Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Archaeology vs Grave Robbing

Hey I'm Nate Fossum I'm a professional archaeologist currently working in North Texas and I specialized in the archaeology of the indigenous peoples of North America prior to the colonisation by Europeans especially in what we call the Eastern woodlands regional and I've done so for more than ten years today I want to talk about a meme that I gets in .

On a fairly regular basis that ask the question how old does something have to be before it's archaeology instead of grave-robbing and this kind of gets that a couple of misconceptions about what archaeology is and what we actually do first off speaking for the United States of America we have a law in place called NAGPRA the North American graves .

Protection and repatriation act it was passed in 1990 and this law means that if I'm working on a site and I encounter human remains that are found not to be recent you know from a recent murder victim said the jurisdiction over what happens to those remains falls squarely on the shoulders of federally recognized tribes so I'm not allowed to touch those .

Remains unless I have the permission or in more more appropriately the mandate by some kind of tribal authority to do so and when we do that those remains are removed from the ground they are sent back to the lab to have non-destructive analysis done so basically a lot of measurements and then they are returned to that tribal authority and they will .

Go through whatever process of repatriation to those remains that they deem appropriate but the other thing is that within North American or United States archaeological law anything 50 years and older is considered archeological I will work on sites that I've worked on sites in Cape Canaveral Florida where we .

Were looking for rocket parts from the early space program because those are now considered old enough to be part of the archaeological record I'll be at the recent archaeological record um that's really all I have for this one I hope you found that interesting and as always thank you for watching


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