A new report concludes that current archaeological, historic preservation, and records management laws and regulations require that digital archaeological data generated by federal agencies must be deposited in an appropriate digital repository.  Such repositories will provide long-term preservation and accessibility of digital files to qualified users.  Importantly, the laws and regulations cited in the report require the protection of digital archaeological records from destruction or deterioration, including from technological obsolescence. 

The report was prepared by Cultural Heritage Partners (CHP), a Washington, D.C.-based law and government affairs firm with experience in cultural resource management and cultural heritage issues.  CHP cites relevant requirements in the National Historic Preservation Act, the Archaeological Resources Protection Act, the regulations regarding curation of archaeological collections and associated records promulgated pursuant to those statutes (36 C.F.R. 79), and the regulations promulgated by the National Archives and Records Administration (36 C.F.R. 1220.1-1220.20) that apply to all federal agencies.

These legal findings highlight the need for services like the Digital Archaeological Record  (tDAR), an online repository managed by The Center for Digital Antiquity where digital archaeological data are properly accessible, stored, preserved and protected as legally mandated.  The full report can be downloaded here

Arizona State University retained CHP to conduct the analysis.