Archaeological Site Alteration and Excavation Permit

What is the purpose of this permit?
A permit from the Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation (DAHP) must be obtained prior to any excavation or other actions that will alter, dig into, deface, or remove archaeological resources, Native Indian graves, cairns, or glyptic records. DAHP should be contacted before beginning a project. The agency can help determine if historic or archaeological sites or graves would be affected. A historic/archaeological excavation assessment may be required. In addition, the status of any sites or structures listed in or eligible for listing in the State or National Register of Historic Places or Local Landmark designation may need to be determined. Plans for protection or mitigation measures may be a condition of any permit issued.
Who issues this permit?
Department of Archaeology & Historic Preservation
What activities require this permit?
Excavating, altering, defacing, or removing archaeological objects, resources or artifacts from archaeological sites or Native Indian graves, cairns or glyptic records, or non-Indian historic archaeological resources.
How much will this permit cost?
None for technical assistance.
Where can I get the application for this permit?
The application is called 'Archaeological Site Alteration and Excavation Permit' is online and can be accessed at
Do I need to include anything with my application?
Applications are not accepted online; however, application forms may be downloaded online. The full list of requirements to be submitted with the application can be found at WAC 25-48-060.
Is the decision on my permit dependent on anything besides the information in my application?
DAHP is required to notify the affected Indian Tribes when a permit is received, and allow the Tribes 30 days to comment upon the application. DAHP must consider comments received from Tribal representatives when issuing or denying the permit and the issuance of terms and conditions. Tribes can request mitigation measures (WAC 25-48-070). DAHP must also consider the past record of previous civil or criminal penalties against the applicants (RCW 27.53.060 (6)).
How long will it take to review my application?
45-60 days
Where do I submit my application?
Submit your application directly to DAHP. The applications are reviewed for 30 days by the affected tribes, the archaeological community, DAHP, the landowner, the local jurisdiction, any involved state agencies, and any other affected party.
How long is my permit valid?
Varies according to how much time the applicant needs to do the work.
What is the appeal process for the permit?
Appeals are sent to the Director of the Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation.
Legal Authority:
Permit Timeliness Results

Permit Timeliness data collection is in response to a State Auditor’s Performance Audit and RCW 43.42A. Each regulatory agency developed a plan to improve permit clarity, predictability, and timeliness. Each agency considers the customers experience to ensure permit assistance is simple to use, easy to access, and designed in a customer-friendly manner. Agencies report progress to the Governor’s Office for Regulatory Innovation and Assistance (ORIA). ORIA prepares and distributes reports, with participation from the State Auditor’s Office and Results Washington. See latest report here:

All permits submitted for reporting were entered into this Regulatory Handbook. Here are the results of the performance data:

Estimated Time Required By the Agency to Process a Permit Application (Definition)
Average number of days from Receipt to Complete: 7.3
Maximum number of days from Receipt to Complete: 328

Estimated Time Required By the Agency to Issue a Permit Decision (Definition)
Average number of days from Complete Application to Decision: 34.4
Maximum number of days from Complete Application to Decision: 60

(Summary results based on 77 submittals in 2023)

Where can I get permitting assistance?
Web page URL:
Helpdesk phone: (564) 669-0899
Subject matter expert phone: (564) 669-0899
Subject matter expert email:
Department of Archaeology & Historic Preservation
PO Box 48343
1110 Capitol Way S., Ste. 30
Olympia, WA 98504-8343
Telephone: (360) 586-3065
Fax: (360) 586-3067
Triggering Questions:
  • Will the project include excavation or another activity that alters or removes archaeological artifacts, resources, or Native Indian or non-Indian grave sites? Such activities can include excavation, capping, bulkheading, or placing fill onto an archaeological site or grave.
* Permit information last updated 4/4/2023