Indian Burial and Sacred Grounds Watch



Federal laws

State laws

Some preserved sites.

Some history and culture

Controversies Concerning Archaeology

American Indian Voices

News Archive Index

Return to main Learn page

Please inform the webmaster of any broken links!

The Law and American Indian Grave Protection

Wyoming Laws

When contacted as to Indian burial ground laws April 2001, the State Archaeologist, Mark Miller, referred us to the Antiquities Act (36-1-114 through 36-1-116). He wrote, "In Wyoming, there is no specific law pertaining to Indian burial/sacred grounds and artifacts, or repatriation. On the discovery of human remains, archaeologists or others are expected to follow NAGPRA. The county coroner and/or sheriff's office is generally notified when human remains are found as well, in case forensic research is needed. Wyoming has an Antiquities Act (36-1-114 through 36-1-116) that protects archaeological and paleontological material on State lands. There are statutes about cemeteries and burials (35-8-101 through 35-8-407)." He noted that none of these specifically address Indian burial grounds.

Below is a summary of 36-114 through 36-1-116. The full text is at the above link.

Code Book: Wyoming Statutes
Citation: 36-1-114 through 36-1-116
Section Title: Wyoming Antiquities Act: permits to excavate; consent to removal from state; penalty
Date Enacted: 1935, amended 1945, 1957, 1997


Wyoming has no specific unmarked human burial protection legislation. What little legal precedent exists, deals with archaeological resources on state and federal lands. The law protects prehistoric ruins, relics and archaeological and paleontological deposits, which could include prehistoric human burials. The State Board of Land Commissioners has responsibility for issuing excavation permits, as well as for developing and implementing regulations. Most violations are misdemeanors with fines from $25 to $200 and jail up to six months. The 1997 amendment added penalties from $500- 10,000 for anyone convicted of removing archaeological and paleontological deposits for commercial gain. No direction exists to coordinate with Native Americans.

(36-1-114) Prohibits any excavation on any prehistoric ruins, pictographs, hieroglyphics or any other ancient markings, writing or archeological and paleontological deposits on any state or federal public land in Wyoming without first obtaining a permit from the State Board of Land Commissioners. Directs the board to promulgate and enforce such regulations as it may deem necessary to protect from vandalism or injury prehistoric ruins, relics, archeological and paleontological deposits of the state, as well as natural features. Declares violation of such regulations to be a misdemeanor. (36-1-115) Prohibits removal from the state any part of such prehistoric ruins or deposit as described in 36-1-114 except with the consent of the State Board of Land Commissioners. (36-1-116) Declares that any person violating any provisions of 36-1-114 or 36-1-115 shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and shall be fined not less than $25 or more than $100 or imprisoned in the county jail not more than six months, or by both fine and imprisonment, and shall forfeit to the state all articles and materials discovered by or through such violations. Declares that no person holding a permit or lease on state lands may not sublease or subcontract archeological or paleontological removal without prior written approval of the board. Declares that any person who, for monetary gain or for commercial purposes, removes any archeological or paleontological artifacts with a cumulative value in excess of $500 shall be guilty of a felony and upon conviction shall be fined up to $10,000, imprisoned for up to ten years, or both.

Primary Topic: Archeological Activities

    Secondary Topic:
    • Permit / Site Investigation Authority
    • Violation / Penalty / Enforcement

Jurisdiction: All state and federal lands.
Statute of Limitations: Not specified.
Areas Covered Under Act:
Relics, ruins, and archaeological and paleontological deposits.
Ownership: Not specified.
Review/Consultation Committee: Not specified.
Liable: Any person who violates state statute.
Penalties: Violations are misdemeanors with fines from $25 to $200 and jail up to six months. Convictions related to commercial looting are felonies with fines from $500 to $10,000.
Exemptions: Not specified.
Permitting: Permits issued by State Board of Land Commissioners.


State Historic Preservation Legislation Database, keyword search for burial and archaeology 30 March 2001

Resource for blue text is the Update of Compilation of State Repatriation, Reburial and Grave Protection Laws (July 1997), Prepared for the Natural Resources Conservation Service under order number 40-3A75-7-102, by Kathleen Schamel for CEHP Incorporated P.O. Box 56462 Washington, DC 20040-6462 TEL: (202) 293-1774 FAX: (202) 722-1129 is not responsible for any inaccuracies or timeliness of information.

Return to State laws
State Historic Preservation Legislation Database. Search by state and keywords for legislation.
Wyoming government, preservation and state archaeological resource links.

home : mission : updates : sites : learn : action : links : contact

Best viewed at screen resolutions 1024 x 768 and 800 x 600
Copyright Information
For site problems contact the webmaster