Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Challenges to 43 CFR 10.11?

Some museums — including the American Museum of Natural History in New York, the Field Museum in Chicago, Illinois, and the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts — are discussing whether they will challenge the rule. The issue could have the same import as the long legal fight to study the 9,000-year-old Kennewick man skeleton against Native American wishes (see Nature 436, 10; 2005). In 2004, scientists won that court battle, affirming the principle that bones would be returned only to culturally related tribes.

Anthropologists and archaeologists are also gearing up to debate the rule. Discussions have already been scheduled for the annual meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropology, which starts on 14 April in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and the Society for American Archaeology meeting, which begins on the same day in St Louis, Missouri.

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