 22
University of Utah—Salt Lake City, UT 22
Table 3: The Institutions that Received The Most Archeological Permits in 1979-86.

The number of CRM firm permittees increased dramatically after the enactment of ARPA in 1979. This trend can be seen in Table 3 of the most frequent archeological permittees. Note there are three cultural resource management firms in the top twelve: Western Cultural Resources Management, Inc., Centuries Archaeological Research, Inc., and Powers Elevation Company. The current data in NADB-Permits also reveal that these three CRM firms did not receive a permit before 1978. Since each firm performed only three, three and four projects in 1978 respectively, it is obvious that the majority of their work was performed after 1979.

Paleontological Permitees Since 1979 Total Number of Permits
University Of California-Berkeley—Berkeley, CA 39
Museum of Northern Arizona—Flagstaff, AZ 24
Brigham-Young University—Provo, UT 17
Carnegie Museum of Natural History—Pittsburgh, PA 17
Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History—Los Angeles, CA 13
South Dakota School of Mines—Rapid City, SC 10
Idaho State University—Pocatello, ID 9
University of Wyoming—Laramie, Wyoming 9
University of California-Riverside—Riverside, CA 8
American Museum of Natural History—New York, NY 8
Table 4: Institutions that Received the Most Paleontological Permits After 1979.

There is no similar increase in the number of private resource management companies involved in paleontological research. Permits for paleontological work continued to be issued primarily to academic institutions and museums (Table 4).

Based on the previous data, one might also expect that only a few institutions specialized in submerged investigations. According to the NADB-Permits data, this was not the case. There are some 30 different permittees that performed the 34 known submerged projects; only four permittees received more than one permit. The Department of Agriculture issued the first permit for a submerged excavation in 1964 to the Wyoming Archeological Society.

Another way to understand the specialization, aims, and motives of permittees is through their research design. A research design contains the goals of an institution’s archeological or paleontological work, the specific hypothesis the investigators intend to pursue under the designated permit, the significance of the hypothesis, the methods and equipment to be employed, and the critical data necessary to reach a conclusion.

In NADB-Permits, 186 different permittees submitted a research design along with their permit application for work under 267 permits. The earliest research design was submitted in 1917 for a paleontological work permit. This was the only research design received until 1969. From 1969 through 1972, only nine of 303 permits granted contained research designs.

Research Designs Submitted
for Permits, 1973-82
(figure) Number of Research Designs Submitted Between 1973-82
Figure 7: Number of Research Designs Submitted Between 1973-82.

The number of research designs submitted per year, however, generally increased from 1973 to 1982 (Figure 7) for several reasons. First, both the number of permit requestors and the number of permits granted increased. Second, professional archeologists and paleontologists had begun to write research designs in order to give explicit direction to a project in the field and during analysis. Finally, ARPA required it.

Permittees also submitted other types of supporting documents about their projects, which are found in the permit file. These include vitae or resumes (1,241 permits), maps (1,013 permits), and such correspondence as letters or short memos (3,032 permits). Although the application form and the issued permit both specify that a report must be submitted to the permit-granting agency after completion of the project, only a few reports have actually made it to the permit files. These may be preliminary, consisting of a page or two, or may be the completed and issued project report. The permit records in NADB-Permits reveal that only 331 permit files contain final reports, which give explicit details of the actual procedures, problems, and results of the permitted investigation.

Individuals interested in learning more about archeological reports resulting from projects conducted on federal, state, tribal, local, and private lands may access NADB-Reports. This is a bibliographic inventory of reports, mostly “gray literature” of limited circulation. The database is searchable by title, author, state, and keywords, among other fields.

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