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May 29, 2024 Clouds | 60°F
The 193rd General Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts

Section 26A: State archeologist; duties; reservation of lands from sale; cooperation of governmental agencies

Section 26A. It shall be the duty of the state archeologist to:

(1) Compile and maintain an inventory of historical and archeological sites and specimens, which inventory shall not be a public record.

(2) Conduct surveys and field investigations relative to the recovery and preservation of scientific, historical or archeological information regarding specimens or sites, and analyze and publish said information. In the event that the site being investigated is an American Indian burial site, the survey and investigation shall be conducted in conjunction with the commission on Indian affairs.

(3) Recommend such sites within the commonwealth or its political subdivisions as the state archeologist deems necessary for the protection of historical or archeological resources to be considered for state archeological landmarks or for the execution of preservation or conservation restrictions.

(4) Issue permits for exploration or field investigations of archeological or historical sites pursuant to section twenty-seven C, notifying any applicant for such permit whether the permit has been granted or denied within sixty days from receipt of his application.

(5) Notify the commission on Indian affairs, established pursuant to the provisions of section thirty-eight of chapter seven, the discovery of and existence of an information pertaining to all American Indian burial sites in the commonwealth. Records of such sites shall not be made available to the public.

(6) Conduct, within a reasonable time, site evaluations, including limited subsurface testing, in accordance with generally accepted scientific and archaeological standards, of unmarked, human burial and skeletal remains suspected of being one hundred years old or more upon receiving notification pursuant to section six B of chapter thirty-eight, to determine the nature and extent of the site, and the cultural or biological character of the site and remains.

(7) Arrange for the disposition of non-native, human remains, suspected of being one hundred years old or more after conducting a site evaluation pursuant to paragraph six of section twenty-six A. The state archeologist shall consult with the site's owner and other interested persons to determine whether prudent and feasible alternatives exist to avoid, minimize or mitigate harm to the burial site. The final plan or agreement which shall be in writing, may include provisions for preservation in situ; the conducting of additional scientific and archeological research and investigation; and, with the consent of the site's owner, the execution of a preservation restriction pursuant to section thirty-two of chapter one hundred and eighty-four. If no prudent and feasible alternative is agreed to, the state archeologist or his or her designee may excavate the site and recover the remains in accordance with generally accepted scientific and archeological standards. The state archeologist shall determine whether a skeletal analysis of the remains shall be conducted. If he determines that such analysis shall be made after the completion of the said analysis, the state archeologist shall determine whether the remains shall be deposited in a curatorial facility or reinterred in accordance with the provisions of section forty-three M of chapter one hundred and fourteen. It shall be the responsibility of the person, whose proposed action necessitates the removal of skeletal remains, to conduct and bear the financial costs of said skeletal analysis and reinterment.

The commission by written notice to the state secretary shall recommend the reservation from sale of any land owned by the commonwealth or a political subdivision, including any forfeited to a city or town for the nonpayment of taxes, on which sites or specimens are located or may be found, as designated by the state archeologist; provided, however, that the reservation of such lands from sale shall be confined to the actual location of the site or specimens. When said sites or specimens have been explored, excavated or otherwise examined to the extent desired by the state archeologist he shall file with the state secretary a statement that there is no longer cause for reserving such land from sale.

All agencies of the commonwealth or of any political subdivision thereof shall cooperate fully with the state archeologist in the preservation, protection, excavation and evaluation of specimens and sites.