File Access

How to access our cultural resource files

Cultural resource files managed by our office can include site/property forms, documents, maps, and images of any kind. Unfortunately not all of our records are available to everyone. Please refer to our policies and procedures (PDF) for more information.

How to Request a File Search

A file search is a way to obtain information about specific sites in a defined area, or which meet a specified criteria by querying Colorado's Cultural Resources Database. The database contains information on over 220,000 archaeological, historical and paleontological sites. Sites that meet the defined query are passed on to the requestor.

Step 1: What information is needed to make the request?

Please complete a File Access Request Form. Include:

  • The requested project and contact information;
  • The location of the search area in one of the following formats:
    • A legal location of Township, Range and Section (if you provide only T/R/S, you will receive search results for the entire section(s) that you’ve listed).
    • For searches based on a current property boundary, include the street address. Note that unless a visual representation (map) of the boundary is provided we will search the entire parcel boundary as defined by the county assessor.
    • A GIS shapefile, KML file, or map of the area (including any buffer area) that you want searched.

Read and sign the User Agreement.

Step 2: Submit the form to our office

You can do this by,

  • e-mailing it to
  • or mailing it to
    History Colorado,
    Office of Archaeology and Historic Preservation,
    1200 Broadway, Denver, CO 80203

How much does a search cost?

Searches are charged based on the number of Public Land Survey System (PLSS) sections that intersect the search area. Fees start at $30.00 per section. Searches encompassing more than 50 sections are charged on a reduced rate tier structure. These fees are waived for academic researchers. Email us at for more detail or if you would like a price quote for your search area.

In what format will I receive the information?

File search results will be emailed to you. You will receive a PDF copy of your results letter, a spreadsheet with database information, GIS files if they have been requested, and a "Read Me" file which provides information about the data fields in both the spreadsheet files and the GIS files. If you are interested in receiving alternative file types, please contact us to discuss available options.

How long does it take to run a request?

Standard search results take approximately 15-20 business days to return. If your request is a complex one it may take longer and we will contact you to discuss a timeline. If you need your results sooner than this timeframe, we may be able to expedite your search for an additional fee. Please note that rush requests are taken on a case by case basis and may not be available during busy times of the year. Please contact us for more details.

Please Note

Because of their sensitive nature, many of the files managed by us are exempt from the Freedom of Information Act and the Colorado Open Records Act. In some cases we cannot provide the exact location of a site. If it is critical that you obtain the location, please contact our office and provisions may be made.

Have Questions?

Email us at

GIS Clips

Registered Compass users are eligible to receive project-by-project GIS clips at no additional cost. Requests for GIS clips can be made directly through the Map viewer menu on the new Compass platform. Be aware that requesting a GIS clip is not a substitute for a file search. In many cases, our GIS data is not a 1:1 representation of the sites/survey data for an area. Sites and surveys with poor or missing spatial representation are not digitized into our GIS system.

Request copies of site forms or documents


  1. Please download and complete the File Access Request Form (FARF) - ensure that the User Agreement on the last page is signed and dated.
  2. Email the completed form to and please include "Reproductions" as the subject line.
  3. Reproduction request deliverables will be sent 7-10 business days after receipt of completed FARF. Each file requested will be delivered as a .PDF, and the deliverables package will include the invoice. Please refer to the FARF for further information on reproduction request pricing. 

Additional Information

  • You may use the table on the third page of the FARF (under "Requests for Forms, Documents, or Maps") to fill out the site numbers or document numbers being requested. If you are submitting a request for multiple site forms and/or documents, we would prefer to receive large requests via a spreadsheet. When entering the requested documentation, please use the format 5DV.123 or MC.CH.R1, and list only one site form or report number per cell.
  • All requests received will include a review of our backlog. If additional site forms are located in the backlog, they will be denoted with the deliverable file naming convention "_backlog". 
  • Deliverables include only entire site forms and/or documents - Office of Archaeology and Historic Preservation (OAHP) staff will not parse out sections.
  • Site forms and documentation can be viewed in-house, however, these can only be scheduled on an appointment basis.
    • Please send a completed FARF to and indicate that you would like to make an appointment to view site forms and/or document at the OAHP. Please allow 2-3 weeks lead time to organize the appointment date and time, verification of qualifications to view restricted material (if applicable), and the pulling of the requested materials. Only OAHP staff have direct access to the archive room -- it is a restricted area.


Data Management Area (DMA) GIS Clips

The Office of Archaeology and Historic Preservation (OAHP) offers a paid service (initial offering 7/1/2023) by which those with land, jurisdictional, and other management-related responsibilities can obtain a GIS clip of their land managing area at a predetermined update interval agreed upon at the time of entering into the subscription agreement. Additional details about this service can be found in this informational packet. Please reach out to if you have any questions about this service.


You may request this service by completing this request form.

  • Prior to beginning this form, please have the following documentation available to submit as part of this request:
    • Completed Agreement form 
    • CV for receipt of Restricted data (unless one is already on file with OAHP)
    • Shapefile of Data Management Area (unbuffered)




Please Note

Our staff will always require a File Access Request Form to be filled out before pulling the appropriate materials for the public, as the files are not accessible to anyone who is not a staff member. The visitor may be required to provide proof of qualifications if the materials they are requesting are of a sensitive nature, and these qualifications will need to be submitted for OAHP staff review prior to visiting the office.

Because of their sensitive nature, many of the files housed in OAHP are exempt from the Freedom of Information Act and the Colorado Open Records Act. If your request encompasses some of these sites, all information on the site, except the exact location will be released to you. If it is critical that you obtain the locational data, please contact our office and provisions may be made.