Submission Steps

Archaeological materials and records submitted for curation at CAR should adhere to the curatorial standards established by the Texas Historical Commission, the Council for Texas Archeologists, and the CAR. Please contact CAR's Curator at 210-458-4379 if you have any questions concerning the following procedures or to set up an appointment.

  1. Before any collections are submitted to CAR, please complete, sign, and submit a Request for Curation Services form. The form may be emailed to The Curator will approve or deny the request, then return a signed copy. All forms are available on CAR’s website (
  2. Upon approval by CAR, acquire the relevant transfer of custodianship form from the client and/or landowners. No collections will be assessioned by CAR without the submission of the transfer form(s). The Transfer from Private Sponsor Form is used for the sponsor of the project and the Transfer from Governmental Agency Form is used for public agencies. If the sponsor is also the property owner, the Transfer from Governmental Form will suffice for both forms. A Deed of Gift form must accompany any private donations.
  3. Two additional forms are to be included with the submission: the Curation Submittal Checklist and the Collections Processing Record. Enter counts and/or weights (where appropriate) on the Curation Submittal Checklist and use a check mark to indicate the kinds of records submitted. Records only projects do not require the Collection Processing Record Form.
  4. Obtain and include documentation of Texas Historical Commission (THC) approval for the discard of materials collected under a Texas Antiquities Permit.
  5. Set up a delivery date with CAR’s curator ( prior to submission of the collection. The collection may be hand-delivered or mailed to CAR using FedEx or the US Postal Service.
  6. Upon receipt of the collection, CAR’s curatorial staff will assess the collection. If the Curator determines the collection needs additional work prior to final curation, the submitter will have the option of having CAR staff correct any issues or of having the collection returned for corrections.
  7. CAR will assign the collection an accession number and will transfer the collection into CAR curation boxes.
  8. When the collection is ready for shelving CAR will submit, by email, an invoice including storage fees, inventory reconciliation fees, and any agreed upon correction fees. Upon payment of the invoice, CAR will submit an Artifact Curation form and an Agreement for State of Texas Held-in Trust Objects/Collections form to the THC on behalf of the Texas Antiquities Permit Holder.

Preparation of Collections for Curation at CAR

  1. All collections, including records and materials, must be complete when submitted for curation. A CAR Curation Submittal Checklist form must be included with the collections at the time of delivery. Complete a separate form for each site and for each phase of investigation at each site (e.g., survey, testing, or excavation collection). This document provides a listing of materials by analytical category.
  2. Submit a hard copy and a digital specimen inventory (catalog) of the artifact collection. The digital inventory must be in Microsoft Excel. Minimally, it must have separate columns for the analytical category (ceramics, construction, glass, lithics, metal, organic, personal, samples, etc.), the artifact class (stoneware, brick, container/vessel, debitage, nails, faunal bone, coins, soil/matrix samples, etc), the description (amber embossed, cut bone, etc), the lot-catalog number, the full provenience, the count, the weight (bulk items such as bone, soil, burned rock, etc) and a column indicating discard status. Include any additional relevant data, such as columns for comments, analytical data, etc. Each row of the database should correspond to one artifact bag. CAR will reconcile the inventory to the artifacts bags before final curation.
  3. Assign one lot number to each specific provenience. Within each lot, assign catalog (specimen) numbers. For example, Shovel Test 1, level 1 could be lot 1. A bag of debitage in this lot could be item 1. The debitage would have the catalog number 1-1. Glass in this lot would be 1-2, Native Ceramics 1-3, a biface 1-4, another biface 1-5, a point 1-6, a bag of rabdotus shell 1-7, a bag of helicina shell 1-8, etc. Every bag needs a tag and every tag needs a database entry. If analysis splits out a specific class of artifacts, they should be bagged separately and should have a separate line in the inventory.
  4. Submit a document explaining any specific cataloguing schemes.
  5. Clean and stabilize all materials using nondestructive, reversible techniques. Document all techniques and materials used in processing a collection on the Collections Processing Record form.
  6. Individually labeled items should include a site designation and intra-site provenience designation (lot/provenience system). The labels can be hand-written or paper labels may be applied. Hand-written labels should be written on the items with permanent ink on a base coat of Acryloid B-72 and recoated with B-72. Dark specimens should be labeled using white Acryloid B-72 solution as a base coat or labeled with archival white ink. Do not use whiteout as a base or clear nail polish as a coating. Although CAR recommends B-72, a PVA resin is acceptable if acetone or ethanol has been used as the solvent. Paper labels printed with a laser printer on acid-free, lignin-free paper may be attached to an artifact on a base coat of Acryloid B-72 and then top coated with Acryloid B-72. CAR recommends 3 to 8 point font, Tahoma for printed tags. Tahoma is the best font for distinction with I, l, and 1 (I, l, 1). The labels must include the trinomial and the catalog number (41BX1535 25-3).
  7. All labels should be placed on non-diagnostic areas and should avoid edges. Contact CAR’s Curator ( for any additional labeling questions.
  8. All artifact tags must be on acid-free paper. Information must be written in pencil or archival ink. Tags may be printed with a laser printer on acid-free, lignin-free paper. Tags must be readily visible, legible, and accurate at time of submission to CAR. Any changes made to tags during analysis and reporting should match the submitted inventory. Labor expended to make these changes will be added to the invoice. Do not fold tags. The tags must include the following:
  1. Project Name
  2. Date of Investigation
  3. Investigative Company/Agency
  4. Site #
  5. Intrasite Provenience
  6. Lot-Catalog (Specimen) #
  7. Class or Type of Artifact
  8. Description
  9. Count
  10. Weight (bulk items)
  1. Paper bags will not be accepted for curation at CAR. Use 4-mil reclosable (zip locking) polyethylene bags for all artifacts. Do not write on the polyethylene bag.
  2. No organic material should ever be in direct contact with a tag. Any materials that may continue to deteriorate (patinating glass, low-fired ceramics, corroded metal, shell, faunal bone, etc.) must be double-bagged. Any heavy bulk samples (burned rock, soil, etc.) must be double-bagged. Place the tag in the outer bag, i.e., between the bags. The cost of adding an additional bag will at the submitter’s expense.
  3. Materials must be grouped and sorted first by site, then analytical category, then class, the provenience. Each sorting bag must contain a visible tag inside the bag. Do not write the label on the ziplock bag.
  4. CAR uses standard sized boxes to shelve the materials submitted. The cost of these boxes is included in the curation shelf cost. However, materials should be packaged so that a minimum of time is expended to move the materials into their new containers.
  5. The submission of human remains must be arranged in advance. CAR will not accept any human remains without clear documentation as to their NAGPRA status.
  6. Paper records should be submitted in archival folders and labeled with project name, number (if applicable), permit # (if applicable), site number, intrasite provenience and submitting contractor. Include a master inventory that lists the contents of each folder. Records should be separated into administrative/curation forms, unit/level records, feature forms, daily journals, etc. A copy of the photographic log should be submitted with the photographs. CAR prefers the original records, but if necessary, a good, clear copy is acceptable. Soiled, torn, or fragile paper records or records with ballpoint pen, sharpie, or felt tip pen should be placed into archival quality page protectors.
  7. Submit a copy of the Texas Antiquities Permit and related correspondence with each Held-in-Trust collection.
  8. Submit two copies of the final report.
  9. PDF versions of all paper records (administrative, field and lab) must be submitted on a Gold archival CD.
  10. Paper records include:
  1. Curation forms (Request for Curation Services, Transfer from Private Sponsor Form, Transfer from Governmental Form, Deed of Gift, Curation Submittal Checklist, Collection Processing Record),
  2. Administrative Records (Report, Research Design, Discard letter, Permit, Permit Correspondence),
  3. Field Records (ST/TU/BHT forms, FS log, Feature forms, daily journals, maps, photos, photologs, site forms), and
  4. Lab Records (artifact inventory, analysis records, lot lists, research notes).
  1. Digital photographs must be submitted on a Gold CD in a standard format and each image should be printed on acid-free paper using a laser printer. Ink-jet images will not be accepted. Each image is required to have a corresponding description that contains the same information as the photographic log.
  2. Photographic materials in print media format (film) should minimally be reconciled with the photographic log (roll and shot number). Please add an additional category of frame number for clarification if shot numbers and printed frame numbers do not match. Negative strips are required and either a contact sheet or prints of each roll must be submitted. Negatives and slides should be submitted in polyethylene sleeves. Prints or the contact sheet must be placed into polyethylene plastic sleeves and the roll and frame number clearly written on the back with a short description. Use only film-marking pen or pencil for handwritten information. Foil-backed adhesive labels are preferred for any computer-generated labels.
  3. Any large format documents or maps (larger than 11 X 14) should be submitted in archival folders.

Also see Curation Costs for a breakdown of storage costs and fees charged for materials submitted that do not adhere to these standards.