File Search Services

Drawer with filesInformation in the files and archives at TARL can be accessed by qualified archeological researchers dealing with Cultural Resource Management (CRM) projects. Their research needs may be met in two ways: they can search the files themselves during normal business hours (8:00 AM-5:00 PM Monday through Friday), subject to workspace limitations, or for those who cannot or do not want to search the records themselves, a file search request may be sent asking that TARL staff perform the search.

Research at TARL by Visiting CRM Professionals

CRM professionals who have not been to TARL before must contact Jonathan Jarvis to set up an appointment (512.471.5959 or jjarvis@mail.utexas.edu). It will be necessary to document professional status by providing an introductory letter on company letterhead as well as a vita. A copy of the individual’s Texas Archeological Sites Atlas access card is also acceptable, as the background documentation requirements are similar to TARL’s. These documents should minimally accompany the visiting archeologist to TARL, or more appropriately, precede that visit. For-profit CRM professionals conducting their own file searches are charged $40.00 per hour for their use of the records. Visitors will be asked to complete a work sheet for each project that is researched; please ask Records personnel for assistance upon arrival.

Research by TARL Staff

For-profit CRM professionals who would prefer to request a file search by TARL staff will be charged a fee of $63.00 per hour for services, plus fees for supplies, copying, postage, and faxing. TARL staff will provide background information on site locations and descriptions to meet the project's needs. TARL staff will also perform file searches for electric cooperatives, engineering firms, etc., that require a summary of known cultural resources within a project area for regulatory coordination and project planning purposes. Specific location information (coordinates, map locations) will not be offered to these companies. Engaging TARL to perform a file search is not a substitute for hiring a professional archeologist to oversee the cultural resources aspect of a project or to deal with restricted information. If the company will be submitting the data provided by TARL to a professional archeologist at a regulatory agency where location details are needed, the individual's name, contact information, and status as a regulatory reviewer should be provided to TARL so that this information may be submitted directly to the agency as a part of TARL's response to the file search request. Agency reviewers may also submit an application http://nueces.thc.state.tx.us/common/docs/RCRIapp.pdf and CV to the Texas Historical Commission seeking access to the Texas Archeological Sites Atlas with its restricted cultural resource information. In a broader policy and in accordance with caveats in the Freedom of Information Act, in order to protect private property from potential trespass and recorded sites from trespass and plunder, site locations are not available to the general public.

Required Project Information

Certain information is required of those requesting a file search by TARL staff. A cover letter with company name; the name, phone number, and email address of the person requesting the file search; the project name and number; a brief description of the project; and the precise information that is needed must be supplied to TARL. Any deadlines affecting the project should be noted; timely requests are encouraged. File searches are normally conducted on a first-come, first-served basis, though small projects are worked in when larger projects are underway. A map depicting the project area on a USGS 7.5’ topographic quad base is also required. USGS 7.5' maps may be downloaded though web sites such as http://mapper.acme.com/. Maps that are submitted to TARL must clearly show the project boundaries in relation to topographic map features, thus scale is important. An insufficient project map will cause a delay in the file search. New maps will be requested if project boundaries cannot be ascertained. For large project areas that are impractical to depict on 7.5’ maps, please contact Jean Hughes (contact information below) to discuss alternatives. If an ArcGIS shapefile of the project area can be supplied, that will facilitate work on the project. Details for digital mapping information may be discussed with Jean Hughes (512.475.8162 or filesearches@austin.utexas.edu) or Jonathan Jarvis (512.471.5959; jjarvis@mail.utexas.edu).

File Search Data Provided

Standard file searches investigate the designated project area and 0.5 kilometer around the project area, unless otherwise stated. If investigation of a larger or smaller area outside the project boundaries is desired, this must be indicated in the cover letter. The cover letter should also note if State Archeological Landmark (SAL) and National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) information is needed. If the file search request is made by a non-archeologist, TARL staff will respond with the appropriate information in a formal letter. If an archeologist is making the request, TARL personnel will send either a formal letter, if needed, and/or copies of file information (site forms and map sections, etc.) for sites within the area specified. Depending on the urgency of the request, the results of the file search may be sent via the USPS or other delivery services, by fax, through email, or by a combination of these methods. An invoice for the service is normally included with the data. For file search services or to have questions about file searches answered, contact Jean Hughes at 512.475.8162, j.l.hughes@mail.utexas.edu, or filesearches@austin.utexas.edu.