Saturday, June 27, 2009

Utah Looters' Arrest -- A Long Time Coming

It does not seem to have been noticed that at least one of the gang charged recently with violating ARPA by stealing or trafficking in Native American artifacts has been associated with the issue since the mid 1980s. Harold J. Lyman, now 78 (and a recent inductee into the Utah Tourism Hall of Fame for having "helped establish the 'Trail of the Ancients,' a scenic byway taking motorists past Indian cites in Utah and Colorado", was interviewed back in 1986 by Carol A. Bassett for an article in Science magazine about looting in the area (Science 86, July-August 1986, 22-29; the relevant passage can be found in  Archaeology, Relics, and the Law, ed. Richard B. Cunningham). Bassett quoted Lyman as an observer who reported that "because of the increased attention over the past year, enforcement has gone up dramatically. Folks are lying low now, but when the heat is off, looting will go up again." I guess he knew what he was talking about.