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Archeology curation standards

The Historical Society will accept archeological materials for curation provided that they follow these standards:

Statement of Ownership. The Historical Society requires a statement of ownership at the time materials are delivered for curation. The statement must indicate clearly the individual (e.g., name of landowner) or agency (e.g., U.S. Corps of Engineers) that holds legal ownership of the materials submitted for curation. Unless otherwise stipulated, the archaeological contractor assumes the role of agent for the legal owner although contractual obligations to the Historical Society remain the responsibility of the legal owner.

Contracts & Other Documents. Copies of contracts, MOAs, MOUs, and etc. between the archeological contractor and the contracting agency must accompany the materials delivered for curation.

Conditions of Acceptance. Archeological materials are accepted for curation at the discretion of the Historical Society. Accordingly, materials that do not pertain to Kansas, or materials that do not meet the curation standards of Historical Society will not be accepted.

Minimum Curation Standards

For a one-time set fee of $350.00 per cubic foot, the Historical Society will curate archeological specimens recovered from sites in Kansas. Artifacts prepared in accordance with the standards established in this document will be considered shelf ready (see below).

The Historical Society uses a curation box that measures approximately 12"x10"x3". More than one site may be contained in a box provided that the site numbers are consecutive and the weight limit of 25 lbs is not violated. Artifact classes, provenience units, or other analytic units may be mixed as well.

The Historical Society will prepare a label for the outside of the box with the following information:

  1. Site number
  2. Provenience within the site (if applicable)
  3. Material and/or artifact class(es) (if applicable)
  4. Owner sponsoring work (e.g., Kansas City District Corps of Engineers)

Contents of boxes will be washed, sorted by raw-material classes, and labeled before submission. Excepting small specimens and large volume classes such as lithic debitage, each artifact should be labeled with site number and intrasite provenience (or alternatively with a catalog number). Artifacts collected for specific tests (e.g., residue analysis) may be exempt from washing. Fragile or unstable objects must receive proper conservation treatment before being submitted for curation. Collections not meeting these basic criteria will either be refused for curation or an agreed upon fee will be charged to bring the collection up to standards before being curated.

Artifacts within boxes should be stored in zipper-type polyethylene bags (minimally 4 mil in thickness). Plastic vials, tubes, etc. may be used to protect delicate specimens. Paper bags are not acceptable. Should protective cushioning be required, bubble packing, or a similar polyethylene-foam product, is recommended. The use of shredded paper or cotton is not allowed.

As a rule, unanalyzed bulk samples of soil or materials such as fire-cracked rock will not be accepted for curation. Exceptions may be made, in writing, at the discretion of the State Archeologist.

All bags or other containers contained in the curation box must be labeled with a permanent black marker and contain the following information:

  1. Site number
  2. Provenience
  3. Material or artifact class
  4. Catalog number
  5. Special information (optional)

In addition, site number and provenience data should be written on a small (e.g., 1"x2") strip of either acid free paper or polyethylene paper (we recommend Nalgene Polypaper) and included in each container. An acid free inventory form that details the contents of each box must be included in each box. We recommend placing the inventory sheet in a polyethylene bag.

Provenience and descriptive information, including inventory of recovered material, will be entered into the Historical Society computer database or attached to the site file as a pdf document.

All documentation relating to a collection such as field notes, lab notes, day books, photographs, final reports, etc. should be presented to the Historical Society at the same time as the artifacts. Copied records should be reproduced on acid-free paper. Photographic records (i.e., slides, negatives, prints) should be enclosed in polyethylene holders or sleeves. All records must be placed in a logical order. Especially large collections should be indexed.

Individuals, institutions, organizations or agencies wishing to curate materials at the KSHS must contact us before submitting materials. This is to ensure we have adequate storage and can serve you effectively.

For a copy of the Intent to Curate form or the Curation Agreement form please contact: 785-272-8681, ext. 151.