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Archaeological Resources Protection Act of 19791  

AN ACT TO protect archaeological resources on public lands and Indian lands, 
and for other purposes.  

Be it enacted of the Senate and the House of Representatives of the United 
States of America in Congress assembled, 

Short Title 

  SEC. 1. This Act may be cited as the "Archaeological Resources Protection Act 
of 1979". 

Findings and Purpose 

  SEC. 2. (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) these 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 between governmental 
authorities, the professional archaeological community, and private 
individuals having collections of archaeological resources and data which 
were obtained before the date of the enactment of this Act. 


  SEC. 3. 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 the 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 
          (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.2 
      (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 interest 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 
      (7) The term "State" means any of the fifty States, the District of 
    Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Virgin Islands. 

Excavation and Removal 

  SEC. 4. (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 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 
  (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. 
      (2) In the case of any permits for the excavation or removal of any 
archaeological resources located on Indian lands, the permit may be granted 
only after obtaining the consent of the Indian or Indian tribe owning or 
having jurisdiction over such lands.  The permit shall include such terms 
and conditions as may be requested by such Indian or Indian tribe. 
  (h) (1) No permit or other permission shall be required under the Act of 
June 8, 1906 (16 U.S.C. 431-433), for any activity for which a permit is 
issued under this section. 
      (2) Any permit issued under the Act of June 8, 1906, shall remain in 
effect according to its terms and conditions following the enactment of this 
Act.  No permit shall be required to carry out any activity under a permit 
issued under the Act of June 8, 1906, before the date of the enactment of this 
Act which remains in effect as provided in this paragraph, and nothing in this 
Act shall modify or affect any such permit. 
  (i) Issuance of a permit in accordance with this section and applicable 
regulations shall not require compliance with section 106 of the Act of 
October 15, 1966 (80 Stat. 917, 16 U.S.C. 470f). 
  (j) Upon the written request of the Governor of any State, the Federal land 
manager shall issue a permit, subject to the provisions of subsections (b)(3), 
(b)(4), (c), (e), (f), (g), (h), and (i) of this section for the purpose of 
conducting archaeological research, excavation, removal, and curation, on 
behalf of the State or its educational institutions, to such Governor or to 
such designee as the Governor deems qualified to carry out the intent of this 

Custody of Resources 

  SEC. 5. The Secretary of the Interior may promulgate regulations providing for- 
      (1) the exchange, where appropriate, between suitable universities, 
    museums, or other scientific or educational institutions, of 
    archaeological resources removed from public lands and Indian lands 
    pursuant to this Act, and 
      (2) the ultimate disposition of such resources and other resources 
    removed pursuant to the Act of June 27, 1960 (16 U.S.C. 469-469c) or 
    the Act of June 8, 1906 (16 U.S.C. 431-433). 
  Any exchange or ultimate disposition under such regulation of archaeological 
resources excavated or removed from Indian lands shall be subject to the 
consent of the Indian or Indian tribe which owns or has jurisdiction over such 
lands.  Following promulgation of regulations, under this section, 
notwithstanding any other provision of law, such regulations shall govern the 
disposition of archaeological resources removed from public lands and Indian 
lands pursuant to this Act. 

Prohibited Acts and Criminal Penalties 

  SEC. 6. (a) No person may excavate, remove, damage, or otherwise alter or 
deface or attempt to excavate, remove, damage, or otherwise alter or deface3 
any archaeological resource located on public lands or Indian lands unless such 
activity is pursuant to a permit issued under section 4, a permit referred to 
in section 4(h)(2), or the exemption contained in section 4(g)(1). 
  (b) No person may sell, purchase, exchange, transport, receive, or offer to 
sell, purchase, or exchange any archaeological resource if such resource was 
excavated or removed from public lands or Indian lands in violation of- 
      (1) the prohibition contained in subsection (a), or 
      (2) any provision, rule, regulation, ordinance, or permit in effect 
  under any other provision of Federal law. 
  (c) No person may sell, purchase, exchange, transport, receive, or offer to 
sell, purchase, or exchange, in interstate or foreign commerce, any 
archaeological resources excavated, removed, sold, purchased, exchanged, 
transported, or received in violation of any provision, rule, regulation, 
ordinance, or permit in effect under State or local law. 
  (d) Any person who knowingly violates, or counsels, procures, solicits, or 
employs any other person to violate, any prohibition contained in subsection 
(a), (b), or (c) of this section shall, upon conviction, be fined not more than 
$10,000 or imprisoned not more than one year, or both: Provided, however, 
That if the commercial or archaeological value of the archaeological resources 
involved and the cost of restoration and repair of such resources exceeds the 
sum of $500,4 such person shall be fined not more than $20,000 or 
imprisoned not more than two years, or both.  In the case of a second or 
subsequent such violation upon conviction such person shall be fined not more 
than $100,000, or imprisoned not more than five years, or both. 
  (e) The prohibitions contained in this section shall take effect on the date 
of the enactment of this Act. 
  (f) Nothing in subsection (b)(1) of this section shall be deemed applicable 
to any person with respect to an archaeological resource which was in the lawful 
possession of such person prior to the date of the enactment of this Act. 
  (g) Nothing in subsection (d) of this section shell be deemed applicable to 
any person with respect to the removal of arrowheads located on the surface of 
the ground. 

Civil Penalties 

  SEC. 7. (a)(1) Any person who violates any prohibition contained in an 
applicable regulation or permit issued under this Act may be assessed a civil 
penalty by the Federal land manager concerned.  No penalty may be assessed under 
this subsection unless such person is given notice and opportunity for a 
hearing with respect to such violation.  Each violation shall be a separate 
offense.  Any such civil penalty may be remitted or mitigated by the Federal 
land manager concerned. 
      (2) The amount of such penalty shall be determined under regulation 
  promulgated pursuant to this Act, taking into account, in addition to 
  other factors- 
          (A) the archaeological or commercial value of the archaeological 
      resource involved, and 
          (B) the cost of restoration and repair of the resource and the 
      archaeological site involved. 
  Such regulations shall provide that, in the case of a second or subsequent 
violation by any person, the amount of such civil penalty may be double the 
amount which would have been assessed if such violation were the first violation 
by such person.  The amount of any penalty assessed under this subsection for 
any violation shall not exceed an amount equal to double the cost of restoration 
and repair of resources and archaeological sites damaged and double the fair 
market value of resources destroyed or not recovered. 
      (3) No penalty shall be assessed under this section for the removal of 
  arrowheads located on the surface of the ground.  
  (b) (1) Any person aggrieved by an order assessing a civil penalty under 
subsection (a) may file a petition for judicial review of such order with the 
United States District Court for the District of Columbia or for any other 
district in which such a person resides or transacts business.  Such a petition 
may only be filed within the 30-day period beginning on the date the order 
making such assessment was issued.  The court shall hear such action on the 
record made before the Federal land manager and shall sustain his action if it 
is supported by substantial evidence on the record considered as a whole. 
      (2) If any person fails to pay an assessment of a civil penalty- 
          (A) after the order making the assessment has become a final order 
      and such person has not filed a petition for judicial review of the 
          order in accordance with paragraph (1), or 
          (B) after a court in an action brought under paragraph (1) has 
          entered a final judgment upholding the assessment of a civil penalty, 
          the Federal land managers may request the Attorney General to institute 
          a civil action in a district court of the United States for any 
          district in which such person is found, resides, or transacts business 
          to collect the penalty and such court shall have jurisdiction to hear 
          and decide any such action.  In such action, the validity and amount of 
          such penalty shall not be subject to review. 
  (c) Hearings held during proceedings for the assessment of civil penalties 
authorized by subsection (a) shall be conducted in accordance with section 554 
of title 5 of the United States Code.  The Federal land manager may issue 
subpoenas for the attendance and testimony of witnesses and the production of 
relevant papers, books, and documents, and administer oaths.  Witnesses summoned 
shall be paid the same fees and mileage that are paid to witnesses in the courts 
of the United States.  In case of contumacy or refusal to obey a subpoena served 
upon any person pursuant to this paragraph, the district court of the United 
States for any district in which such person is found or resides or transacts 
business, upon application by the United States and after notice to such person, 
shall have jurisdiction to issue an order requiring such person to appear and 
give testimony before the Federal land manager or to appear and produce 
documents before the Federal land manager, or both, and any failure to obey such 
order of the court may be punished by such court as a contempt thereof. 

Rewards; Forfeiture 

  SEC. 8. (a) Upon the certification of the Federal land manager concerned, the 
Secretary of the Treasury is directed to pay from penalties and fines collected 
under sections 6 and 7 an amount equal to one-half of such penalty or fine, but 
not to exceed $500, to any person who furnishes information which leads to the 
finding of a civil violation, or the conviction of criminal violation, with 
respect to which such penalty or fine was paid.  If several persons provided 
such information, such amount shall be divided among such persons.  No officer 
or employee of the United States or of any State or local government who 
furnishes information or renders service in the performance of his official 
duties shall be eligible for payment under this subsection. 
  (b) All archaeological resources with respect to which a violation of 
subsection (a), (b), or (c) of section 6 occurred and which are in the 
possession of any person, and all vehicles and equipment of any person which 
were used in connection with such violation, may be (in the discretion of the 
court or administrative law judge, as the case may be) subject to forfeiture 
to the United States upon- 
      (1) such person's conviction of such violation under section 6, 
      (2) assessment of a civil penalty against such person under section 7 
  with respect to such violation, or 
      (3) a determination of any court that such archaeological resources, 
  vehicles, or equipment were involved in such violation. 
  (c) In cases in which a violation of the prohibition contained in subsection 
(a), (b), or (c) of section 6 involve archaeological resources excavated or 
removed from Indian lands, the Federal land manager or the court, as the case 
may be, shall provide for the payment to the Indian or Indian tribe involved 
of all penalties collected pursuant to section 7 and for the transfer to such 
Indian or Indian tribe of all items forfeited under this section. 


  SEC. 9. (a) Information concerning the nature and location of any 
archaeological resource for which the excavation or removal requires a permit 
or other permission under this Act or under any other provision of Federal law 
may not be made available to the public under subchapter II of chapter 5 of 
title 5 of the United States Code or under any other provision of law unless 
the Federal land manager concerned determines that such disclosure would- 
      (1) further the purposes of this Act or the Act of June 27, 1960 
  (16 U.S.C. 469-469c), and 
      (2) not create a risk of harm to such resources or to the site at which 
  such resources are located. 
  (b) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (a), upon the written 
request of the Governor of any State, which request shall state- 
      (1) the specific site or area for which information is sought, 
      (2) the purpose for which such information is sought, 
      (3) a commitment by the Governor to adequately protect the 
confidentiality of such information to protect the resource from commercial 
  The Federal land manager concerned shall provide to the Governor information 
concerning the nature and location of archaeological resources within the State 
of the requesting Governor. 

Regulations; Intergovernmental Coordination 

  SEC 10. (a) The Secretaries of the Interior, Agriculture and Defense and the 
Chairman of the Board of the Tennessee Valley Authority, after consultation 
with other Federal land managers, Indian tribes, representatives of concerned 
State agencies, and after public notice and hearing, shall promulgate such 
uniform rules and regulations as may be appropriate to carry out the purposes 
of this Act.  Such rules and regulations may be promulgated only after 
consideration of the provisions of the American Indian Religious Freedom Act 
(92 Stat. 469; 42 U.S.C. 1996).  Each uniform rule or regulation promulgated 
under this Act shall be submitted on the same calendar day to the Committee 
on Energy and Natural Resources of the United States Senate and to the Committee 
on Interior and Insular Affairs of the United States House of Representatives, 
and no such uniform rule or regulation may take effect before the expiration of 
a period of ninety calendar days following the date of its submission to such 
  (b) Each Federal land manager shall promulgate such rules and regulations 
under subsection (a), as may be appropriate for the carrying out of his 
functions and authorities under this Act. 
  (c)5Each Federal land manager shall establish a program to increase public 
awareness of the significance of the archaeological resources located on public 
lands and Indian lands and the need to protect such resources.  Each such land 
manager shall submit an annual report to the Committee on Interior and Insular 
Affairs of the United States House of Representatives and to the Committee on 
Energy and Natural Resources of the United States Senate regarding the actions 
taken under such program. 

Cooperation with Private Individuals 

  SEC. 11. The Secretary of the Interior shall take such action as may be 
necessary, consistent with the purposes of this Act, to foster and improve the 
communication, cooperation, and exchange of information between- 
      (1) private individuals having collections of archaeological resources 
  and data which were obtained before the date of the enactment of this Act, 
      (2) Federal authorities responsible for the protection of archaeological 
  resources on the public lands and Indian lands and professional archaeologists 
  and associations of professional archaeologists. 
  In carrying out this section, the Secretary shall, to the extent practicable 
and consistent with the provisions of this Act, make efforts to expand the 
archaeological data base for the archaeological resources of the United States 
through increased cooperation between private individuals referred to in 
paragraph (1) and professional archaeologists and archaeological organizations. 

Savings Provisions 

  SEC.12 (a) Nothing in this Act shall be construed to repeal, modify, or 
impose additional restrictions on the activities permitted under existing laws 
and authorities relating to mining, mineral leasing, reclamation, and other 
multiple uses of the public lands. 
  (b) Nothing in this Act applies to, or requires a permit for, the collection 
for private purposes of any rock, coin, bullet, or mineral which is not an 
archaeological resource, as determined under uniform regulations promulgated 
under section 3(1). 
  (c) Nothing in this Act shall be construed to affect any land other than 
public land or Indian land or to affect the lawful recovery, collection, or 
sale of archaeological resources from land other than public land or Indian 


  SEC. 13. As part of the annual report required to be submitted to the 
specified committees of the Congress pursuant to section 5(c) of the Act of 
June 27, 1960 (74 Stat. 220; 16 U.S.C. 469-469a), the Secretary of the 
Interior shall comprehensively report as a separate component on the 
activities carried out under the provisions of this Act, and he shall make 
such recommendations as he deems appropriate as to changes or improvements 
needed in the provisions of this Act.  Such report shall include a brief 
summary of the actions undertaken by the Secretary under section 11 of this 
Act, relating to cooperation with private individuals. 

  SEC. 14.6 The Secretaries of the Interior, Agriculture, and Defense and 
the Chairman of the Board of the Tennessee Valley Authority shall- 
  (a) develop plans for surveying lands under their control to determine the 
nature and extent of archaeological resources on those lands; 
  (b) prepare a schedule for surveying lands that are likely to contain the 
most scientifically valuable archaeological resources; and 
  (c) develop documents for the report of suspected violations of this Act 
and establish when and how those documents are to be completed by officers, 
employees, and agents of their respective agencies. 


1 The Archaeological Resources Protection Act of 1979 (16 U.S.C. 
470aa-470mm), as set forth herein, consists of Public Law 96-95 (October 31, 
1979) and amendments thereto. 
2 Section 3(3) originally ended with a semicolon, but was amended 
to terminate with a period by Public Law 100-588(Section (a)), Nov. 3, 1988 
(102 Stat. 2983). 
3 Language in boldface type in Section 6(a) was added in Public Law 
100-588 (Sec. (b)), Nov. 3, 1988 (102. Stat. 2983). 
4The amount in boldface was substituted for $5,000, which was in 
the original law, by Section (c) of Public Law 100-588, Nov. 3, 1988 (102 
Stat. 2983). 
4 Section 10(c) was added to the law by Public Law 100-588 
(Section (d)), Nov. 3, 1988 (102 Stat. 2778). 
5 Section 14 was added to the original legislation by Public Law 100-555, Oct. 28, 1988 (102 Stat. 2983).

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