The Cedar Mesa Project
The Problem of Vandalism in the Cedar Mesa Area
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On November 2, 1995 the NEW YORK TIMES reported that "In the Indian
Southwest, Heritage Takes a Hit. Archaeologists say that looting is
rampant." For twenty years, an individual, referred to as the number
one looter in the United States by many archaeologists, had been robbing
Anasazi graves and breaking into and destroying archaeological sites.
He was convicted in early 1996 and sentenced to six and a half years
in jail and in excess of $40,000 in fines.
The following acts have been passed and are enforced to protect our
national heritage devastation from serious looters as well as casual
visitors slipping pot shards into their pockets to take home for coffee
Please become familiar with these acts, and report any signs of vandalism to
- 1906, Antiquities Act: A permit is required to collect artifacts on
- 1966, National Historic Preservation Act: Requires that specific
information must be collected from sites on State Lands before they are
destroyed for development.
- 1973, Utah State Antiquities Act: Similar to the Antiquities Act
- 1979, Archaeological Resources Protection Act: Increases the penalty for
stealing or vandalizing to $500,000 and up to five years in prison.
- 1990, Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA):
Requires museums that receive public funds to consult with Native
Americans. Native Americans have the power to decide what happens to
museum collections of human remains, grave goods, and sacred items.
Antiquities Laws and Regulations for
getting more information about the these laws.
Dealing with Vandalism
Never confront nor approach vandals or do anything to endanger your
own safety or members of your own party.
Always Report Archaeological Vandalism!
Things to Report:
Note exact location of the violation. (Mark on a map if possible.)
From a distance, observe and report the vandal's:
- physical description: sex, height, weight, hair color, eyes color,
clothing, physical characteristics,
- vehicle: license plate numbers and state, description, color and model of
- date, time and location,
- type and extent of damage.
(Write it down now!)
Things to Do
- Discourage looting - refuse to buy artifacts!
- Review the
Antiquities Laws and Regulations.
- Educate others never to dig at sites or collect artifacts.
- Only photograph or draw rock art. Chalking, making rubbings or even
touching, hastens the rate of decay.
- Report unusual findings (including ancient human skeletal remains) to
the nearest BLM office immediately. Do not disturb them.
- Learn more: join the Utah Statewide Archaeological Society: call
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- URL of this page: http://bcn.boulder.co.us/environment/cacv/cacvvand.htm
- Revised '9-Jun-2001,11:10:14'
- Copyright ©1996, 1999 SCCS.