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Archaeology, Cultural Heritage, and the Antiquities

Neil Brodie, Morag M. Kersel, Christina Luke, and Kathryn Walker Tubb

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780813029726

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9780813029726.001.0001

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(p.326) Appendix B. Archaeologist's Responsibilities Checklist

(p.326) Appendix B. Archaeologist's Responsibilities Checklist

Investigative Protocol Involving Archaeological Resources

Archaeology, Cultural Heritage, and the Antiquities Trade
University Press of Florida

Remember: The timeliness of your response is crucial. Law enforcement officers must protect the crime scene until your arrival. Be sure that you and the investigator understand one another's responsibilities. Your work contributes toward a successful prosecution. Your aim is to describe the vandalism to or theft of archaeological resources in a written report and place a monetary value on stolen artifacts or the cost of restoring or repairing the site. Help process the crime scene by diagramming and photographing it, carefully obtaining physical evidence, and labeling and packaging evidence or instruments of the crime.

  1. 1. If contacted by a law enforcement officer

    1. 1a. Ascertain the facts (who, what, when, where):

    2. 1b. Obtain a description of the crime scene and advise the investigator of the need to process it using archaeological techniques (and explain applicable techniques):

    3. 1c. In consultation with the investigator, clarify the archaeological role:

  2. 2. Clarify applicable laws

    1. 2a. Identify applicable state or national laws:

    2. 2b. Ascertain if the suspect had appropriate permits:

  3. 3. At the crime scene

    (Through discussion with the investigator, determine what you are allowed to do at the crime scene. Ascertain any hazards to performing the damage assessment. Help the investigator identify evidence.)

    1. 3a. Bring the following, if available, and ask whether officers can arrange to videotape the scene.

      1. 3a1. Camera:

      2. 3a2. Trowel:

      3. 3a3. Rigid trays of cardboard or plastic (if human remains):

      4. 3a4. Twine:

      5. 3a5. Tape measure:

      6. 3a6. Folding measures:

      7. 3a7. Photographic scale:

      8. 3a8. Compass:

      9. 3a9. Graph paper:

      10. 3a10. Bags (both paper and plastic):

      11. (p.327) 3a11. Gloves:

      12. 3a12. Shovel:

    2. 3b. Ask the investigator's instructions on labeling evidence:

    3. 3c. Ascertain where the evidence will be stored and in whose custody:

    4. 3d. If evidence is to be examined, stored, or otherwise retained by a museum or by you, obtain a clear list of guidelines pertaining to security of evidence and chain-of-custody controls and create a log showing entries each time the evidence is handled:

  4. 4. Post-incident analysis

    1. 4a. Identify and contact museum experts, as necessary, to evaluate artifacts:

    2. 4b. Ascertain the deadline for submitting your report:

    3. 4c. Maintain continual contact with the prosecutor to monitor developments and court dates:

    4. 4d. Verify existence and validity of permits:

    5. 4e. Write a narrative report including the following components:

      1. 4e1. Abstract or summary:

      2. 4e2. Chronological account of your involvement:

      3. 4e3. Drawings, photos, maps:

      4. 4e4. Significance/context of site:

      5. 4e5. Applicable archaeological principles and methods:

      6. 4e6. Description of damage to site:

      7. 4e7. Description and estimated cost of site restoration/repair:

      8. 4e8. Description and estimated commercial value of artifacts:

      9. 4e9. Description of any conversation with suspects:

      10. 4e10. Conclusion (what was learned):

(Remember that if you fail to include a fact in the report, then it does not exist.)