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  • Burial mound

    Don't know if this is the correct forum or not for this question but.. I've got a native burial in one of the fields in front of my house that I don't think is recorded or has a site number. I know the ethical thing to do is get it registered for historical, if not preservation, of the site but what happens to the field? Does the farmer, which knows it's there, lose that part of farm ground? Or what if he ever decides to level the field? Any input or articles on this are appreciated.
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  • #2
    Did you ask the farmer if he ever documented it? Risking another man's livelihood is serious business....

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    • #3
      That's what I'm trying to find out about. I heard somewhere that they don't relocate the remains they just document it. I don't even know if they (or can) get it protected. I do know it is a felony to dig here (second offense) but I think that's out the window if it's undocunented.
      Last edited by justinberry; 07-14-2017, 02:46 AM.
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      • #4
        Are you sure its undocumented? Many mounds are known, but you can't really find information regarding them because its confidential. I can't imagine a scenario were they would strip the rights of the landowner of his property. Generally the only time a mound or burial is excavated these days is when one is accidentally exposed by construction or must be moved for construction. Its a touchy thing even for archaeologist. My guess is your mound is likely known, and written down on an obscure list some where collecting dust. Truth is there are probably way to many mounds for archaeologist to give each individual one special attention.
        Last edited by Kyflintguy; 07-14-2017, 07:13 AM.
        Josh (Ky/Tn collector)

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        • #5
          I have a copy of C.B. Moore's book on his expedition up the St Francis, and he mapped dozens, if not hundreds of sites on that one journey. Similar books are out there for the white, black, Tennessee, Sunflower, and many other rivers where they did the same thing.
          lots of what people call burial mounds aren't actually burial mounds, but high ground where they lived and were buried. Over hundreds or thousands of years, they would elevate the area just by kicking dirt off their feet and discarding refuse, ash, broken pottery, whatever, creating "midden heaps" of a sort.
          a true burial mound like the one at Spiro is very unique.

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          • #6
            Many mounds west of me that are known sites to state archeologist that have corn 5 foot tall growing on them right now.

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            • #7
              If it is a burial place those graves are protected by NAGPRA it is a law written and enforced since Nov 1990 it pretty much rides along with ARPA which was made law in 1979. NAGPRA is an acronym for "Native American Grave Protection and Repatriation Act". That law does not just protect the bones. It also protects that artifacts with those bones. If you are picking up artifacts on a grave site you are in the wrong and you may be liable to have such artifacts seized and you fined or jailed. It does not matter if that is private land or not. wrong is wrong! Be careful what you say on the internet. Thousands of people read these message boards.
              TN formerly CT Visit our store http://stores.arrowheads.com/store.p...m-Trading-Post

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              • #8
                The irony in that, Hoss, is that nearly every high spot within 75 miles of the Mississippi on both sides from stem to stern, contain graves. It's hard for many to fathom the sheer numbers of people who were here before us. We've effectively been a country for 240 years, populated this place for almost twice that, and the natives were here THOUSANDS/perhaps tens of thousands of years before us. They were a plentiful people for a long time.

                Having said that, many are sites like Sloan, where the presence of artifacts buried a constant depth, in measured increments, is the only evidence of it being a cemetery. Being 8-10,000 years old,, all human remains are long gone. Now, this doesn't give anyone the right to just go digging up known graves because there are no human remains evident, but it does afford a means for prosecution of those who do willfully desecrate burials.

                I don't know how the law reads in other states, but here there is language that places the burden of proof heavily on the prosecution, with provisions and language that make it all but impossible for someone to be convicted.

                I also know the level of charge/offense is different from state to state.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Hoss View Post
                  If it is a burial place those graves are protected by NAGPRA it is a law written and enforced since Nov 1990 it pretty much rides along with ARPA which was made law in 1979. NAGPRA is an acronym for "Native American Grave Protection and Repatriation Act". That law does not just protect the bones. It also protects that artifacts with those bones. If you are picking up artifacts on a grave site you are in the wrong and you may be liable to have such artifacts seized and you fined or jailed. It does not matter if that is private land or not. wrong is wrong! Be careful what you say on the internet. Thousands of people read these message boards.
                  Is that what you read? Maybe I need to read it again or worded something wrong but don't put meiina catagory of grave robber.
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                  • #10
                    Justin, Matt is just cautioning you to tread lightly. We as artifact hunters & preservers are viewed by some as no better than robbers. Doesn't matter how or where we found it, private land or not. If I were you I would step away and look for some place else to hunt. We are just offering some friendly & cautionary advice.
                    Child of the tides

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                    • #11
                      Here is a good article to read. Many people probably feel that NAGPRA only affects collectors like us . Nothing could be farther from the truth. It affects the professionals too. The lawmakers wrote that law in the strictest of ways in order to protect the dead of Native Americans. To provide them the same protections and respect for their dead that all other Americans receive. The professionals now have to follow procedures when they find burials. This was not the case prior to 1990.

                      I had some discussion with professional anthropologists when Kennewick man remains were discovered. Kennewick's cranial features were thought to be that of a European. However the government would not allow it to be studied it was in the courts for years. I think they finally allowed it to be studied. However this was not a good thing for anyone. . If the remains were Native American they were not allowed to be re interred until the courts made it's decision.

                      Justin for your information I did not call you a grave robber! You said that. Read what Haven Hunter said Justin. It would not be me knocking on your door if you did something wrong but there are Law enforcement officers who belong to forum sites some collect and some just look for people who are up to no good. I offer the advice about NAGPRA so you know there are laws protecting those sites.

                      In my opinion If you have found human bones exposed by farming or by erosion or by any means you have to report it to the local authorities. They will handle it from there. You could call an archaeologist but I think they would just advise you to call the local authorities so they could try to determine the age of the burial. Not the age of the actual person at death. but the time of burial I believe if it is more than 100 years old then the archaeologists are called in by local Law Enforcement.

                      I have not read NAGPRA in a while I am uncertain on that 100 year thing could be 50 ???

                      Here is the article I mentioned in the first paragraph.​​​​​​​

                      http://buffalonews.com/1991/01/19/science-or-sacrilege/
                      Last edited by Hoss; 07-16-2017, 07:13 PM.
                      TN formerly CT Visit our store http://stores.arrowheads.com/store.p...m-Trading-Post

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