Encyclopedia of Global Archaeology

2014 Edition
| Editors: Claire Smith

United States Domestic Archaeological Heritage Law

Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4419-0465-2_500


To understand United States (US) law as it relates to archaeological resources, it is necessary to appreciate two facts.

First: The USA is a capitalist democracy made up of 50 more or less self-governing states (together with a scattering of territories and other associated jurisdictions) – each of which contains multiple semi-independent local governments. Besides these entities, there are over 500 American Indian tribes within the borders of the country, each of which is regarded in law as a sovereign nation and many of which exercise control over land bases of varying scales.

Second: The US legal system circumscribes the rights of the federal government vis-à-vis those of the states, local governments, Indian tribes, and individual citizens (the last category strangely defined to include corporations). The rights of private property owners, though not absolute, are given considerable deference.

One result of these facts is that there is no generally applicable US law...
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Further Reading

  1. Abandoned Shipwrecks Act, 43 USC 2101–2106.Google Scholar
  2. Antiquities Act, 16 USC 431–433.Google Scholar
  3. Archaeological and Historic Preservation Act, 16 USC 469-469c-2.Google Scholar
  4. Archaeological Resources Protection Act, 16 USC 469-469c.Google Scholar
  5. 36CFR Part 800, Protection of Historic Properties, Advisory Council on Historic Preservation.Google Scholar
  6. 36CFR Part 79, Curation of Federally Owned and Administered Archaeological Collections.Google Scholar
  7. 40 CFR Parts 1500–1508, Regulations for Implementing the Procedural Provisions of the National Environmental Policy Act, Council on Environmental Quality.Google Scholar
  8. 43 CFR Part 10, Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Regulations, National Park Service.Google Scholar
  9. Historic Sites Act. 16 USC 461–467.Google Scholar
  10. King, T.F. 2005. Doing archaeology: a cultural resource management perspective. Walnut Creek (CA): Left Coast Press.Google Scholar
  11. - 2007. Saving places that matter: a citizen’s guide to the national historic preservation act. Walnut Creek (CA): Left Coast Press.Google Scholar
  12. National Environmental Policy Act, 42 USC 4321 et seq.Google Scholar
  13. National Historic Preservation Act, 16 USC 470.Google Scholar
  14. Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act, 25 USC 3001–3013 and 18 USC 1170.Google Scholar
  15. Neumann, T.W., R.M. Sanford & K.G. Harry. 2010. Cultural resources archaeology, 2nd edn. Lanham (MD): AltaMira Press.Google Scholar
  16. Sunken Military Craft Act, 10 USC 113.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Silver SpringUSA