FBI Nabs Pot Hunters (Archaeology)

Last week, federal agents swooped in on 23 of the 24 people indicted on charges of stealing archaeological artifacts from public land and Indian reservations in the Southwest. But after a 60-year-old physician committed suicide over the weekend, Utah senators are saying the raid was overkill.

The arrests were made following a two-year operation codenamed “Cerberus Action,” after the multi-headed dog in Greek mythology that guards the underworld. The case involves 256 Native American artifacts including woven baskets, pots, sandals, and an ax, which the Federal Bureau of Investigation values at $335,685. Defendants were charged with violations of the Archaeological Resources Protection Act (ARPA), which prohibit the excavation and sale of artifacts from

More at Scientific American


  1. #1 Bodach
    June 17, 2009

    When I was working on digs we hated pot hunters. Grabbing an artifact out of any site minimizes the history and relevance of that piece and makes it just a trophy.
    Certainly not an action worthy of suicide, though, unless his actions were egregious. Want to dig pots? Many archeologists would welcome volunteers.

  2. #2 John Moeller
    June 17, 2009

    The attitude of the residents interviewed in the article is pretty common throughout the whole state. Many people that I know think that it’s acceptable and fun to take these things home.

    Additionally, I don’t trust Hatch or Bennett any farther than I can throw them.

  3. #3 Jadehawk
    June 17, 2009

    my inner archaeologist is screaming “serves them thieves right”

    my inner anti-authoritarian is screaming “overkill!!!”

    I think the inner archaeologist might be winning…

  4. #4 llewelly
    June 21, 2009

    Hatch and Bennett have always behaved as if Utah has unlimited resources – unlimited coal, unlimited gas, unlimited uranium, unlimited petroglyphs, and unlimited pots to steal. These two devoutly believe that everything here on earth is put here for the taking by the strongest takers. Furthermore – as devout Mormons, they have no respect whatever for archaeology, which raises uncomfortable questions about where the Nephites and Lamenites got their horses, elephants, and camels, how they kept them domesticated from 600 BCE to 400 ACE without leaving any evidence, how Lehi and his allies crossed the Pacific Ocean …