Date of Award


Document Type

Masters Thesis

Degree Name


Organizational Unit

College of Arts Humanities and Social Sciences

First Advisor

Bonnie Clark, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Annabeth Headrick

Third Advisor

Richard Clemmer-Smith

Fourth Advisor

Dean Saitta


Archaeology, Relic hunting, Postcolonial, Site looting


Archaeological relic hunting on public lands in the southwestern United States accelerated with 19th century westward expansion and it continues today. Efforts to curb looting through the passage and enforcement of laws has been only moderately successful. Americans' misunderstandings of archaeology's ethical responsibilities, particularly with regard to Native Americans and other descendant communities, have further undermined historic preservation initiatives. My thesis addresses the usefulness of public, private, and nonprofit site protection efforts in changing the beliefs and behaviors associated with site looting, focusing particularly on the need for collaboration outside the heritage management profession. Using Postcolonialist, materialist, pragmatist, and collaborative theories, this research answers the following research questions: (1) Does archaeological site preservation matter to the public? (2) How can stakeholders' attitudes towards archaeology and site preservation be improved? (3) What is the most effective approach to archaeological site preservation? I investigate four models of site preservation under the headings of Enforcement, Education, Privatization, and Community Archaeology. Through participant observation, semi-structured interviews, surveys, and secondary research, these findings suggest that the most effective methods for protecting our collective past are through community archaeology and education.

Publication Statement

Copyright is held by the author. User is responsible for all copyright compliance.

Rights Holder

Mark Russell Sanders


Received from ProQuest

File Format




File Size

179 p.