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The Law and American Indian Grave Protection

Pennsylvania Laws

Summaries follow of burial/archaeological laws yielded through a keyword search for "archaeology" and "burial" on 2001 March 30 at the State Historic Preservation Legislation Database found at the NCSL (National Conference of State Legislatures) web site, that database then updated through 1999. These summaries are reprinted under the Fair Use doctrine of international copyright law which may be found at www4.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.html

http://www.ibsgwatch.org is not responsible for any inaccuracies or timeliness of information.


Code Book: Pennsylvania Statutes
Citation: Title 9 P.S. 202 through 215
Section Title: Historic Burial Places Preservation Act

Summary:

Defines a historical burial place as a tract of land that has been in existence as a burial ground for more than 100 years and where there have been no burials for at least 50 years and where there will be no future burials; or one that has been listed in or determined eligible for the National Register of Historic Places by the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission. Prohibits the taking of a historic burial place for public use without the approval of the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, or from the General Assembly if approval has not been granted by the commission within one year. Directs the burial ground authority to preserve a record of the removal of any tombs, monuments, gravestones or other memorials from any historic burial place duly appropriated for any other use, and to supply copies of such records to the county recorder of deeds and to the commission. Prohibits the removal or destruction of any fence, tomb, monument or gravestone, or fragment thereof, from any historic burial place except for the purpose of repair, replacement, reproduction, preservation or display in an accredited museum. Allows removal of such objects only with the consent of the owner of the historic burial plot in which the gravestone or memorial is placed, or of a lineal descendant of the deceased, or if the owner or descendant is unknown, the burial ground authority, or by order of the court of common pleas of the county. Establishes the following actions as misdemeanors: the destruction, mutilation or removal of any tomb, monument, or gravestone from a historic burial place; the wanton or malicious disturbing of the contents of any tomb or grave in a historic burial place without proper authorization; or the sale or possession of any monument, gravestone or other structure unlawfully removed from a historic burial place.

Primary Topic: Archeological Activities

    Secondary Topic:
    • Violation / Penalty / Enforcement

Code Book: Pennsylvania Statutes
Citation: Title 32 P.S. 5602 through 5607
Section Title: Cave Protection Act

Summary:

Prohibits the removal or defacement of any cultural resource or material found within any cave, including, but not limited to any petroglyph, pictograph, basketry, human remains, tools, beads, pottery, projectile point or remains of historical mining activity, without the expressed written permission of the land owner. Declares that any person who unlawfully removes or defaces any cultural resource or material found within any cave is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of not more than $1,000 or imprisonment for not more than 30 days.

Primary Topic: Archeological Activities

    Secondary Topic:
    • Cave Activity
    • Violation / Penalty / Enforcement

Code Book: Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes
Citation: Title 37 Pa.C.S.A. 302
Section Title: Specific powers and duties of Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission: archeological and anthropological investigations

Summary:

(3) Enables the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission to undertake the following activities: examine or cause to be examined, research, or excavate the occupation or activity sites or areas and the cultural material remains of Native American, Colonial American and more recent American cultures in the commonwealth, under the professional direction of the commission through the techniques of archeology, anthropology and history; acquire by purchase, gift or fieldwork, archeological or anthropological collections of objects and data relative to the cultural history of the commonwealth; conduct, or cause to be conducted, archeological site surveys to locate, catalog, assess and permanently record these historic resources; maintain a central repository for map locations and written descriptions of such sites and historic resources; conduct, or cause to be conducted, research upon the cultural objects and data related to the cultural history of the commonwealth and interpret the results of the research in scientific and popular publications, exhibits and special educational programs for the public; and undertake appropriate conservation, research, restoration and storage of all material items and data relative to the cultural heritage of the commonwealth, which accrue to the archeological and anthropological collections of the commission.

Primary Topic: Archeological Activities

    Secondary Topic:
    • Curation / Ownership of Artifacts
    • Permit / Site Investigation Authority

Code Book: Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes
Citation: Title 37 Pa.C.S.A. 506
Section Title: Archeological field investigations on commonwealth land

Summary:

(a) Reserves exclusive right for the commonwealth to conduct archeological field investigations on archeological resources owned or controlled by it and retains ownership of all specimens and information gathered from such resources. (b) Directs the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission to be responsible for the preservation, protection and proper investigation of archeological resources located on land owned or controlled by the commonwealth, including submerged land. (c) Directs the commission to conduct surveys and maintain maps of archeological resources located in the commonwealth and to make the results of these surveys available to the federal government, commonwealth agencies and political subdivisions conducting activities which would affect these resources. Excludes such maps and surveys from the Right-to-Know Law (65 P.S. 66.1 et seq.) Directs the commission to respond in writing within 30 days to requests for site location information from commonwealth agencies, political subdivisions, owners of the site or potential buyers of the site, or their agents with a demonstrated need to know. Releases the requestor from further duties under this act if the commission fails to respond. (d) Enables the commission to issue permits for archeological field investigations, subject to any restraints and conditions it prescribes, if the applicant agrees to submit to the commission a summary written report of the investigation, containing relevant maps, documents, drawings and photographs. Retains all specimens collected pursuant to such a permit as the exclusive property of the commonwealth and directs the commission to arrange for their appropriate disposition and study.

Primary Topic: Archeological Activities

    Secondary Topic:
    • Permit / Site Investigation Authority

Code Book: Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes
Citation: Title 37 Pa.C.S.A. 507
Section Title: Cooperation by public officials with the commission

Summary:

(a) Directs Commonwealth agencies, political subdivisions and municipal authorities to cooperate fully with the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission in the preservation, protection and investigation of archeological resources, to notify the commission before undertaking, permitting or assisting any project that may affect archeological sites, and to provide the commission with information concerning the project. (b) Enables the commission to conduct or cause to be conducted an archeological survey of such sites that may be affected adversely by commonwealth or commonwealth assisted projects or activities, if the commission first determines that the site is significant based on recorded material evidence. Requires that the commission provide a written determination to the agency, political subdivision or municipal authority within 30 days of notification. Directs that such surveys be completed within 60 days (90 days in December-February) of the commission's determination. Enables the commission to conduct an archeological field investigation or data recovery of such sites only under extraordinary circumstances, and only after notifying the agency, political subdivision or municipal authority within 15 days after completion of a survey. Directs the commission to complete such investigations within 90 days (120 days in December-February). Directs the commission to conduct or cause to be conducted and pay any costs associated with an archeological survey or field investigation determined necessary by the commission except for the following: projects of other state agencies or instrumentalities, projects on commonwealth lands, projects of publicly regulated utilities or archeological surveys or investigations required by federal law. Directs the commission to pay the political subdivision's share of any costs associated with any archeological survey or investigation conducted or required by the commission on locally owned highway and bridge projects if the project is undertaken solely with state or local funds. Prohibits the commission from conducting or causing to be conducted an archeological survey or field investigation on private property without the consent of the property owner.

Primary Topic: Archeological Activities

    Secondary Topic:
    • Permit / Site Investigation Authority

Code Book: Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes
Citation: Title 37 Pa.C.S.A. 511
Section Title: Historic Preservation Act: criminal penalties

Summary:

Declares that a person commits a misdemeanor who conducts an archeological survey, or who appropriates, defaces or destroys any archeological site or specimen, on any land or submerged land that is controlled by the commonwealth and does so without a permit from the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission. Directs that, upon conviction, such person be fined not more than $2,500, or imprisoned for not more than one year, or both, and that such person should forfeit to the commonwealth all related specimens, records and photographs.

Primary Topic: Archeological Activities

    Secondary Topic:
    • Violation / Penalty / Enforcement

Code Book: Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes
Citation: Title 37 Pa.C.S.A. 512
Section Title: Enforcement of historic preservation laws and policies

Summary:

Enables the Attorney General, the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, any political subdivision, person or other legal entity to maintain an action in an administrative tribunal or court for the protection or preservation of any historic resource in the commonwealth.

Primary Topic: Archeological Activities

    Secondary Topic:
    • Violation / Penalty / Enforcement



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Pennsylvania government, preservation and state archaeological resource links.



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