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TVA Cultural Resources

Laws Governing Cultural Resources

National Historic Preservation Act (1966)

This act requires review and approval from appropriate authorities for any project, activity, or program that could have an effect on the character or use of archaeological or other historic properties. These include projects, activities, or programs that are on TVA lands, receive financial assistance from TVA, or require TVA permitting, licensing, or approval. Read the text of the NHPA (PDF file). The Advisory Council on Historic Preservation oversees the Section 106 review process, which federal agencies must follow to comply with the NHPA. View Section 106 regulations (PDF file).

Archaeological Resources Protection Act (1979)

This act makes it a crime to dig for or remove archaeological resources from all federal land, including TVA-managed land, without a research permit. Archaeological resources are defined as any material remains of human life or activities that are at least 100 years of age and are of archaeological interest. Read the text of the ARPA (PDF file).

Preserve the Past logoARPA imposes criminal or civil penalties for unauthorized digging or collecting. It also provides rewards of up to $500 for information leading to conviction or civil fine. If you observe the looting or destruction of an archaeological site on TVA land, please report the incident to the TVA Police. TVA and other federal land managing departments have established uniform regulations regarding ARPA.

Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (1990)

NAGPRA places two important responsibilities on federal agencies:

  • It requires federal agencies and museums to inventory Native American human remains, funerary objects, sacred objects and objects of cultural patrimony in their possession and repatriate those items to a lineal descendant or affiliated Native American group.
  • It establishes regulations and procedures for the intentional excavation or inadvertent discovery of Native American remains and associated objects on federal or tribal lands.

Anyone who discovers human remains and associated burial objects on TVA lands or during activities related to a TVA project should contact the TVA Police. Read the text of NAGPRA (PDF file).

Related laws

Abandoned Shipwreck Act of 1987 (PDF file)
Antiquities Act of 1906 (PDF file)
Reservoir Salvage Act of 1960
National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (PDF file)
American Indian Religious Freedom Act of 1978 (PDF file)
Historic Sites Act of 1935 (PDF file)
Archeological and Historic Preservation Act of 1974 (PDF file)
Executive Order 13287: Preserve America (PDF file)

For information on these and other laws and regulations guiding cultural resource management, visit the National Park Service’s Links to the Past.




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