Prosecutions of looters under the U.S. Government's Archeological Resources Protection Act (ARPA) have heretofore come in cases involving federal or Indian land, thus limiting applications of the law and questions about both the law and the legal rights of artifact collectors. In this essay we examine the GE Mound case, the first prosecution and conviction of a group of looters under ARPA for interstate transport of artifacts illegally removed from private property. The GE Mound case serves as a textbook on issues that currently confront archaeology. The conflicting interests of archaeologists, looters, other artifact collectors, and Native Americans are illustrated in the legal proceedings and the controversies surrounding the prosecution. We review the proceedings and controversies to establish a factual record for this precedent-setting and politically sensitive case.
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