State Archaeological Permit

State Archaeological Permit

Who Needs One?

Anyone wishing to conduct archaeological work on state-owned, managed, or controlled lands must obtain a state archaeological permit (Tenn. Code Ann. § 11-6-105 Excavation of State Lands). Archaeological work includes, but is not limited to, invasive and non-invasive archaeological surveys, archaeological excavation, geophysical surveys, paleontological surveys, metal detecting, and underwater shipwreck surveys.

What Information Must I Provide?

Applicants must submit a Tennessee Division of Archaeology, Application for Archaeological Permit (Form CN-0939). Applicants provide the following information: name, address, and affiliation of Archaeologist in General Charge; a project proposal; description of the area to be investigated; purpose, nature, and extent of investigation; funding sources; curation institution; estimated project duration; the name of Archaeologist in Direct Charge; and estimated number of project personnel. The applicant must also submit a current CV and map of the project area. A GIS shapefile of the survey or study area will expedite the review and issuance of the permit, and should also be submitted with the application, if available.

How Will My Application Be Processed?

Completed application forms including signatures should be sent to the Tennessee Division of Archaeology's State Programs Archaeologist. A detailed review of the application is conducted, and the applicant is sent a copy of the approved permit when the review is complete. The review process can take up to 10-15 business days, but generally takes one week. New permits will not be issued to those persons, corporations, societies, or organizations that have outstanding reports due from previously issued permits.

What Fees Are Required?

There is no fee for the Archaeological Permit.

What Are My Rights and Responsibilities After the Permit is Approved?

The applicant has the right to proceed with activities outlined in the approved permit. All permitted survey, testing, and data recovery projects must be conducted and reported by professional archaeologists meeting the minimum qualifications and standards. The applicant is responsible for contacting the land managing agency prior to beginning work on state lands. A copy of the permit should be kept in the field for verification purposes. During fieldwork, the Archaeologist in General and/or Direct Charge must keep the State Archaeologist informed of work progress. Media and social media posts related to the permitted project will require written permission from the State Archaeologist. Final project reports are due at the expiration of the permit and must meet minimum reporting standards and guidelines. At the expiration of the permit, the applicant shall surrender all artifactual materials and original project records to the Division of Archaeology or file for an extension. The applicant must coordinate with the Site File concerning site discoveries or updates. Artifacts recovered during the project should be submitted to the Division’s Collections Manager.

What Are the Division’s Rights and Responsibilities After the Permit is Approved?

The State Archaeologist, or designate within the Division, has the right to inspect the project at any time. The State Archaeologist has the right to revoke, suspend, or deny the issuance of a permit to anyone who violates state statutes or departmental regulations regarding archaeological sites. Any person who conducts archaeological work on state-owned, managed, or controlled property without a permit is guilty of a misdemeanor and is punishable under the general laws relating to misdemeanors. The State of Tennessee assumes no liability for injuries or losses sustained.

Whom Do I Contact for Applications, Assistance and Other Information?

Applicants may obtain applications and information from the State Programs Archaeologist

Applicants may refer to the following links for further information: