Every year the Archaeological Research Center (ARC) staff conducts hundreds of record searches for clients. These searches are done largely for the purposes of assisting clients with meeting their obligations under Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 (as amended). As part of that process, the South Dakota State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) uses the information provided by a record search as part of their review of any project. This search generally means a review of archaeological sites, historic buildings and structures, and previous investigations known to be located in and within a one-mile buffer of the project boundaries. As a result of the search, the SHPO expects a map of known sites, surveys, and historic structures within the buffered area and a letter that contains a list of what was found as a result of the record search (including, if applicable, eligibility status with respect to the National Register of Historic Places).
Record searches can be done in several ways:
In order to carry out a record search as quickly and as efficiently as possible, we need the following:
In order to complete your request, please download and complete the Record Search Request form and either email it to us at or mail it back to us at:
South Dakota State Historical Society
Archaeological Research Center
PO Box 1257
Rapid City SD 57709-1257
Attention: Records Manager
The ARC will supply the following products upon the completion of a record search request:
Additional information, including but not restricted to scanned report title pages an site forms, can be arranged at the request of the client at additional expense.
For historic properties, the SHPO has an online resource called the SHPO-CRGRID. It contains all information and forms pertaining to recorded historic properties, including historic districts, bridges, cemeteries, and structures. All questions pertaining to the CRGRID should be directed towards the SHPO.
Here are some examples illustrating good and poor maps submitted for a search:
Record searches are done on a first-come, first-served basis. The staff tries very hard to complete record searches within one week of receipt. However, if a search area is very large or there are many searches waiting to be done, the search may take longer.
South Dakota state law provides for the confidentiality of certain data pertaining to archaeological sites and conditions under which that information might be released. The data supplied in a record search conforms to that legislation:
Confidentiality of records pertaining to location of archaeological site--Exceptions. Any records maintained pursuant to § 1-20-21 pertaining to the location of an archaeological site shall remain confidential to protect the integrity of the archaeological site. The state archaeologist may make the information from the records of an archeological site available to any agency of state government and any political subdivision of the state or to any tribe, which, in the opinion of the state archaeologist, may conduct an activity that affects any such site. The state archaeologist shall also make the information from the records of an archeological site available to the owner of the land that is an archeological site and may make the information available to any qualified researcher or research entity [SDCL 1-20-21.2]
In other words, the information supplied in the record search is given on a need-to-know basis for the purposes of providing required information to meet the requirements of Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act. It is to be considered confidential and is not to be disseminated to other parties.
Shapefiles and other data are supplied on a need-to-know basis within the limitations cited above in SDCL 1-20-21.2. The Archaeological Research Center will not supply data for large tracts of property not authorized by its statutory mandate.