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Doing Archaeology in Minnesota









Under MN Statutes 138.31-138.42, licensure through the OSA is required for field archaeology undertaken on all lands or waters owned, leased by or subject to the paramount right of the state or its subdivisions, as well as on lands impacted by publicly-funded development projects. Proposed projects are reviewed to assess the appropriateness of research methodology and to assist in identifying strategies for mitigating potential adverse effects to known cultural resources. Only professional archaeologists meeting the Secretary of the Interior's Standards for Archaeology (36 CFR Part 61) may be licensed to conduct such investigations in the state of Minnesota. [Link to the Secretary of the Interior's proposed Historic Preservation Professional Qualification Standards at A copy of the application form, including terms and conditions for licensure, can be obtained by contacting:

Mark J. Dudzik, State Archaeologist
Fort Snelling History Center
St. Paul, MN 55111-4061
Phone: 651-725-2411
Fax: 651-725-2427

Minnesota's "Private Cemeteries Act" (307.08) affords all human remains and burials older than 50 years, and located outside of platted, recorded or identified cemeteries, protection from unauthorized disturbance; this statute applies to burials on either public or private lands or waters. Authentication of burial sites is conducted under the sole auspices of the OSA per this statute. In the event that a burial is either known or suspected to be associated with American Indian peoples, the OSA works in concert with the Minnesota Indian Affairs Council (MIAC) to ensure the integrity of such burial sites. The OSA maintains a database of identified burial sites in the state.

The Minnesota Indian Affairs Council (MIAC) shares legal responsibility for monitoring and enforcing laws that protect Indian human remains and associated burial items. The MIAC reviews archaeological license applications to conduct fieldwork to determine if a burial or cemetery are within the project area. The authority for the MIAC is contained in Minnesota Statute 138.31 "Field Archaeology Act." For further information contact:

Jim Jones, Jr., Cultural Resource Specialist
1819 Bemidji Avenue
Bemidji, MN 56601
Phone: (218) 755-3825
Fax (218) 755-3739

The principal federal legislation relating to human remains and archaeology is the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act, Public Law 101.601 (NAGPRA). For provisions of this act, see [link to NAGPRA site]



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Updated 29 Jun 1999