The State Archeology Office conducts archeological research on Nebraska’s past and disseminates the information in the form of presentations, reports, and publications. The SAO also facilitates the use of state records and collections by professional archeologists and students looking to conduct research in the state.
Staff archeologists conduct archeological research as time and funding allow. Many past research projects have focused on sites identified during the course of Nebraska Department of Transportation projects. The Highway Cultural Resources Program has made significant contributions to understanding all aspects of Nebraska’s past, from early Native American hunter-gatherers and farmers, to post-contact tribes, to Euroamerican explorers and settlers.
Additional SAO research is funded by grant programs administered by other agencies. Examples of recent grant-funded research projects include the 2016-2018 Sand Hills Archeological Survey aimed at better understanding human use and occupation of the region (State Historic Preservation Office) and the Nebraska Buried Sites GIS designed to help cultural resource specialists determine when deep subsurface investigation for buried archeological sites is necessary (Nebraska Department of Transportation).
1819 painting of Engineer Cantonment, the winter quarters of Major Stephen H. Long's scientific party. The site was rediscovered and investigated by SAO archeologists in 2003-2004.
The SAO manages a number of resources available to archeologists and students conducting research in the state. Those wishing to conduct archeological research at the SAO should contact the Archeology Collections Curator.
Note: Because of the restricted nature of archeological site locations, many of the archives housed at the SAO are not available to the general public.
Archeological Site Files
Site files exist for each Nebraska archeological site reported to the SAO. Site files consist of at least one archival copy of the site form. Site files may also contain other associated records including photographs, maps, field notes, and excavation forms, depending on the level of investigation completed for a given site.
Artifact collections from many Nebraska archeological sites are housed at the SAO in a secure, climate-controlled environment.
Nebraska Cultural Resources Geographic Information System (NCRGIS)
The Nebraska Cultural Resources GIS is a spatial database of Nebraska’s reported archeological sites and surveys. The geographic location of sites and surveys are viewable on reference maps and aerial imagery, with attribute information available in a tabular database.
The Archeology Reference Library consists of books, periodicals, manuscripts, theses, dissertations and cultural resource management (CRM) reports of interest to archeologists working in Nebraska. The Archeology Reference Library is a non-lending library; however, patrons can visit the SAO to access library materials as they conduct research.
Lab and Comparative Collections
The SAO archeology lab is set up with the equipment and space needed for collections analysis and processing. Comparative collections of Nebraska faunal specimens and lithic materials are also available.