THE ARKANSAS BURIAL LAW
Human burials in Arkansas have long been threatened by looting, grave robbing and loss through development activities. Act 753
of 1991 made the desecration of a human grave or the purchase, sale or
bartering of human remains and associated grave goods a Class A
misdemeanor on the first offense, or a Class D felony for subsequent
offenses; in addition, the display of human remains for profit is a
Class B misdemeanor. Furthermore, provisions were made to insure that
the study of human remains be conducted in accordance with standards
contained in A State Plan for the Conservation of Archeological
Resources in Arkansas.
of 1999 amended the penalty for the desecration or trade of human
remains to a Class D felony on the first offense or a Class C felony for
subsequent offenses. The penalty for the display of human remains was
increased to a Class C felony.
The Arkansas Historic Preservation Program now has in place a permit system to enable the legal excavation of human remains by
qualified professional archeologists. In addition, guidelines were
developed, in consultation with the State Archeologist, for archeologists and law enforcement agencies that present the highlights of the Unmarked Graves Act and provide steps to be taken if a violation is detected.