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Archaeology and Autonomies: The Legal Framework of Heritage Management in a New Bolivia

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  15 December 2011

Donna Yates
Department of Archaeology, University of Cambridge. Email:


The 2009 Bolivian Constitution significantly changed the structure of the state and paved the way for the creation of regional, local, and even indigenous autonomies. These autonomies are charged with the management of archaeological sites and museums within their territory. This article answers the question of who currently owns the Bolivian past, it stems from concerns raised at the 2011 renewal hearing of the Memorandum of Understanding preventing the import of illicit Bolivian antiquities into the United States. By combining an analysis of recent legal changes related to the creation of the autonomies and a short discussion of a notable case study of local management of a Bolivian archaeological site, this article offers a basic summary of the legal framework in which Bolivian archaeology and heritage management functions and some preliminary recommendations for governments and professionals wishing to work with Bolivian authorities at the state and local level.

Research Article
Copyright © International Cultural Property Society 2011

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