Texas Archeological Research Laboratory

File Search and Constraint Analysis Services

TARL’s records and archives are available to qualified archeologists for research purposes. As the primary repository for archeological site documentation in Texas, TARL’s records are particularly useful for Cultural Resource Management (CRM) archeologists. CRM research needs may be met in two ways: qualified archeologists may search the files themselves during normal business hours or, for those who cannot search the records themselves, a file search request may be sent asking that TARL staff perform the search.

CRM professionals who have not been to TARL before must submit a request and provide an introductory letter on company letterhead and a curriculum vitae to document professional status. Visitors will be asked to complete a work sheet for each project that is researched; please ask for assistance upon arrival.

CRM professionals can also request a file search by TARL staff and assessed a fee of $200 per hour for services and copying and postage as appropriate.

TARL staff will provide background information on site locations and descriptions to meet the project's needs. TARL staff will also perform more detailed constraints analyses 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 organizations.

Engaging TARL to perform constraints analysis is not a substitute for hiring a professional archeologist to oversee the cultural resources aspect of a project. If the requesting organization will be submitting the data provided to a professional archeologist at a regulatory agency where location details will be needed, please provide the individual's name, contact information, and status as a regulatory reviewer so that this information may be directly sent to the agency.

To request research by TARL staff, please provide 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. Any deadlines affecting the project should be noted; timely requests are encouraged as research is 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 required. Maps that are submitted to TARL must clearly show the project boundaries in relation to topographic map features, thus scale is important. An unclear and inaccurately scaled 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 us to discuss alternatives. Providing an ArcGIS shapefile of the project area will greatly reduce the time required to perform the research.

TARL only maintains information pertaining to archeological sites such as location and that provided in site recording forms. TARL does not provide other categories of cultural resource information (e.g., archeological project/survey areas, State Antiquities Landmarks [SALs], properties listed on the National Register of Historic Places [NRHP], historical markers, and cemeteries not recorded as archeological sites). Standard constraints analysis includes the designated project area and 0.5 kilometer around the project area, unless otherwise requested. If a larger or smaller area outside the project boundary is desired, please indicate this in the cover letter or request.

If the research 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 research may be sent via the USPS or other delivery services, through email, or by a combination of these methods. An invoice for the service will be mailed upon completion of the research. 

Contact TARL directly to discuss requests for spatial data (ArcGIS shapefiles). Keep in mind that TARL only maintains the archeological site location data.

For questions pertaining to constraints analysis or file search services, please contact our Associate Director.