The US needs to do more to preserve its ancient sites


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Elaine Knox

IN OCTOBER, the US Department of Homeland Security made an urgent announcement. New barriers and roads were needed along the Texas-Mexico border – but construction was impeded by federally mandated surveys and permits. These protect the environment and archaeological sites. They also take time to complete. To speed construction, the Biden administration waived compliance with 26 federal laws, eight of which regulate archaeological and/or sacred Indigenous sites.

In 1888, it was looters, not governments, who were barrelling through the past. Anthropologists Alice Fletcher and Matilda Stevenson knew the looters were winning. They proposed legislation to preserve US archaeological sites on…

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