16 U.S. Code § 470cc - Excavation and removal

(a) Application for permit
Any person may apply to the Federal land manager for a permit to excavate or remove any archaeological resource located on public lands or Indian lands and to carry out activities associated with such excavation or removal. The application shall be required, under uniform regulations under this chapter, to contain such information as the Federal land manager deems necessary, including information concerning the time, scope, and location and specific purpose of the proposed work.
(b) Determinations by Federal land manager prerequisite to issuance of permit
A permit may be issued pursuant to an application under subsection (a) of this section if the Federal land manager determines, pursuant to uniform regulations under this chapter, that—
(1) the applicant is qualified, to carry out the permitted activity,
(2) the activity is undertaken for the purpose of furthering archaeological knowledge in the public interest,
(3) the archaeological resources which are excavated or removed from public lands will remain the property of the United States, and such resources and copies of associated archaeological records and data will be preserved by a suitable university, museum, or other scientific or educational institution, and
(4) the activity pursuant to such permit is not inconsistent with any management plan applicable to the public lands concerned.
(c) Notification to Indian tribes of possible harm to or destruction of sites having religious or cultural importance
If a permit issued under this section may result in harm to, or destruction of, any religious or cultural site, as determined by the Federal land manager, before issuing such permit, the Federal land manager shall notify any Indian tribe which may consider the site as having religious or cultural importance. Such notice shall not be deemed a disclosure to the public for purposes of section 470hh of this title.
(d) Terms and conditions of permit
Any permit under this section shall contain such terms and conditions, pursuant to uniform regulations promulgated under this chapter, as the Federal land manager concerned deems necessary to carry out the purposes of this chapter.
(e) Identification of individuals responsible for complying with permit terms and conditions and other applicable laws
Each permit under this section shall identify the individual who shall be responsible for carrying out the terms and conditions of the permit and for otherwise complying with this chapter and other law applicable to the permitted activity.
(f) Suspension or revocation of permits; grounds
Any permit issued under this section may be suspended by the Federal land manager upon his determination that the permittee has violated any provision of subsection (a), (b), or (c) ofsection 470ee of this title. Any such permit may be revoked by such Federal land manager upon assessment of a civil penalty under section 470ff of this title against the permittee or upon the permittee’s conviction under section 470ee of this title.
(g) Excavation or removal by Indian tribes or tribe members; excavation or removal of resources located on Indian lands
(1) No permit shall be required under this section or under the Act of June 8, 1906 (16 U.S.C. 431), for the excavation or removal by any Indian tribe or member thereof of any archaeological resource located on Indian lands of such Indian tribe, except that in the absence of tribal law regulating the excavation or removal of archaeological resources on Indian lands, an individual tribal member shall be required to obtain a permit under this section.
(2) In the case of any permits for the excavation or removal of any archaelogical  [1] resource located on Indian lands, the permit may be granted only after obtaining the consent of the Indian or Indian tribe owning or having jurisdiction over such lands. The permit shall include such terms and conditions as may be requested by such Indian or Indian tribe.
(h) Permits issued under Antiquities Act of 1906
(1) No permit or other permission shall be required under the Act of June 8, 1906 (16 U.S.C. 431–433), for any activity for which a permit is issued under this section.
(2) Any permit issued under the Act of June 8, 1906 [16 U.S.C. 431–433], shall remain in effect according to its terms and conditions following the enactment of this chapter. No permit under this chapter shall be required to carry out any activity under a permit issued under the Act of June 8, 1906, before October 31, 1979, which remains in effect as provided in this paragraph, and nothing in this chapter shall modify or affect any such permit.
(i) Compliance with provisions relating to undertakings on property listed in the National Register not required
Issuance of a permit in accordance with this section and applicable regulations shall not require compliance with section 470f of this title.
(j) Issuance of permits to State Governors for archaeological activities on behalf of States or their educational institutions
Upon the written request of the Governor of any State, the Federal land manager shall issue a permit, subject to the provisions of subsections (b)(3), (b)(4), (c), (e), (f), (g), (h), and (i) of this section for the purpose of conducting archaeological research, excavation, removal, and curation, on behalf of the State or its educational institutions, to such Governor or to such designee as the Governor deems qualified to carry out the intent of this chapter.

[1]  So in original. Probably should be “archaeological”.


(Pub. L. 96–95, § 4,Oct. 31, 1979, 93 Stat. 722.)
References in Text

Act of June 8, 1906, referred to in subsecs. (g)(1) and (h), is act June 8, 1906, ch. 3060, 34 Stat. 225, known as the Antiquities Act of 1906, which is classified generally to sections 431, 432, and 433 of this title. For complete classification of this Act to the Code, see Short Title note set out under section 431 of this title and Tables.
Following the enactment of this chapter, referred to in subsec. (h)(2), means following the enactment of Pub. L. 96–95, approved Oct. 31, 1979.

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