[NPS Arrowhead] U.S. Dept. of Interior National Park Service Archeology Program
Quick Menu Features
* Sitemap * Home
preventing looting and vandalism preventing looting and vandalism (photo) Southwestern pottery.

The offense may be metal detecting on a battlefield, defacing rock art, pilfering a shipwreck, or trafficking in artifacts. Data in the Report to Congress on the Federal Archeology Program illustrate the ongoing destruction of America's archeological heritage.

The Archaeological Resources Protection Act calls for land managers to issue permits for archeological work, create public outreach programs, survey for archeological evidence, and document site damage. The act also sets criminal and civil penalties for looting, vandalism, and artifact trafficking. Yet agencies must care for often remote places-and educate the public too-with tight budgets, small staffs, and under a perception of the past as art or commodity.

Federal land managers and their partners have met the challenge creatively. Often, they pool resources to protect against looters and vandals; Arizona uses volunteer "site stewards" to keep watch over public lands. One strategy used by the federal archeology program is stepped-up legal training for archeologists, land managers, law enforcement personnel, and attorneys, with teams sometimes specializing in archeological cases. Another strategy is increased public outreach. Still, agencies face an uphill budget battle, as data in the report show.