Increasing Effectiveness Of The Legal Regime For The Protection Of The International Archaeological Heritage

Document Type


Publication Date

December 2009


This chapter examines the structure of the legal regime that is used to preserve the international archaeological heritage. It also considers the means for improving the effectiveness of this legal regime. Two aspects of the legal regime have developed in the United States that are concerned with the protection of the archaeological heritage laws specifically designed to protect archaeological heritage and laws of general application that have been used increasingly for this same purpose. When the museum or taxpayer is seeking a government benefit, they, not the government, should bear the burden of proving legitimate ownership and a documented history that excludes the possibility that these antiquities are the product of recent site looting. The goal of such additional regulation is increased preservation of archaeological sites so that we, and future generations, can learn from and enjoy the past.