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OF 1979

(As Amended Through Public Law 106-580, Dec. 31, 2000]


OF 1979

(Public Law 96-95; Approved October 31 1979; 16 U.S.C. 470aa through 470mm)

AN ACT To protect archaeological resources on public lands and Indian lands, and

for other purposes. Be it enacted of the Senate and house of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,


SECTION 1. (16 U.S.C. 470aa note] This Act may be cited as the "Archaeological Resources Protection Act of 1979".


SEC. 2. (16 U.S.C. 470aa] (a) The Congress finds that

(1) archaeological resources on public lands and Indian lands are an accessible and irreplaceable part of the Nation's heritage;

(2) hese resources are increasingly endangered because of their commercial attractiveness;

(3) existing Federal laws do not provide adequate protection to prevent the loss and destruction of these archaeological resources and sites resulting from uncontrolled excavations and pillage; and

(4) there is a wealth of archaeological information which has been legally obtained by private individuals for noncommercial purposes and which could voluntarily be made available to professional archaeologists and institutions.

(b) The purpose of this Act is to secure, for the present and future benefit of the American people, the protection of archaeological resources and sites which are on public lands and Indian lands, and to foster increased cooperation and exchange of information beween governmental authorities, the professional archaeological community, and private individuals having collections of archaeblogical resources and data which were obtained before the date of he enactment of this Act.


SEC. 3. (16 U.S.C. 470bb] As used in this Act

(1) The term “archaeological resource” means any material remains of past human life or activities which are of archaeological interest, as determined under uniform regulations promulgated pursuant to this Act. Such regulations containing such determination shall include, but not be limited to: pottery, basketry, bottles, weapons, weapon projectiles, tools, structures or portions of structures, pit houses, rock paintings, rock carvings, intaglios, graves, human skeletal materials, or any portion or piece of any of the foregoing items. Nonfossilized and fossilized paleontological specimens, or any portion or piece thereof, shall not be considered archaeological resources, under the regulations under this paragraph, unless found in an archaeological context. No item shall be treated as an archaeological resource under regulations under this paragraph unless such item is at least 100 years of age.

(2) The term “Federal land manager" means, with respect to any public lands, the Secretary of the department, or the head of any other agency or instrumentality of the United States, having primary management authority over such lands. In the case of any public lands or Indian lands with respect to which no department, agency, or instrumentality has primary management authority, such term means the Secretary of the Interior. If the Secretary of the Interior consents, the responsibilities (in whole or in part) under this Act of the Secretary of any department (other than the Department of the Interior) or the head of any other agency or instrumentality may be delegated to the Secretary of the Interior with respect to any land managed by such other Secretary or agency head, and in any such case, the term "Federal land manager" means the Secretary of the Interior. (3) The term “public lands” means

(A) lands which are owned and administered by the United States as part of,

(i) the national park system,
(ii) the national wildlife refuge system, or

(iii) the national forest system; and 1
(B) all other lands the fee title to which is held by the
United States, other than lands on the Outer Continental
Shelf and lands which are under the jurisdiction of the
Smithsonian Institution.

(4) The term "Indian lands” means lands of Indian tribes, or Indian individuals, which are either held in trust by the United States or subject to a restriction against alienation imposed by the United States, except for any subsurface interests in lands not owned or controlled by an Indian tribe or an Indian individual.

(5) The term "Indian tribe” means any Indian tribe, band, nation, or other organized group or community, including any Alaska Native village or regional or village corporation as defined in, or established pursuant to, the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (85 Stat. 688).

(6) The term "person” means an individual, corporation, partnership, trust, institution, association, or any other private entity or any officer, employee, agent, department, or instrumentality of the United States, of any Indian tribe, or of any State or political subdivision thereof.

(7) The term “State” means any of the fifty States, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Virgin Islands.

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1 Paragraph (3XAXiii) probably should end with“, and” rather than “; and".


SEC. 4. (16 U.S.C. 470cc) (a) Any person may apply to the Federal land manager for a permit to excavate or remove any archaeological resource located on public lands or Indian lands and to carry out activities associated with such excavation or removal. The application shall be required, under uniform regulations under this Act, to contain such information as the Federal land manager deems necessary, including information concerning the time, scope, and location and specific purpose of the proposed work.

(b) A permit may be issued pursuant to an application under subsection (a) if the Federal land manager determines, pursuant to uniform regulations under this Act, that

(1) the applicant is qualified, to carry out the permitted activity,

(2) the activity is undertaken for the purpose of furthering archaeological knowledge in the public interest,

(3) the archaeological resources which are excavated or removed from public lands will remain the property of the United States, and such resources and copies of associated archaeological records and data will be preserved by a suitable university, museum, or other scientific or educational institution, and

(4) the activity pursuant to such permit is not inconsistent with any management plan applicable to the public lands concerned.

(c) If a permit issued under this section may result in harm to, or destruction of, any religious or cultural site, as determined by the Federal land manager, before issuing such permit, the Federal land manager shall notify any Indian tribe which may consider the site as having religious or cultural importance. Such notice shall not be deemed a disclosure to the public for purposes of section 9.

(d) Any permit under this section shall contain such terms and conditions, pursuant to uniform regulations promulgated under this Act, as the Federal land manager concerned deems necessary to carry out the purposes of this Act.

(e) Each permit under this section shall identify the individual who shall be responsible for carrying out the terms and conditions of the permit and for otherwise complying with this Act and other law applicable to the permitted activity.

(f) Any permit issued under this section may be suspended by the Federal land manager upon his determination that the permittee has violated any provision of subsection (a), (b), or (c) of section 6. Any such permit may be revoked by such Federal land manager upon assessment of a civil penalty under section 7 against the permittee or upon the permittee's conviction under section 6.

(g)(1) No permit shall be required under this section or under the Act of June 8, 1906 (16 U.S.C. 431), for the excavation or removal by any Indian tribe or member thereof of any archaeological resource located on Indian lands of such Indian tribe, except that in the absence of tribal law regulating the excavation or removal of archaeological resources on Indian lands, an individual tribal member shall be required to obtain a permit under this section.

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