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Historical Context


Reading 1
Reading 2
Reading 3



Table of

Determining the Facts

Document 1: Antiquities Act of 1906--AS AMENDED

This Act became law on June 8, 1906 (34 Stat. 225, 16 U.S.C. 431-433) and has been amended once. This description of the Act, as amended, tracks the language of the United States Code except that (following common usage) we refer to the “Act” (meaning the Act, as amended) rather than to the “subchapter” or the “title” of the Code.

16 U.S.C. 433, Penalties for damage, destruction, etc. of antiquities Section 1
Any person who shall appropriate, excavate, injure, or destroy any historic or prehistoric ruin or monument, or any object of antiquity, situated on lands owned or controlled by the Government of the United States, without the permission of the Secretary of the Department of the Government having jurisdiction over the lands on which said antiquities are situated, shall, upon conviction, be fined in a sum of not more than five hundred dollars or be imprisoned for a period of not more than ninety days, or shall suffer both fine and imprisonment, in the discretion of the court.
16 U.S.C. 431, Proclamation of national monuments, reservation of lands, etc. Section 2
The President of the United States is authorized, in his discretion, to declare by public proclamation historic landmarks, historic and prehistoric structures, and other objects of historic or scientific interest that are situated upon the lands owned or controlled by the Government of the United States to be national monuments, and may reserve as a part thereof parcels of land, the limits of which in all cases shall be confined to the smallest area compatible with proper care and management of the objects to be protected. When such objects are situated upon a tract covered by a bona fide unperfected claim or held in private ownership, the tract, or so much thereof as may be necessary for the proper care and management of the object, may be relinquished to the Government, and the Secretary of the Interior is hereby authorized to accept the relinquishment of such tracts in [sic] behalf of the Government of the United States.
16 U.S.C. 431a, Limitation on more national monuments in Wyoming No further extension or establishment of national monuments in Wyoming may be undertaken except by express authorization of Congress.
16 U.S.C. 432, Permits for excavation, etc. Section 3
Permits for the examination of ruins, the excavation of archaeological sites, and the gathering of objects of antiquity upon the lands under their respective jurisdictions may be granted by the Secretaries of the Interior, Agriculture, and Army to institutions which they may deem properly qualified to conduct such examination, excavation, or gathering, subject to such rules and regulation as they may prescribe: Provided, That the examinations, excavations, and gatherings are undertaken for the benefit of reputable museums, universities, colleges, or other recognized scientific or educational institutions, with a view to increasing the knowledge of such objects, and that the gatherings shall be made for permanent preservation in public museums.
16 U.S.C. 432, Rules and regulations Section 4
The Secretaries of the departments aforesaid shall make and publish from time to time uniform rules and regulations for the purpose of carrying out the provisions of this Act.

Questions for Document 1

1. Summarize each section into one sentence. Does this give you a better idea of what this act is trying to accomplish? Why or why not?

2. According to the Antiquities Act of 1906, what is the goal of archeological excavations? What must be done with the artifacts recovered from excavations?

3. The Antiquities Act of 1906 is now 100 years old. Why do you think it is still important today?

Document 1 was excerpted from the National Park Service Cultural Resources website for Laws, Regulations, and Standards--American Antiquities Act of 1906 as amended (16 USC 431-433).


Comments or Questions

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