A. Research and studies proposed by persons or organizations on cultural resources located on lands under the control of the Service may require the issuance of a permit. Permits for archaeological work authorized under the Archaeological Resources Protection Act and the Antiquities Act must be issued by the Regional Director and cannot be delegated. Special Use Permits or similar authorizations for cultural resource studies are issued by the project leader. A permit ensures that only qualified personnel and institutions are allowed to carry on excavations or studies within existing professional standards. Since many methods used in investigating cultural resources are destructive in nature and result in the irretrievable loss of resources, the careful review of applicant qualifications is necessary before issuing a permit for research or study. Additionally, permit review allows scheduling of proposed field activities so as to minimize disturbance to wildlife and other management activities.
B. In certain instances, a permit issued under either the Archaeological Resources Protection Act or the Antiquities Act is not necessary to conduct cultural resource studies. These are when:
(1) A qualified professional Service employee proposes to conduct official agency cultural resource studies.
(2) A qualified professional employee working for another Federal agency proposes to conduct cultural resource studies in support of official Service business.
(3) A qualified professional (working for an institution or independently) proposes to conduct cultural resource studies by means of a contract issued in accordance with Federal procurement regulations.
(4) A qualified professional (working for an institution or independently) proposes to conduct non-destructive research or studies on cultural resources.
(5) A qualified Service volunteer conducts studies, research, or work under the direct supervision of a professional Service cultural resource employee.
C. In each of these cases, however, the same professional standards and guidelines used for reviewing Archaeological Resource Protection Act and Antiquities Act permit applications apply. Individuals or institutions falling within paragraphs B(2), (3), and (4) above must submit sufficient information on the nature of their proposed work and their qualifications to the Regional Director for review and obtain a Special Use Permit from the project leader before commencing with activities.
D. Issuance of Archaeological Resource Protection Act and Antiquities Act permits does not necessarily obligate the Service to allow the specified work to proceed. A Special Use Permit or similar authorization issued by the project leader is also required. Special provisions attached to the Special Use Permit or authorization, such as refusing access to specific sites or areas and specifying the time period during which work is to be performed, can additionally restrict permit activities as deemed necessary. A Special Use Permit should also be used by the project leader to require the submission of reports on non-destructive research and studies carried out by individuals and institutions. A Special Use Permit may not be used to authorize work not specified in the Archaeological Resource Protection Act and Antiquities Act permits. Antiquities Act and Archaeological Resource Protection Act Permits and Special Use Permits are subject to suspension and termination at the discretion of the Regional Director and project leader, as appropriate, for the protection of resources. Restrictions on research activities should be developed jointly by the project leader and the Regional Historic Preservation Officer and attached to a permit, as appropriate.
E. The Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act allows for the intentional removal or excavation of cultural items from Federal lands if done so under the permitting requirements of Section 4 of the Archaeological Resources Protection Act and after formal consultation with the appropriate Indian tribe or Native Hawaiian organization can be documented. The ownership of and control of the disposition of removed or excavated cultural items shall be determined according to requirements found in Section 3 of the Act and its regulations.
F. Detailed procedures on applications for and approval of permits for cultural resource activities may be found in the Cultural Resource Management Handbook. Project leaders should rely on the Regional Historic Preservation Officer for professional guidance and review of permit applications. Refer to 055 FW 5 (or 5 RM 17) for further information on obtaining Special Use Permits.
5.2 Collection and Removal of Artifacts.
A. The collection of items that are considered archaeological resources or objects of antiquity, as defined in 43 CFR Parts 7 and 3, respectively, from Service lands without approval is prohibited. These restrictions apply to Service personnel as well as non-Service individuals. Violations of the Archaeological Resources Protection Act, Antiquities Act, and other legislation are to be documented and reported to the appropriate Service law enforcement personnel for investigation. Pertinent information on the illegal destruction or removal of cultural resources should be entered into the appropriate Service law enforcement information system for tracking.
B. Service employees may collect an artifact only if it is judged that the artifact is in imminent danger of loss by erosion or unauthorized collection. In such cases, the procedures found in the Service's Cultural Resource Management Handbook must be followed.
C. Although paleontological remains, coins, bullets, and unworked minerals and rocks are not considered to be archaeological resources, unless found in a direct physical relationship, their collection or removal from Service lands is covered by the applicable subsections of 50 CFR 27, Subpart F, and other regulations.
D. The collection of "arrowheads" found on the surface of the ground is specifically exempted from the penalty provisions of the Archaeological Resource Protection Act. However, their collection remains illegal and is punishable under other statutes. The theft of government property provisions contained in 50 CFR, Subpart F, may also apply.
E. The search for and removal of treasure, treasure trove, and other valuable materials from Service lands is governed by the requirements found in 50 CFR 27.63, 40 U.S.C. 310, and applicable General Services Administration standards on the management of property. Treasure may be defined as any gold or silver in coin, plate, bullion, or other valuable materials found concealed in the earth or in another private place, but not lying on the ground, whose owner is unknown. Also, items considered as treasure need not be buried in the ground, but may be concealed in crevices and other human-made objects. In some cases, such materials may be associated with an archaeological resource or their removal may affect a historic property. It is important, therefore, that project leaders coordinate their review of applications to search for and recover alleged treasure and other valuable materials purportedly located on Service lands with the Regional Historic Preservation Officer to ensure that the various requirements of 36 CFR 800 and 43 CFR 3 and 7 have been met.