Archaeological Survey of Missouri

The Archaeological Survey of Missouri is no longer conducting file searches. The site files are available to qualified researchers who have received approval for their research through the American Archaeology Divsion director. For project approval contact Alex Barker, AAD Director, in care of the Museum of Anthropology: or


Jesse E. Wrench and J. Brewton Berry, two professors at the University of Missouri, created the Archaeological Survey of Missouri (ASM) in the 1930s. Wrench and Berry were motivated by large river basin surveys sponsored by the federal government. The purpose of the ASM was to document information about archaeological sites before they were destroyed. The ASM grew as an entity through the Missouri Archaeological Society (MAS) and retains this association today. MAS members are encouraged to document the sites that they find. Locating and recording sites, as well as site preservation, are the primary interests of the ASM. One of the most important aspects of the ASM's history is that even though the early surveys were conducted with people employed by the university, amateurs recorded many of the sites, in fact up to 50 percent of the sites in the early years.

In the 1970s, laws were enacted that required federally funded projects to assess impacts on environmental and cultural resources. This initiated the beginning of CRM, or Cultural Resource Management, which continues today and produces the primary source of archaeological projects in terms of both archaeological excavation and survey. During this period, the information on site forms was transferred to a computer database to aid in information dissemination. Over 36,000 sites are recorded at the ASM.

Who can access the site files?

Professionals, students doing research, and Missouri Archaeological Society (MAS) members conducting legitimate research may be granted access to the files. Students doing research must submit proposals to a professor, and that professor must vouch for that student in writing to the American Archaeology Divsion Director (see above) as to the legitimacy of the research. Any MAS member conducting research for an article in the MAS Quarterly or another journal must follow a similar procedure. All of these people are checked out to the best of our ability to ensure that site locations will not be used for collection. If any person, be it professional or amateur, is found to be using the site files for personal gain, that person will be banned forever from using the survey's resources and also risks being banned from membership in the Missouri Archaeological Society.

Museum of Anthropology, Mizzou North, Suite 2002, 115 Business Loop 70 W, Columbia, MO 65211-8350

The Museum is under construction at Mizzou North. Check back here for updates.

For Museum Questions, email