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The Archaeological and Historic Preservation Act is Waived for Border Wall

Widespread destruction of archaeological sites, a common result of federally funded projects during the 20th century, was the impetus for passing the Archaeological and Historic Preservation Act (AHPA) of 1974. Archaeologists felt that an amendment was needed to the Reservoir Salvage Act (RSA) of 1960 that required all federal agencies to be alert to archeological data or sites that their projects might inadvertently damage or destroy. This amendment became the AHPA; it directs government agencies to either recover lost data or pay the National Park Service to do so. The AHPA requires that significant scientific, prehistoric, historic, and archaeological materials be preserved, rather than lost or destroyed due to flooding, road building, or any other federally funded activity.

After the AHPA was passed, federal agencies like the United States Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, and Bureau of Reclamation hired archaeologists to help them locate and protect archaeological sites and associated data. These agencies were also authorized by the AHPA to fund archaeological investigations or activities that would mitigate the impacts of their projects on the relics of our ancient past.

Waiving the AHPA means that any archaeological sites, materials, or data located in the vicinity of the border wall will no longer be protected. Archaeologists will not need to be consulted about where it is safe to excavate or how to protect valuable artifacts that might be unearthed, damaged, or destroyed during wall construction. The result—the archaeological history of our borderlands may be irretrievably damaged. Click here for a list of all 48 federal laws waived for the border wall.

Please contact your U.S. Senators and Representatives ( and let them know that you oppose waiving The Archaeological and Historic Preservation Act to expedite construction of a border wall. Click here if you would like to make a donation to help us fight the border wall.

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