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The Official Web Site of the State of South Carolina


The State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) plays an important role in protecting the state’s archaeological heritage through its involvement in federal and state review and compliance processes. The SHPO’s primary role is to consult with federal and state agencies about effects to historic properties, which include significant archaeological sites. As an advisory agency, the SHPO makes recommendations to government agencies regarding:

  • The need for archaeological investigations prior to construction
  • Site significance
  • Mitigation and preservation plans for significant sites that could be damaged by construction activities

The SHPO reviews and comments on all reports produced in compliance with state and federal laws. Staff archaeologists are responsible for reviewing all compliance-related archaeological investigations performed in the state. They make site visits and provide technical advice but are rarely able to perform any fieldwork. Contract archaeologists perform the majority of archaeological fieldwork in the state.

The SHPO maintains records for compliance-related projects, and is also responsible for maintaining the records for properties listed in the National Register of Historic Places. The SHPO does not, however, manage or maintain the state’s archaeological site files. Those files are managed by the South Carolina Institute of Archaeology and Anthropology (SCIAA), see below.

If you have questions about the SHPO’s role in the review and compliance process or need assistance, please contact our staff archaeologist.

The South Carolina Standards and Guidelines for Archaeological Investigations (SCSGAI) set forth the current policies, procedures, and professional standards for conducting archaeological investigations in South Carolina. Review and compliance surveys and reports that include archaeological resources should follow the SCSGAI.

For more information about archaeology in South Carolina and beyond check out these links to partner state and federal agencies, professional/avocational organizations, and educational resources.

State Agencies:

Federal Agencies:

Professional/Avocational Organizations:

Educational Resources:

See also our Historic Contexts/Survey ReportsNative American Heritage, and Review & Compliance/Section 106 webpages for related guidance and resources.