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Earl H. Swanson Archaeological Repository

The Earl H. Swanson Archaeological Repository (ESAR) is one of three archaeological repositories operating under the Archaeological Survey of Idaho (ASI), whose core mission is to ensure that archaeological materials recovered within the State of Idaho are curated and remain within the state for the benefit of public and scientific interests, and to guarantee their continued accessibility for study and other educational purposes. All collections are available to the public for such purposes, in accordance with the IMNH Collections Management Policy, the ESAR Curation Policies, and Procedures, and all applicable laws and regulations regarding the maintenance and use of federally and state-owned or administered collections.

ESAR houses and maintains collections and associated documentation resulting from surveys and excavations occurring on federal or state lands, or through federal/state projects, in eastern Idaho since the 1950s. While the physical inventory is still in progress, our database currently includes over 111,000 entries, representing at least 650,000 individual artifacts recovered from over 4,880 sites in eastern Idaho. Over 95% of the collection is prehistoric in nature, with <5% from the historic era. This includes a wide variety of material, such as prehistoric stone tools and implements, pottery, ornamental objects (e.g., beads, pendants), basketry, faunal remains, and organic and soil samples, as well as historic cans, bottles, tableware, clothing items, 

ammunition, construction material, and machinery parts. The majority of these materials originate from federal lands, including the BLM, BOR, US Forest Service, and the Idaho National Laboratory, though ESAR does maintain collections from state and private lands as well.

ESAR specifically manages collections from 24 counties in eastern Idaho. Its counterparts are the Western Repository, managed by the Idaho State Historical Society in Boise, and the Northern Repository, managed by the Alfred W. Bower’s Laboratory for Anthropology at the University of Idaho in Moscow.

Please feel free to contact the repository for further information, or to make an appointment to access the collections:

Access and Use

Archival Suppliers

Related Links


Dr. Charles “Andy” Speer

Curator, Anthropology & Earl H. Swanson Archaeological Repository (ESAR)

Office: Graveley Hall 162 921 S 8th Ave Stop 8005 Pocatello, ID 83209

(208) 282-4906

Learn More about Dr. Speer

Amy Commendador

Dr. Amy Commendador

Manager, Earl H. Swanson Archaeological Repository (ESAR)

Office: Museum Building 129 921 S 8th Ave Stop 8096 Pocatello, ID 83209

(208) 282-3042