"The Thieves Who Stole 11 Mountain Howitzers … Were Tried in U.S. Court": The Story of the First Federal Cultural Resources Protection Law and the First Federal Prosecution of a Cultural Resources Crime.

Author(s): Christopher Eck

Year: 2016

Summary

As we prepare to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the NHPA, it is worth remembering that a nearly forgotten federal law established the first federal battlefield parks a mere 25 years after the end of the Civil War and placed federal authority and protection over cultural resources – the "Act to establish a National Military Park at the Battlefield of Chickamauga" of 1890 and the subsequent related statutes, such as the Military Parks Act of 1897.

This paper explores this law, its early protection of cultural resources and its provisions protecting battlefields from looting—"relic collecting"—including criminal prosecution and fines. Also, it discusses the first known prosecution of looting at a federal Civil War battlefield park, several years before the passage of the Antiquities Act and the implications of this legislation and case for subsequent historical archaeological resources planning, policy, decision making, and education influencing the future of archaeological stewardship.

Cite this Record

"The Thieves Who Stole 11 Mountain Howitzers … Were Tried in U.S. Court": The Story of the First Federal Cultural Resources Protection Law and the First Federal Prosecution of a Cultural Resources Crime.. Christopher Eck. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, Washington, D.C. 2016 ( tDAR id: 434822)

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Keywords

Spatial Coverage

min long: -129.199; min lat: 24.495 ; max long: -66.973; max lat: 49.359 ;

Record Identifiers

PaperId(s): 983