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Digging In: An In-Depth Look at the Archaeological Resources Protection Act: The Archaeological Perspective

Christopher D. Dore, Proceedings of 56th Annual Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Institute (2010)

This chapter provides an archaeological perspective on the Archaeological Resources Protection Act of 1979 (ARPA).1 The legal perspective on ARPA is presented in Chapter 14A. In particular, this chapter focuses on archaeological issues that are relevant to the legal community in the defense of civil litigation.
This chapter does not discuss the new Paleontological Resources Protection Act (PRPA)2 a subtitle within the Omnibus Public Lands Management Act of 2009,2.1 since archaeology is scientifically distinct from paleontology in methods, approaches, theory, and ethics. However, given that ARPA was a model for PRPA, much of what is presented here regarding the practical lessons learned about ARPA may assist those defending clients under PRPA.
Typically, ARPA investigations and case work involve distinct, complementary professional contributions from archaeologists and investigators, and, in criminal cases, prosecutors. This team approach has evolved from prosecutions under the criminal provisions of ARPA, which have been historically more common. Under this approach, the archaeologist fulfills a scientific support role in the investigation and takes the lead in the valuation of damage. The investigator manages the archaeological incident scene and leads the investigation, while the prosecutor develops the legal case. Team members have their own areas of expertise and re