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Archaeological Excavation Permit Process
Arch services
State Laws

In the state of Oregon a person may not excavate or alter an archaeological site on public lands, make an exploratory excavation on public lands to determine the presence of an archaeological site, or remove from public lands any material of an archaeological, historic, prehistoric, or anthropological nature without first obtaining an archaeological permit issued by SHPO (See ORS 390.235 (1)(a) and OAR 736-051-0080). In addition, a person may not knowingly and intentionally excavate, injure, destroy or alter an archaeological site or object on private lands without first obtaining an archaeological permit (See OAR 736-051-0090).

Archaeological Excavation Permits

SHPO Archaeological Services consults with federal, state, local and private agencies to develop appropriate treatment or planning measures for impacts to archaeological sites. The Oregon SHPO is responsible for issuing archaeological excavation permits and, in processing the permit application, SHPO Archaeological Services evaluates the project´s research design for data recovery to mitigate impacts to archaeological sites according to professional, legal and regulatory standards.

After SHPO Archaeological Services reviews the permit, staff identifies the most appropriate Indian Tribe(s) through consultation with the Oregon Legislative Commission on Indian Services. The permit is then reviewed by the landowner or land managing agency, the applicable local government planning department, the Oregon State Museum of Anthropology at the University of Oregon, the Legislative Commission on Indian Services, and all appropriate Indian Tribe(s). The review process takes 30 calendar days from the date submitted for reviewer comments. If no objections are made by the 30th day, the permit will be issued based on the information at that point.
To obtain an archaeological excavation permit, a qualified archaeologist must complete a Permit Application. The only exception to the 30-day review period is the situation where a person or entity inadvertently discovers an archaeological site or burial during construction activities. See OAR 736-051-0080. The request for an "Expedited Archaeological Permit" may be granted when SHPO Archaeological Services determines, in consultation with the applicant, that the 30-day review period will result in extreme economic hardship to the person or entity making the request, or an undue risk to public health, life or safety, or an undue threat to the site or burial. Expedited permits are generally issued within a 48-hour review period.
SHPO Archaeological Services provides an Archaeological and Ethnographic Consultants List. This list consists of persons and companies who have requested their names be included in the SHPO cultural resource and archaeological consultants list. This list does not represent an endorsement, recommendation or assumption of responsibility for the quality of work of any consultant.

SHPO Archaeological Services maintains a database of past Oregon Archaeological Permits. This database summarizes archaeological permit applications since 1980 and includes information such as the permit applicant, its legal status, and any reports resulting from the investigations.