rearranges the layers and can destroy the meaning of the
evidence. It is somewhat like a murder mystery: in order to
solve the crime you have to know exactly when and where it was
committed, and you only want to find one set of fingerprints on
the gun! Every time a site is disturbed, some evidence is lost.
So the most useful site, the one that can answer the most
questions about the past, is the one that has been least
disturbed. Fortunately, technology is constantly being improved
to allow archeologists to gather information by non-intrusive
means, without digging into the site. For instance, remote
sensing techniques such as ultra-sound and x-ray can often create
a picture of what is inside the ground much as they help to see
inside the human body.
Artifacts, as well as field notes and other items obtained
from salvage of an archeological site on Navy land, are Federal
property. The Navy is responsible for their preservation.
Standards and procedures for the curation of these materials have
been developed by the Secretary of the Interior and are found in
36 CFR 79.
6.5 UNDERWATER ARCHEOLOGY. Not all archeological sites are in
the ground. Some, like shipwrecks or old coastal town sites or
industrial sites that have slid into the water, are under water.
These sites also are protected.
6.6 BURIAL SITES. Archeological sites that contain human remains
must be treated with special care and respect. Any human
remains, along with any objects found with them, that are
discovered on Navy land are legally the property of the Indian
tribe or other Native American group with which they were
associated. They must be properly cared for by the Navy and, if
requested, returned to their cultural group. Navy policy is to
follow the guidance of the Secretary of the Interior in dealing
with Native American human remains and associated funerary
objects. In November 1990, Congress passed the Native American
Grave Protection and Repatriation Act (PL 101-601) specifically
to address the issue of ownership and control of such objects.
The SHPO can usually be of assistance in identifying appropriate
Native American contacts in these situations.