Wisconsin Historical Society

Organizational Description

About the State Archaeology Program

Office of the State Archaeologist | Wisconsin Historical Society

The State Archaeology and Maritime Preservation Program is a part of the State Historic Preservation Office and provides the following services to the public:

Maintenance of State Records on Archaeological Sites

Our staff maintains maps and a computer database of the location and nature of archaeological sites and areas that have been systematically investigated for archaeological sites.

To protect the sites and landowner rights the locations of archaeological sites are exempt from public disclosure. To request information on sites on your property, or to report an archaeological site, contact State Archaeologist John Broihahn by phone at 608-264-6496 or by email.

Protection of Archaeological Sites on State and Public Lands

It protects archaeological sites on state and public lands through a permit system. Under state law (Section 44.47), it is illegal to remove objects or artifacts or conduct archaeological research of any kind on state and municipal lands (County, Civil Town, City, Village) without a permit from the State Archaeologist. The law applies to the bottomlands of lakes and rivers owned by the state or municipal governments and also covers submerged sites such as shipwrecks.

Permits are normally only given to professional archaeologists who have clear research goals or are completing work required by Federal or State law. For more information contact State Archaeologist John Broihahn by phone at 608-264-6496 or by email.

Administration of Property Tax Exemptions for Archaeological Sites

As an incentive for the protection of archaeological sites on private lands, state statute provides property tax exemptions to property owners who formally agree to protect the sites. Sites must be listed on the National Register of Historic Places and the owners must sign a binding covenant. For more information, please see our page About the Archaeological Sites Property Tax Exemption Program.

Public Education and Outreach

We provide public lectures, public education materials and school programs on the archaeology of the state. Our program also assists the Society's Office of School Services in the production of classroom materials. For more information, view our Museum Archaeology Program page.

Collection and Dissemination of Archaeological Research

The State Archaeology and Maritime Preservation Program conducts archaeological research on Wisconsin's past and disseminates the information in the form of presentations, reports, summaries, websites and publications.

For information on Wisconsin Archaeology see "The Wisconsin Archaeologist," published by the Wisconsin Archeological Society. For other Society archaeology publications, view titles from the Wisconsin Historical Society Press, Museum Archaeology Program and the State Archaeology and Maritime Preservation Programs.

Provision of Federal Historic Preservation Grants

As part of the Division of Historic Preservation, the State Archaeologist provides federal Historic Preservation Grants to Certified Local Governments to identify important archaeological sites and nominate them to the National Register of Historic Places. For more information, contact State Archaeologist John Broihahn by phone at 608-264-6496 or by email.

Learn More

Have Questions?

Contact State Archaeologist John Broihahn by phone at 608-264-6496 or by email below: