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Cultural Resources

Cultural Resources are tangible remains of past human activity. These may include buildings; structures; prehistoric sites; historic or prehistoric objects or collection; rock inscription; earthworks, canals, or landscapes. These nonrenewable resources may yield unique information about past societies and environments, and provide answers for modern day social and conservation problems. Although many have been discovered and protected, there are numerous forgotten, undiscovered, or unprotected cultural resources in rural America.

A cultural resource is a site, structure, object or district, usually more that 50 years old, that relates to the past. Federal law protects "significant" sites that are important to our past.

  • NRCS General Manual Chapter: Cultural Resources (Archaeological and Historic Properties) (GM 420, Part 401)

  • NRCS National Cultural Resources Procedures Handbook (Title 190 Ecological Sciences, Part 601)

  • Compilation of State Repatriation, Reburial and Grave Protection Laws
    State laws often require treatment of burial sites and associated resources, and most carry penalties for failure to comply.

    In response to increasing concerns over the looting of cultural resources, including sites containing human remains and funerary objects, many states and tribes have enacted legislation and codes to project burial sites. These laws and codes often require special treatment of burial sites and objects and may have penalties for failure to comply. This project (the map) is a compilation of exiting state and tribal cultural resources laws and codes and we encourage you to review and comment, and suggest additional information and web links.

    Click on any state in the map to view available information on its State and Tribal Laws and Regulations. The information contained on this websites is to provide you with basic information and is not a substitute for legal counsel.

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Melissa Benner, State Cultural Resources Specialist, (307) 233-6772