The term archive can refer to archived geocache status, archive logs or needs archived logs on geocaches.
How Archive logs work
The cache owner, a local reviewer or a Groundspeak lackey can post an Archive log to a geocache. An archive log applied to a geocache immediately places the cache into an archived status and removes it from the search index on geocaching.com. Archival removes geocaches from the main search tool and the geocaching map. Even if you have already found the geocache, it will not appear on your map.
Archived caches do still appear in users lists of found, DNFd, and hidden caches.
What is a Needs Archived log?
Needs Archived is a special log type that geocachers can log against a geocache they do not own. Geocachers post needs archived logs on geocaches they believe should be collected and removed entirely from play. Geocachers should not log a needs archived log on a cache for minor or reparable problems with the container or the location. Needs Archived logs are reserved for issues that cannot be repaired or addressed in some way.
For instance, if a landowner or land manager revokes permission for the hide or the terrain changes making ground zero unreachable a Needs Archived log is appropriate.
Geocache owners may not add a needs archived log to their own geocaches.
Report a Problem
In June 2017 geocaching.com introduced a new cache log form. This form no longer includes the Needs Archived log type or a needs maintenance type. Instead, cachers include a Report a Problem flag which geocachers may check to include with their regular log to alert cache owners to potential problems.
What is an archived cache?
An archived geocache is a cache that has been removed from the geocaching.com listing search.
Typically cache owners physically remove the geocache container from play when they archive the geocache listing. But for a number of reasons they do not always do so. The cache owner, a volunteer reviewer, or a Groundspeak Lackey may archive geocaches by posting Archive logs to them. If a reviewer or a lackey archive the cache because the cache owner is no longer responding to messages, the physical container may remain.
In the case of virtual caches, earth caches and webcam caches, the camera or information needed to claim the cache may also remain.
Archived geocache hunting
Some geocachers actively seek archived geocaches for the purpose of logging them. While the uncertain status of the cache can result in a DNF, it adds an element of risk and reward to the game for these players. Groundspeak does not preclude this activity but does not endorse or encourage it either.
Geocachers should employ extra caution and planning when seeking archived caches. Reviewers lock some archived caches for safety concerns. They lock others to comply with land ownership and access permission changes. Terrain may change and the cache location may not be safe or legal to approach.
In some cases, Groundspeak or a local reviewer will lock an archived cache. Geocachers cannot post logs to locked geocache listings. Reviewers typically only lock a geocache listing under a few circumstances. One typical reason to lock a cache is revocation of access permission by the land manager. Another common reason is when the cache listing generates controversy, drawing off-topic note logs to the geocache listing page.