The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), formerly the Soil Conservation Service, is a federal agency that provides technical assistance on practices to promote sound soil and water conservation measures on private lands. Some of these practices have effects on cultural resources which are dealt with under agency policy or federal or state statutes.
In response to increasing concerns over the looting of cultural resources, including sites containing human remains, many states have enacted legislation to protect unmarked burial sites. These state laws often require special treatment of burial sites and associated resources and may carry penalties for failure to comply. This report is a compilation and comparative analysis of all existing state cultural resource reburial/repatriation laws. It was prepared to assist NRCS technical staff who work daily under applicable state and federal laws. This report originally was prepared for the Natural Resources Conservation Service under order number 40-3A75-1-638 by CEHP Incorporated, Washington, D.C. in 1993. The principle authors were Kathleen Schamel, Jill Schaefer and Loretta Neumann. Since its original printing, many states that did not have burial protection laws have enacted them. Other laws have been amended. NRCS contracted with CEHP Incorporated to review the original report and update it.
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This year, 38 state laws specifically addressing reburial of human skeletal remains, repatriation of human skeletal remains and grave goods and/or unmarked grave protection statutes were examined. This includes six new laws enacted since our first report. Each law was analyzed and a detailed summary of the major provisions was prepared. The categories of information include the following:
(1) who has jurisdiction for implementing the law; (2) statute of limitation in which a violator can be prosecuted; (3) types of geographical areas protected or exempted, such as mounds or designated cemeteries; (4) whether a consultation process was established; (5) if a review or consultation committee was appointed; (6) who has ultimate ownership for archaeological remains; (7) who may be held liable for prosecution for violations of the law; (8) what penalties are established; (9) whether there are exemptions to the law; and (10) if permits are required and who is responsible for issue them.
The terms "reburial" and "repatriation" mean very different things. In this report reburial means the legal requirement or physical act of placing or interring human remains in a designated area such as a cemetery. Repatriation means the legal process of turning ownership and responsibility for human remains and graves goods over to another entity. In addition, in this report, the term "graves protection" means legal statutes established to prevent the damage, destruction or disturbance of places where dead human bodies have been placed.
In addition to the 38 states which have enacted reburial or repatriation laws, others which have not enacted laws specifically addressing human remains in archaeological context may use state archaeological and historic preservation laws or a combination of public decency, cemeteries protection and abuse of corpse statutes for these purposes. These laws were summarized for this report.
A lifelong Ohioan and avid artifact collector, Jim Bennett resides in rural Ashland Co., Ohio in the north central part of the state, and began his collecting by walking fields and buying artifacts from his Amish neighbors. While Jim enjoys working on his farm and being a father to his four children, his love for collecting ancient relics has taken him over a twenty year journey that has lead him to his current career of running an artifact website, catalog business, auction house, and his true passion, the writing of artifact related books. Jim has authored four books on the subject of ancient Indian artifacts with an emphasis on the identification of authentic vs. reproduction artifacts.
Jim is the founder and a board member of the Authentic Artifacts Collectors Association, an Internet-based association of collectors and dealers over 4,000 members strong dedicated to the collecting of authentic artifacts. Jim also sits on the board of the directors for the Museum of Native American Artifacts in Bentonville, Arkansas.
Begun by the late Lar Hothem and completed by James R. Bennett, this co-authored identification and value guide focuses on the very popular and often ornate Indian bannerstone artifacts of ancient America. With several hundred full-color photographs representing some of America's most famous bannerstone collections, Indian Bannerstones & Related Artifacts gives collectors an in-depth look at hundreds of the most prized ancient weapon components collected in modern times, including many rare and valuable examples.
IAM brings the reader articles and photographs sent in by collectors across the U.S., and sometimes carries articles about early man and/or cultures elsewhere in the world. Top-quality authors are with us regularly. Each issue attempts to present some information, and artifacts, from the various regions of the country. The editorial office receives news clippings of events, discoveries and happenings from around the country. Thus, IAM is up-to-date with news of archeological work and discoveries, and the readers of IAM are among the most informed people in the country as to happenings in the archeological world.
IAM strongly believes that collecting is a good thing, and vigorously opposes endeavors to stop this activity. The reader will be kept apprised of happenings across the country in legal cases, and we don't hesitate to raise a fuss if necessary, and often publish laws so our readers are kept aware of what is legal and what is not. We do not believe collecting should be destructive, either by collectors, amateurs or professionals. Those who read us regularly know where we come from on all these issues. We speak for the collectors and amateurs. We provide a place for people to have articles and pictures published. We provide a forum for people to sound off on the various issues, or to offer words of praise for something well done.
Most readers end up holding onto their issues of IAM as valuable resources for the future. Much of the information remains pertinent for years. IAM also carries advertisers of various things collectors are looking for: frame dealers, book dealers, museums to visit, authentication programs, other publications and much more. Subscribe now and begin your collection of the most diverse magazine our hobby has to offer!