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Thursday, May 16 • 3:30pm - 4:00pm
05. Conservation and NAGPRA: Ongoing Developments and Suggestions

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The Arizona State Museum (ASM) has a long history with repatriation projects and strives to act in accordance with the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA). Since the 1980s, ASM has had an ongoing and active program to engage with tribes throughout the American Southwest. Repatriation projects at the ASM involve the collaboration of many staff members within the museum, including conservation, the archaeology repository, physical anthropology, and the repatriation coordinator. This group works with each other through regular meetings and constant communication to develop the final reports that are submitted. Representatives from numerous federal and state agencies along with tribal representatives are typically involved in many repatriation transactions. During a recent project, a scientist was funded by a NAGPRA grant to contribute to the conservation laboratory in examining each object, non-destructively testing for the presence of potentially hazardous pesticides or treatments, and packing the human remains and associated belongings in natural materials for transport. In addition, a tribal member student intern was selected by Tohono O’odham Nation to assist in conservation activities. The ASM Conservation Lab seeks to go beyond simple adherence to the law of repatriation (minimal documentation). The conservation team works together to examine, report on, and document the condition history of each object—including post excavation or curatorial changes to the items, any treatments including pesticide or adhesive applications, and the presence of various labels or marks. This poster presents how the inclusion of a scientist in completing the conservation documentation for a repatriation, though different from traditional scientific laboratory work, is valuable to the repatriation process. The deliberate broadening of individuals involved in a repatriation project is one way in which the conservation team at the ASM seeks to better fulfill their portion of the repatriation process.

avatar for Catherine Cooper

Catherine Cooper

Research Scientist, National Center for Preservation Technology and Training
Catherine Cooper, PhD, is the Technical Services Research Associate at NCPTT.  She is fascinated by the application of scientific analyses to understanding materials and the people who made them. She earned her PhD in Archaeological Science at the University of British Columbia where... Read More →

avatar for Dr. Nancy Odegaard

Dr. Nancy Odegaard

Conservator, Head of Preservation Division, Arizona State Museum; Professor, Department of Materials Science & Engineering, School of Anthropology, American Indian Studies GIDP, University of Arizona, University of Arizona
Nancy Odegaard is the Head of the Preservation Division at the Arizona State Museum on the campus of the University of Arizona in Tucson where she is also a professor with the Department of Material Science & Engineering, the School of Anthropology, and the Drachman Institute (historic... Read More →
avatar for Gina Marie Watkinson

Gina Marie Watkinson

Conservation Lab Manager, Arizona State Museum, University of Arizona

Thursday May 16, 2019 3:30pm - 4:00pm EDT
Uncas Ballroom Foyer Sky Convention Center, Mohegan Sun