Citation: Aboriginal Mounds, Earthworks and Other Antiquities (Alabama Code Â§41-3-1 to Â§41-3-6); Alabama Cemetery and Human Remains Protection Act (93-905); Burials (Alabama Historical Commission Chapter 460-x-10).
Date Enacted: 1915, amended 1993
Summary: The Aboriginal Mounds, Earthworks and Other Antiquities Act claims state ownership of all antiquities in the state including mounds, prehistoric burials; prehistoric and historic forts and earthworks; and the materials contained within these resources. Non-state residents are prohibited from excavating these resources although private land owners may allow a non-resident to excavate mounds and burials on private lands so long as the artifacts remain in the state. Further, the law specifically states that excavation should not damage crops or houses on private lands. Alabama places responsibility for implementing its preservation laws in the Alabama Historical Commission (AHC), which is responsible for the issuing of permits for the excavation, relocation, and/or restoration of cemeteries and human remains. All permits are issued by the Director of the AHC after consultation and coordination between interested or concerned parties including, where appropriate, the Indian Affairs Commission and other groups representing significant cultural or ethnic affiliations. If burials to be disturbed for any reason have been interred for 75 years or longer, or the date of interment is undetermined, the permittee shall consult with the AHC. Any person who knows of the discovery of human remains and/or funerary objects on state or private land ceases any and all land-disturbing activity and notifies the AHC immediately. Any person who willfully or maliciously desecrates an American Indian place of burial or funerary objects on property not owned by that person, or injures, defaces, removes or destroys any tomb, monument or container of human remains, and invades or mutilates the human corpse or remains is guilty of a Class C felony.
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Jurisdiction: All state and private lands.
Statute of Limitations: Not specified.
Areas Covered Under Act: Human remains and funerary objects.
Ownership: State ownership of all antiquities on state lands.
Review/Consultation Committee: Alabama Historical Commission consults with the Indian Affairs Commission.
Liable: Anyone who illegally disturbs human burial sites.
Penalties: Violations of burial law is a class C felony; violations of archaeological sites is a misdemeanor with fines up to $1000, or up to one year in jail, or both.
Exemptions: Not specified.
Permitting: The Alabama Historical Commission issues excavation permits.