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Oklahoma Antiquities Law - Oklahoma Statute Chapter 20 (Section 361):

The state legislature passed this law in 1985 to protect archeological sites on state-owned land. Site excavations on state land must be done by trained researchers who have been issued a permit from the State Archeologist, Oklahoma Archeological Survey, Norman. A provision in the law can help landowners protect their archeological sites against unauthorized relic digging.

All artifacts recovered from excavations on state lands must be deposited in an Oklahoma museum or repository. The policy of the State Archeologist. the State Historic Preservation Officer, and the Oklahoma Museum of Natural History is to make archeological materials available to qualified researchers for study and to responsible museums for display.

Violators of the provisions of this law are guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, may be fined up to $500 and/or be imprisoned up to 30 days in the county jail.

The Burial Desecration Law - Oklahoma Statute Chapter 47 (Section 1168.0 - 1168.6):

Passed in 1987, this law extends protection to human remains and associated burial goods in unmarked graves on both state and privately owned land. In essence, it is illegal knowingly to disturb, buy, sell, or barter human skeletal remains or associated items from unmarked graves. Also, these items may not be displayed for profit or in any commercial enterprise. People who encounter or discover unmarked graves and their contents should stop any further disturbance activities and report the find to an appropriate law enforcement officer in the county where the remains are found.

Violators of this law may be guilty of either a misdemeanor or a felony. For a misdemeanor conviction, violators may be fined up to $500 and/or be imprisoned up to six months in the county jail. A felony conviction could result in a $1000 fine with up to two years imprisonment in the state penitentiary.

All efforts will be made to establish the tribal affiliation of remains from unmarked graves and to see that these remains are reburied in a timely, appropriate fashion.


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Oklahoma Archeological Survey 111 E. Chesapeake Norman OK 73019-5111 (405)325-7211 Contact Webmaster: archsurvey@ou.edu

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