The Iowa Site File (ISF) is the master inventory of archaeological sites in Iowa. Online GIS-based web applications of the ISF are available to the professional archaeological community (I-SitesPro) and avocational archaeologists and the interested public (I-SitesPublic). The ISF is also used as a data source for research projects on the use of Iowa's landscape by past cultures.

Most archaeological sites are recorded in the ISF as a result of cultural resource surveys conducted by professional archaeologists. Some, however, are reported by landowners, avocational archaeologists, and other non-professionals.

Each archaeological site recorded in the ISF contains information in a relational database and their locations are stored in a geographic information system (GIS) database. Revenue generated from site searches and I-SitesPro subscription fees help to offset program costs to maintain the system.

Site Search Assistance

An ISF site search ideal for professional archaeologists who only occasionally conduct archaeological investigations in Iowa and who do not subscribe to a full I-SitesPro subscription or non-archaeologists such as engineers, environmental consultants, and government agencies. An ISF site search facilitates archaeological compliance investigations as a beginning point in meeting the Association of Iowa Archaeologists guidelines for archaeological investigations in Iowa. 

Site Searches for Professional Archaeologists

Site searches examine one-mile buffers around projects areas where ground disturbance will occur to provide context for decision making about the type of archaeological investigations warranted. Site searches for professional archaeologists provide site details (site type, cultural affiliation, and associated burial data if present), as well as maps showing locational information for archaeological sites within the one-mile buffer of the area of potential effect (APE).

Site Searches for Non-Archaeologists

Site searches examine one-mile buffers around projects areas where ground disturbance will occur to provide context for decision making about the type of archaeological investigations warranted. Site searches for non-archaeologists provide general details (site type, cultural affiliation, and associated burial data if present) but no confidential locational information for sites within the one-mile buffer of the APE, but this information and a map is provided within a 100-meter buffer of the APE.

Send an Inquiry

Have a question or want to know more about subscribing to I-Sites?

Visit I-SitesPublic


Subscription Required. Submit data to and search the ISF, access the GIS web application, and browse iArc.

Iowa Site File "Site Search" Fees

$134.00 per hour, one hour per search minimum charge; additional time billed in half-hour increments. Includes static images of recorded sites and previous completed surveys. Results and invoices will be sent to you digitally as email attachments.

Submit a Site Search Request

Subscription Services

The I-Sites web applications include I-SitesPublic and I-SitesPro.


I-SitesPublic indicates where archaeological sites have been recorded by Public Land Survey System one-square-mile section and shows historic structure locations in each of Iowa's 99 counties.


This password-protected website provides qualified professional archaeologists and their staff with access to more detailed data on archaeological sites and related information from OSA’s archives.

For those wishing to only record new site information, a I-SitesPro Basic subscription is available for free. This subscription provides a username and password for individuals to use to check out new site numbers and record data.

Three types of subscriptions all full use of the I-SitesPro GIS and archival information. Full, Academic, and Courtesy subscriptions can access recorded archaeological site locations and previously archaeologically surveyed areas. Subscribers also have access to a wide array of environmental and landscape data including lidar and aerial photos (historic and modern), water resources, geological layers, political boundaries, and historic structures and surveys (GLO maps, historic vegetation).

Full, Academic, and Courtesy I-SitesPro annual subscribers receive access to iArc, OSA online archive that contains more than 25,000 PDF reports on Iowa archaeological investigations.

A Full subscription provides access to professional archaeologists conducting fee-for-service consulting. Up to to 10 users at a single company or organization can utilize I-SitesPro under one subscription (additional seats available). 

An Academic subscription is available to academic institutions that are NOT engaged in fee-for-service consulting activities. 

A Courtesy subscription is available to Tribal historic preservation professionals. 


Iowa Site File Fees

subscription levelserviceFY25 Annual FeeFY25 Monthly Fee
BasicSite Number Checkout
Data Entry
Full1Basic + Database + GIS$4000$1335
Courtesy & Tribal1,2Full$0n/a


The annual subscription is valid July 1-June 30, on a fiscal year-basis. This is not a rolling date.

1Includes 10 users and iArc (OSA Archives access to Iowa archaeological reports as PDFs). Third monthly payment qualifies use for remainder of fiscal year; monthly payments need not be consecutive months to qualify.

2Not for funded consulting use - contact State Archaeologist if questions.

For inquiries about archaeological site searches & the Iowa Site File, contact:

Colleen Randolph headshot

Colleen Randolph

Site Records Manager