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Anthropology and Archaeology
Archaeology, Relics, and the Law book jacket View Table of Contents and Introductory Material
ISBN978-1-59460-119-4

Archaeology, Relics, and the Law

Second Edition

by Richard B. Cunningham

2006 $93.00 880 pp casebound

Tags: Archaeology, Archaeology and Law, Art/Museum Law

Teacher's Manual PDF available

We are temporarily not accepting orders over our website while we move warehouses. Please call us at (919) 489-7486 for more information or to place an order.


This innovative casebook explores the emerging law of archaeology. It combines carefully edited judicial opinions with extensive descriptions of famous controversies that were not litigated, all arranged to illustrate relevant legal concepts in a sequential development. The cases are buttressed by full coverage of relevant federal statutory materials and a collection of representative state statutes. Taken together, the materials present a fascinating opportunity to study the process by which both public and private law respond to rapidly changing political, ethical, and technical circumstances.

The law of sunken ships—as governed by rules of sovereignty and admiralty—provides the context to explore whether an original owner’s claim of title can be lost with the passage of time. When an owner’s claim no longer exists, complex rules of finder’s law determine whether finders, landowners, or governments may assert ownership over artifacts and relics. Different issues arise when artifacts are located on federal lands, or subject to federal regulatory control; the book sets out the history and modern operation of both the Antiquities Act and the ARPA, using statutory material, recent cases, and commentary to highlight major issues. Looting, and the interstate and international commerce in looted artifacts, is examined with materials involving ARPA, and both bilateral agreements undertaken under UNESCO and unilateral use of the National Stolen Property Act. Protection of archaeological resources that are located on private land is examined in the context of salvage archaeology, undertaken either voluntarily or under state and federal mandates, particularly various environmental review processes. The law of human remains receives detailed exposure, including the common law and statutory rules that governed treatment of bodies, manner of burial, the creation and protection of graves and cemeteries, and the emerging law of disinterment and repatriation. Those materials provide the context for examination of recent developments under the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA).

The revised second edition includes noteworthy state and federal caselaw, expanded materials on illicit international transfers, and “final” resolution of the Kennewick Man litigation. A Teacher's Manual is available.

“The book has an excellent glossary explaining statutes as well as common law concepts…This book will be of great interest to scholars interested in the law of indigenous cultures.” — Bimonthly Review of Law Books


Complimentary Copy RequestIf you are a professor teaching in this field you may request a complimentary copy.

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