An extraordinary system of cultural and historic resources.

Archaeological Survey of Idaho (ASI)

ASI Provides the Long-term Care of all Idaho Archaeological Collections for Educational and Research Purposes

The primary purpose of this trusted body is the long-term care of Idaho archaeological collections and their archival records. The Idaho State Historical Society manages the Western Repository of the Archaeological Survey of Idaho (ASI).  The Western Repository holds the archaeological collections and associated records from  a ten-county area in southwest Idaho.  The Northern Repository located at University of Idaho, Moscow, holds the archaeological collections and associated records from northern Idaho and the Eastern Repository located at Idaho State University, Pocatello, holds the same for eastern Idaho.

The ASI provides access to the collections for educational programs at the state universities and for the public benefit.  ASI also establishes standards for researching and recording Idaho archaeology, develops publications and programs for education and outreach, and conducts field and laboratory investigations.  Partners include the University of Idaho, Idaho State University and Boise State University.  An advisory board for ASI includes the following members:  the State Archaeologist; the academic vice presidents of the University of Idaho, Idaho State University, and Boise State University or their designated representatives; the governor or his designated representative, and a member of the public.

All materials in the Western Repository are identified, stabilized, conserved, labeled, archivally packaged, and electronically documented and may be available for educational use in exhibits and scientific studies.  Current college and university students are encouraged to intern or volunteer.

Collections include:

  • 423 cubic feet of archaeological materials from state and private lands and 399 cubic feet of archaeological materials from federal land.  These collections include donations to the Idaho State Historical Society but are mainly derived from archaeological studies being performed by federal agencies.  The Western Repository meets the requirements stipulated for such federal collections.
  • 83,000 prehistoric artifacts, faunal remains, and sediment samples; 31,000 historic artifacts from over 4,000 archaeological sites located in the ten-county area of southwest Idaho.  Although many of these artifacts, such as projectile points and bottles, are complete, the bulk of the collections are fragments.
  • 62 linear feet of associated documents such as catalogs, field notes, photographic materials,  analysis records, final reports, and maps.   Such materials are mostly generated by large research projects at such important archaeological sites as Silver City, Idaho City, the Mary Hallock Foote House, and Givens Hot Springs.
  • Archaeological site context materials such as faunal and plant remains and soil and charcoal samples.  These collections provide important sources for future analytical techniques relative to studying environmental as well as cultural change.

For additional information and questions about the Western Repository of the Archaeological Survey of Idaho, or on accessing collections, contact (208) 334-3847, ext. 106 or e-mail.