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Survey of Idaho

The Archaeological Survey of Idaho has its origins in the archaeology inventory program created by the Idaho State University Museum in 1958. The oversight of the survey was transferred in 1976 to the state archaeologist with the support of the Idaho Advisory Council of Professional Archaeologists (IACPA) and three repositories were formed to care for archaeological information and collections.

In 1992, the Idaho Legislature formally established the Idaho Archaeological Survey as a multi-agency cooperative program. Currently the survey operates the Eastern Repository at Idaho State University, the Western Repository at the Idaho State Historical Society and Boise State University and the Northern Repository at the University of Idaho.

The collections curation program for the Archaeological Survey of Idaho was developed to ensure the preservation and continued access to archaeological collections from sites within the State of Idaho. The term "collection" refers to materials recovered by archaeological surveys, tests or excavations and all supporting documentation, including maps, field notes, records of analysis, catalogues, reports, photographic media and site forms.

To gain access to these materials, please contact our office to make an appointment. Be advised that access to archaeological collections and site forms is limited according to federal regulations. Be prepared to supply a resume or CV and signs forms ensure confidentially.

Northern Repository Specifications

Contact the Bowers Laboratory of Anthropology for specific information.

Physical Address

University of Idaho
Alfred W. Bowers Laboratory of Anthropology
404 Sweet Avenue
Moscow, Idaho 83844

Mailing Address

875 Perimeter Drive MS 4023
Moscow, Idaho 83844-4023

Main Lab: 208-885-1771
Fax: 208-885-8021

Access to Collections

Collections are available for legitimate scientific, educational and religious uses, subject to terms and conditions of the collection owner as well as those necessary to protect and preserve the condition, research potential, religious or sacred importance of the collection.

The collections manager should be contacted to visits to use a collection in order to schedule a time when staff assistance is available and the collection is not already committed to another use.

Collections are to be studied in areas of the repository set aside for this purpose. If necessary, a loan agreement subject to collection owner approval may be arranged for institutions and agencies for off-site use.

Costs of preparing collections for loan, including packaging, transportation, inventory and re-shelving upon return, are the responsibility of the borrower.

avoid damage or reduction in their scholarly and scientific value, all materials should be handled with great care; failure to be reasonable and prudent in the use of collections will result in the loss of access to them. Insurance coverage may be required for the off-site use of a collection.

Materials in use are not normally available for concurrent use by another researcher. In some cases, special arrangements may be made for on-site study of material in exhibits if the material can be returned expeditiously to the exhibit. In the case of materials already under study, the consent of both the collections manager and the individual directing the study is necessary before the materials can be examined by another individual. The repository should be contacted as additional collection owner approval may be necessary.

Individuals using materials on loan are not authorized to make further loan of the material to someone else.

Loans will normally be limited to a period of six months. Evidence of continued study must be forthcoming or individuals holding materials on loan will be required to relinquish the materials. Such evidence can take the form of regular report on the progress of the study in question. If an extension of a loan period is desired, a written request must be made prior to the end of the original loan period.

When the study of materials under the care of a repository results in a publication the borrower should make proper acknowledgement to the Survey and the owner of the collection and provide two copies of the publication (one for distribution to the collection owner and the collection owner’s records) to the repository.

ASI Curatorial Guidelines

The repositories accept collections for long-term curation only under provisions of Curation Agreements or Memoranda of Understanding for curation services with the owners of the collections. Curation of federal collections in conducted in accordance with the provisions of 36 CFR 79.

In some circumstances a repository may accept a collection as a gift which transfers titles of the collection to the host institution managing the repository only those collections which meet the accessioning policy of the host institution will be considered as potential gifts. Transfer of titles must be finalized prior to, or concurrently with, submission of the collection to the repository.

The collections manager of the host institution must be notified when projects are planned which will result in the curation of materials at the repository. The owner of the collection will provide the following information:

  1. The location and scope of the archaeological project 
  2. Name and address of the parties managing the project 
  3. Name and address of owners of the project collection 
  4. The anticipated nature and volume of the collection

In addition to this notice, the owner shall notify the Collections Manager of proposed delivery of materials at least thirty (30) days prior to the delivery of the collection to the repository.

It is the responsibility of the owner of a collection to insure the archaeological materials are cleaned, sorted, labeled, catalogued, documented, conserved and packaged, in accordance with these standards. The repositories will accept only those collections which have received this initial processing. A repository may agree to accept a substandard collection under a service contract which will cover the direct and indirect costs incurred in bringing the collection up to acceptable standards.

This policy statement provides guidance on general standards for collections. Each repository had specific requirements which reflect differences in details of the physical plant, staffing and host institution operating rules.

The repositories charge for direct and indirect costs incurred in the inspection, inventory, storage, handling and computer data entry, resulting from processing a collection into a repository for long-term curation.

The repositories will also charge for direct and indirect costs incurred in processing collections for "for-profit" and uses and for off-site "non-profit" loans which result in significant and expenditure of staff time or material costs to package and ship the collection and to certify the outgoing and returning inventory of material. Charges will not normally be assessed for "non-profit" on-site use of collections unless such use required significant support by the repository's staff.

Human remains associated with archaeological collections are not considered "artifacts" and must be dealt with in accordance with Chapter 5, Title 2, Idaho Code and the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act.

Anthropology Lab

Physical Address:
404 Sweet Avenue

Mailing Address:
Alfred W. Bowers Laboratory of Anthropology
University of Idaho
875 Perimeter Drive MS 4023
Moscow, Idaho 83844-4023

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