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

Final Comments

The data found in NADB-Permits provide an interesting insight to the U.S. federal archeology program from its inception. This summary of the permit records in NADB-Permits highlights some obvious trends in federal archeology, but much more could be gleaned from the data.

The information contained in the database also may assist interested individuals who want to perform excavations, surveys, or other studies in the vicinity of previously permitted projects. It is possible to find out about previous work done in an area, who conducted the work, and where the collections and associated records may be stored for study. Some notable principal investigators who conducted permitted work on federal lands include A.V. Kidder, J. Walter Fewkes, Nels C. Nelson, Louis Leakey, and David Hurst Thomas.

For those researchers and other interested parties who need access to the permit files, the Archeology Program (AAE), National Park Service, currently retains possession of the majority of the permits in NADB-Permits. These files span between 1969-1986 and are organized by issued permit number. It is intended that the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) will be the ultimate and permanent repository for these permit files. The National Anthropological Archives (NAA) of the Smithsonian Institution, on the other hand, possesses both permit files recorded in the database and a large number of files not yet entered. The NAA collection spans between 1907-86 and is organized by permitee. Many of these files are not duplicated in the AAE holdings. Finally, NARA currently has a small holding of permit files, organized by the issued permit number. They span between 1907-1939, and are included in NADB-Permits. It is not known at this time if the NARA holds additional archeological and/or paleontological permit files.

Information on how to contact the appropriate organization to access archeological and paleontological permit files is available at:
US National Archives and Records Administration;
US National Anthropological Archives, Smithsonian Institution; and,
Archeology Program, National Park Service.

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