Shouting to Wake the Dead: Is it Time for a Historic Graves Protection Act?

Author(s): Amanda L Murphy

Year: 2018


As many as 300,000 abandoned historic cemeteries exist in the United States today, yet as few as 0.4% of these are protected from disturbance by listing on the National Register of Historic Places. While NAGPRA also protects Native Burial sites on public land, and federal regulations such as ARPA shield some additional archaeological resources, the remainder of ancestral dead of all ethnicities are vulnerable to exhumation during construction. The archaeological excavation of such cemeteries may produce substandard results because of uneven state regulations governing the funding, time, expertise, and publication required in archaeological projects. By analyzing the patchwork of state laws currently protecting historic burials in the United States, it becomes clear that a stronger blanket federal law is needed in the United States to enfranchise all groups in the protection of their dead, and to raise archaeological standards where historic burials are concerned.

Cite this Record

Shouting to Wake the Dead: Is it Time for a Historic Graves Protection Act?. Amanda L Murphy. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, Albuquerque, NM. 2018 ( tDAR id: 441573)

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Spatial Coverage

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

Individual & Institutional Roles

Contact(s): Society for Historical Archaeology

Record Identifiers

PaperId(s): 101