Year of Award


Document Type


Degree Type

Master of Arts (MA)

Degree Name

Anthropology (Cultural Heritage Option)

Department or School/College

Department of Anthropology

Committee Chair

Douglas MacDonald

Commitee Members

Jeffrey Bendremer, Ray Cross


archaeological damage, archaeological value, archaeological crime, Archaeological Resources Protection Act


University of Montana


Archaeological crime is pervasive in the United States and throughout the world. While laws in the United States do not vest national ownership rights in archaeological resources, there are stringent means to enforce federal property rights in cultural resources that exist on federal lands under the Archaeological Resources Protection Act (ARPA) as well as the Embezzlement and Theft, and Malicious Mischief federal statutes. In order to exercise these rights, federal land managers and archaeologists must know how to proceed upon detection of an archaeological violation. Specifically, there must be a thorough understanding of how to prepare an adequate archaeological damage assessment report that addresses the value of the archaeological resources and the consequent loss from the damage to them so that a judge and potential jury sufficiently appreciate the valuable yet irretrievable nature of archaeological resources. An adequately prepared archaeological damage assessment report is paramount to the concept of archaeological value and demonstrating the loss to this value in the court system, and consequently the public. This model, having established its potential effectiveness when properly followed, can and should be used in all archaeological crime cases implicating not only federal, but state, private, and international jurisdictions, and employing any archaeological protection statutes. After a brief history of the case law that defined the parameters of ARPA and its implementing regulations, this paper will discuss details of permitting procedures and preparing an adequate archaeological damage assessment report, including the inconsistencies in damaged site recordation that lead to common mistakes and pitfalls in documentation and report preparation. I also provide an in depth discussion of the concept of archaeological value, how it is established under ARPA, the implementing regulations, and case law. This paper will provide guidance to those who wish to better utilize ARPA and other archaeological protection laws to detect, document, and ultimately prosecute archaeological resource crimes more effectively and deter archaeological crime in the United States and abroad.



© Copyright 2012 Liv Kristina Fetterman