In the State of Washington any alteration to an archaeological site requires a permit from DAHP RCW 27.44 and RCW 27.53. Alterations to a site can include adding fill, building on, removing trees, using heavy equipment on, compacting, or other activities that would change or potentially impact the site.
Alterations also include formal archaeological excavation, removal, and collection of archaeological materials, and the excavation and removal of Native American human remains.
Permits are also required to remove or excavate historic archaeological resources that are eligible or listed in the National Register of Historic Places or to recover any submerged historic aircraft or historic shipwrecks, or remove any archaeological object from such sites.
Please note that any person, agency, landowner, firm, corporation, or any agency or institution of the state or subdivisions of the state who wishes to alter an archaeological site must obtain a permit. DAHP does not charge a fee to process the permit application or to issue a permit.
There are penalties for failing to obtain a permit, or failing to comply with the conditions on a permit. In addition to possible criminal charges, there are monetary penalties. Penalties for not obtaining a permit, or failure to comply with permit conditions include
Site restoration and investigative costs can be quite costly and can exceed the $5000 civil penalty. In addition, unpermitted excavation of human remains carries felony criminal charges and in the case of Indian remains, may be subject to a civil suit by an Indian tribe.
The complete permit requirements can be found in the Washington Administrative Code 25-48-060. In addition to submitting a signed and notarized application, there are 21 potential sections for a complete permit application, depending on the type of resource, nature of your excavation or recovery, and land ownership. Over the years we have noticed that certain items tend to be underreported or are missing from many permit applications. Tracking down these deficiencies slows down the process. If items are missing from your permit application, your application will be returned to you for completion of the missing items. Here are some tips:
Please feel free to call Lance Wollwage, Assistant State Archaeologist, if you have any questions at (360) 586-3536 or email him at email@example.com
Note: The Governor's Office for Regulatory Innovation and Assistance publishes details about most of the commonly required permits in the state and has links to regulatory agencies statewide. To access the central repository of Permit Timeliness Data click here :