Earl H. Swanson Archaeological Repository (ESAR)

esar1The Earl H. Swanson Archaeological Repository (ESAR), housed within the Idaho Museum of Natural History (IMNH), serves as the Eastern Repository of the Archaeological Survey of Idaho.

The Archaeological Survey of Idaho, formalized under Idaho Statute 33-3091, is the lead state entity for the compilation, coordination, preservation and dissemination of archaeological survey data and long-term curation of collections in Idaho. The Survey maintains a statewide inventory of archaeological site and survey records for the State Historic Preservation. ESAR is the largest of the three repositories, and is responsible for the following 24 counties in southeastern Idaho: Bannock (BK), Bear Lake (BL), Bingham (BM), Blaine (BN), Bonneville (BV), Butte (BT), Camas (CM), Caribou (CU), Cassia (CA), Clark (CL), Custer (CR), Franklin (FR), Fremont (FM), Gooding (GG), Jefferson (JF), Jerome (JE), Lemhi (LH), Lincoln (LN), Madison (MO), Minidoka (MA), Oneida (OA), Power (PR), Teton (TN), and Twin Falls (TF).

Specifically, ESAR is a curatorial center and repository for state and federally-owned or administered archaeological collections. This separates ESAR from the IMNH Anthropology Division; ESAR’s collections are not owned by the museum, whereas the collections in the IMNH Anthropology Division are. Thus the two are separate entities within the IMNH, and are administered slightly differently. The goal of the Archaeological Survey of Idaho, and ESAR, is to ensure that archaeological materials recovered within the State of Idaho are curated and remain within the state for the benefit of public and scientific interests, and to guarantee their continued accessibility for study and other educational purposes. All collections are available to the public for such purposes, in accordance with the Idaho Museum of Natural History’s Collections Management Policy, the Earl H. Swanson Archaeological Repository’s Curation Policies and Procedures, and all applicable laws and regulations regarding the maintenance and use of federally and state-owned or administered collections.

esar2ESAR has housed and maintained collections recovered from surveys and excavations on federal or state lands, or through federal/state projects, in eastern Idaho since 1958. We currently hold over 100,000 artifacts from approximately 4300 sites, approximately 10,000 archaeological reports, and about 19,500 site records. These are the result of research on Idaho lands administered by various state agencies as well as the Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Reclamation, Department of Energy-Idaho National Laboratory, National Park Service, United States Forest Service, and the Bureau of Indian Affairs. This includes a wide variety of material, such as prehistoric stone tools and implements, pottery, ornamental objects (e.g., beads, pendants), basketry, faunal remains, and organic and soil samples, as well as historic cans, bottles, tableware, clothing items, ammunition, construction material and machinery parts.

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Please feel free to contact us for further information, or to make an appointment to access the collections:

Amy Commendador
Manager, Earl H. Swanson Archaeological Repository
Archaeological Survey of Idaho-East
Idaho Museum of Natural History
921 S. 8th Ave., Stop 8096
Pocatello, Idaho 83209-8096
(208) 282-3042 . FAX: (208) 282-5893
commamy@isu.edu