Culminating Project Title
Date of Award
Culminating Project Type
Cultural Resources Management Archaeology: M.S.
College of Liberal Arts
Mark P. Muñiz
Rob B. Mann
Sandrine A. Zerbib
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.
Keywords and Subject Headings
survey, looting, cultural resource heritage preservation, archaeology
This research was conducted with the purpose of gathering and analyzing qualitative and quantitative data related to archaeological looting and public opinion regarding archaeology and cultural heritage preservation legislation in Wyoming. Areas of the state in which impacts of looting are most prevalent and the trends in these activities, as well as statewide trends, were identified. Randomly selected residents (n = 2,040) in these areas were then targeted by an anonymous survey, which was implemented with the purpose of assessing public knowledge pertaining to cultural resource legislation and archaeology. The anonymous survey was also distributed to Wyoming Archaeological Society and Wyoming Association of Professional Archaeologists members to serve as a comparison, as knowledge regarding archaeology and cultural resource legislation was expected to be higher amongst these groups.
Despite current and prior preservation efforts, archaeological looting and vandalism remains a prevalent issue within the state of Wyoming. Varying perspectives exist as to why these activities occur; whether or not the public knows of cultural heritage preservation laws; methods that should be employed to reduce looting/vandalism; types of sites that are most impacted by these activities, and general trends over the past 20 years. However, prior to now, no known state-specific research into such trends in these activities and the public’s perceptions and attitudes towards archaeology and cultural resources has been conducted. The research conducted for this thesis provides qualitative and quantitative insight into these activities and public perceptions and can serve as a basis for future research.
The findings indicate a general lack of knowledge pertaining to cultural resource legislation and archaeology amongst the public respondents, which is likely associated with the increased looting activities within the areas in which they reside. However, the majority of the public is generally interested in archaeology and cultural resources and feels that archaeology makes important contributions, which include preserving the past for future generations, providing data for research on past cultures, and educating modern society about other cultures. Concepts of private property rights are directly evident in the results and overall, level of education and age play an important role in respondent knowledge. The most significant outcome of this research is that the knowledge it has provided regarding the public’s attitudes and perceptions related to archaeology and cultural resources can be utilized to key in on specific issues or areas, which can be targeted to influence positive change.
Bradshaw, Kayla M., "Assessing Wyoming’s Public Perceptions and General Attitudes towards Archaeology, And Statewide Trends in Looting" (2016). Culminating Projects in Cultural Resource Management. 6.