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Archaeology & Historic Resources

One of the functions of the Idaho State Historic Preservation Office is to maintain the state inventory of archaeological and historic sites. The inventory is comprised of sites identified through survey efforts of Federal and State agencies and Idaho cities and counties. Approximately 51,000 archaeological sites and 33,000 architectural and historical properties have been recorded. 

Recording Historic Resources in Idaho

One of the functions of the Idaho SHPO is to maintain the state inventory of archaeological and historical resources. The inventory is comprised of resources identified through survey efforts of Federal and State agencies and Idaho cities and counties. Approximately 51,000 archaeological resources and 33,000 architectural and historical resources have been recorded. An ongoing effort is the electronic maintenance of this data to ensure efficient access and service to researchers.

As of 2024, viewing and recordation of resources now occurs in the Idaho Cultural Resource Information System (ICRIS). 

Exempted Resources 

The Idaho SHPO does not require the full recordation of specific resources based on  SHPO policies or as required by the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP) Program Comments. Please see our guidance on how to document these resources in a survey report. 

Idaho SHPO Irrigation Policy Papers:

  1. Policy 1
  2. Policy 2
  3. Policy 3

ACHP Program Comments and Exemptions:

The Program Comment for Common Post-1945 Concrete and Steel Bridges

The Program Comment for World War II and Cold War Era (1939 – 1974) Ammunition Storage Facilities.

Exemption Regarding Historic Preservation Review Process for Projects Involving Historic Natural Gas Pipelines

Excavation Permit

Persons or organizations proposing to undertake excavations in or on any prehistoric site, ruins, pictographs, petroglyphs, or any other ancient writing, or in or on any archaeological deposit or site within lands owned by the State of Idaho shall apply in writing to the State Archaeologist for an excavation permit. Permits shall be issued only to applicants who are qualified by experience or professional training to conduct such excavations in an approved scientific manner (Idaho Code § 67-4120).

The letter for application for a permit shall include:

  • A description or sketch plan of the location of the proposed excavation, sufficiently precise that it can be located upon a map of Idaho with reasonable accuracy. Section, range, and township should be included where possible.
  • A brief general description of the archaeological site, including an indication of its size.
  • Name of the individual to be in immediate charge of excavation, together with professional qualifications.
  • General extent of the excavation proposed, expected date of beginning, and anticipated time needed to complete work.
  • The proposed disposition of artifacts and specimens recovered.
  • Information concerning possible scholarly publications of the findings.
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