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The Archaeological Site Inventory

The Office of the State Archaeologist, Historic Preservation Division of the Wisconsin Historical Society maintains a list of archaeological sites, mounds, unmarked cemeteries, marked cemeteries, and cultural sites known as the Archaeological Site Inventory (ASI).

Is the ASI Comprehensive and Complete?
The ASI does not include all of the archaeological sites, mounds, unmarked cemeteries, marked cemeteries, and cultural sites that are present in the state. It includes ONLY those sites that have been reported to the Wisconsin Historical Society. It is estimated that less than 1 percent of the archaeological sites in the state have been identified.

The ASI is a compilation of information derived from a variety of sources over the last 150 years. The information available for each entry varies widely and the Wisconsin Historical Society has not been able to verify all of the information. Few of the sites have been evaluated for their importance and additional archaeological fieldwork may need to be completed. Sites listed on the State and National Register of Historic Places are identified in the ASI.

The ASI is changed and updated on a daily basis. You cannot rely on older records and they should not be re-cycled from previous projects or previous years.

Are cemeteries and burials given special protection?
Under Wisconsin law, Native American burial mounds, unmarked burials, and all marked and unmarked cemeteries are protected from intentional disturbance. If anyone suspects that a Native American burial mound or an unmarked or marked burial is present in an area, the Burial Sites Preservation Office should be notified. 

If you have any questions concerning the law, please contact the Chip Brown at (608) 264-6508.

Are there other sources of information?
As part of your planning efforts, we encourage you to contact Wisconsin's present Native American communities as well as those Native American communities who were once residents and now live out-of-state. Native Americans once lived throughout the state and they maintain strong interests in the places they formerly lived, worked, and worshiped. We also suggest that you work closely with local residents, your local historical society, and with the Wisconsin State Old Cemetery Society.

In addition to the ASI, the Office of the State Archaeologist maintains a record of areas that have been previously investigated for the presence of archaeological and cultural sites. Only a small portion of the state has been examined.


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