The University of Wyoming Archaeological Repository (UWAR) is the largest archaeological repository in the state and the only federal repository in Wyoming. It houses more than three million artifacts from over 15,000 sites representing all periods of prehistory and early history in Wyoming. These data form the basis for scholarly interpretations about human activity spanning over 11,500 years of occupation on the High Plains and Rocky Mountains.
Located in Laramie on the University of Wyoming (UW) campus, UWAR functions jointly under the UW Department of Anthropology and the Office of the Wyoming State Archaeologist (OWSA). The Department of Anthropology has been an archaeological repository for over 50 years. In addition to the Collections Manager, UWAR employs UW students and regularly takes interns from the UW Museum Studies minor program. The Collections Manager also teaches the Introduction to Archaeological Collections Management class. Training students helps UWAR properly curate artifact collections and also teaches future archaeologists about the importance of curation in the discipline.
The Wyoming Department of State Parks and Cultural Resources and the University of Wyoming maintains a Memorandum of Understanding to ensure that Wyoming has a centralized repository for archaeological collections. To this end, UWAR is staffed and managed by the Wyoming Office of the State Archaeologist in a facility owned by the University of Wyoming. Management of archaeological collections is directed by federal regulation 36 CFR 79, the Curation of Federally Owned and Administered Collections. The code establishes definitions, standards, procedures, and guidelines to be followed to preserve collections of prehistoric and historic material remains and associated records recovered under the authority of the Antiquities Act, the Reservoir Salvage Act, Section 110 of the National Historic Preservation Act, and the Archaeological Resources Protection Act.
University of Wyoming Archaeological Repository
Depot. 3431, 1000 E. University Ave
Laramie, WY 82071
Other useful links include the UWAR Donation Form, necessary for UWAR to accept any items from private lands, and UWAR Guidelines and Standards, a booklet that describes current UWAR curating procedures and fee structures.
To practice ethical and responsible archaeological collections stewardship through securing, preserving, and making our collections accessible to a diverse audience for the purposes of education, research, and public engagement.
UWAR is committed to the long-term conservation and protection of the archaeological record by practicing and promoting the integration of collections evaluation, preservation, conservation, and management as part of the archaeological process.
UWAR believes that the archaeological record benefits all people and that everyone has the right to access archaeological collections for the purposes of increasing awareness, education, and responsible research.
Education & awareness
UWAR is dedicated to serving and educating its customers about archaeological collections stewardship by expanding public understanding of archaeology as it relates to individual and private interests, increasing appreciation for collections-based research in light of the ongoing ‘curation crisis’, and encouraging the use of archaeological collections as a valuable teaching tool on the subject of shared stewardship of cultural heritage resources.
Increasing education and awareness of archaeological collections stewardship is most effectively achieved through endorsing community-focused collaborative efforts, building strong and inclusive institution-community relationships, and active efforts to meet our diverse audience on their terms.
Increased access to archaeological data benefits not only UWAR but the public, researchers, educators, professionals, and other stakeholders in cultural heritage assets by creating greater transparency in the curatorial process, fostering increased trust in the curatorial institution, and thereby building trusting relationships between the institution and the public.
Proper curation permits are required to be on file before submitting artifacts to UWAR. All projects, whether compliance or academic in nature, require completion of the UWAR Curation Agreement form. The UWAR Curation Agreement is available by email as a fillable and signable PDF form. To request a Curation Agreement, email the UWAR Collections Manager, Megan Reel. Please allow a minimum of 5 working days for the turnaround of Curation Agreement forms. Click here to view a SAMPLE Curation Agreement.
The BLM MOU for Curatorial Services are available as links on this website. Other federal and state agencies will require other curation permits. To obtain federal or state collecting permits, contact the following agencies:
Wyoming Bureau of Land Management in Cheyenne, Wyoming at (307) 775-6108
Bureau of Reclamation in Casper, Wyoming at (307) 261-5671
State of Wyoming in Cheyenne, Wyoming at (307) 777-6629
United States Forest Service: contact the local District Ranger Office
UWAR is fully committed to providing collections access in accordance with its schedule of availability to qualified researchers, academic and educational institutions, and accredited museums. Please refer to the Collections Use Policy, where you can find more information about research access or loans, and the Destructive Testing Form, which is necessary for any testing or analyses that will modify a sample or object in any manner.