State Statutes on Protecting Ancient Human Remains

Statutes

263B.7 Ancient remains. The state archaeologist has the primary responsibility for investigating, preserving and reinterring discoveries of ancient human remains. For the purposes of this section ancient human remains shall be those remains found within the state which are more than one hundred fifty years old. The state archaeologist shall make arrangements for the services of a forensic osteologist in studying and interpreting ancient burials and may designate other qualified archaeologists to assist the state archaeologist in recovering physical and cultural information about the ancient burials. The state archaeologist shall file with the Iowa Department of Public Health a written report containing both physical and cultural information regarding the remains at the conclusion of each investigation.

263B.8 Cemetery for ancient remains. The state archaeologist shall establish, with the approval of the executive council [Governor, Secretary of State, State Auditor, State Treasurer, Secretary of Agriculture], a cemetery on existing state lands for the reburial of ancient human remains found in the state. The cemetery shall not be open to the public. The state archaeologist in co-operation with the department of natural resources shall be responsible for co-ordinating interment in the cemetery.

263B.9 Authority to deny permission to disinter human remains. The state archaeologist shall have the authority to deny permission to disinter human remains that the state archaeologist determines have state and national significance from an historical or scientific standpoint for the inspiration and benefit of the people of the United States.

716.5 Criminal mischief in the third degree. A person commits criminal mischief in the third degree [aggravated misdemeanor] who does either of the following: 1. Intentionally disinters human remains from a burial site without lawful authority. 2. Intentionally disinters human remains that have state and national significance from an historical or scientific standpoint for the inspiration and benefit of the United States without the permission of the state archaeologist.

5231.316(6) Discovery of Human Remains. Any person discovering human remains shall notify the county or state medical examiner or a city, county, or state law enforcement agency as soon as is resonably possible unless the person knows or has good reason to believe that such notice has already been given or the discovery occurs in a cemetery. If there is reason to believe that interment may have occurred more than one hundred fifty years earlier, the governmental subdivision notified shall also notify the state archaeologist. A person who does not provide notice required pursuant to this subsection commits a serious misdemeanor.

Iowa Administrative Code
Ancient Human Skeletal Remains

685-11.1 Procedures. OSA is the appropriate agency to contact regarding the discovery of human physical remains or suspected human physical remains believed to be over 150 years old. The OSA should be notified of the location of areas believed to represent ancient burial grounds. The director has the authority to deny permission to disinter human physical remains from aboriginal ossuaries, grave sites, cemeteries or any other archaeological deposit that are determined to have state and national significance from the standpoint of history or science.

11.1(4) The OSA shall maintain records of all known or suspected ancient burial sites in the state. The OSA has the authority to co-ordinate activities pertaining to ancient burial grounds in order to foster their protection and preservation.

Text last updated on February 19, 2015