NORMAL BURIAL RELOCATION PROCESS FOR PREHISTORIC
INDIAN BURIALS ENCOUNTERED DURING CONSTRUCTION
Prepared by Nick Fielder, State Archaeologist, Tennessee
As of August 1995
1. If discovered during construction or other ground disturbing activity,
report suspected burials to the local police, medical examiner and
Division of Archaeology (DOA) as required by TCA 11-6-107(d). PROVISIONS
FOR SECURITY TO PROTECT GRAVES FROM VANDALISM MUST BE TAKEN.
2. Medical examiner, and State Archaeologist or other professional
archaeologist will visit site to confirm that remains are human burials
and to determine approximate cultural time period. Limits of burial area
should be estimated. Medical examiner an d police will determine if case
has any forensic concerns. If determined as archaeological interest only,
project proceeds as given below. No human remains can be removed from
scene until clearance is obtained from medical examiner and police.
3. Legal counsel for property owner prepares affidavit by State
Archaeologist or other archaeologist as to the facts and observations of
the particular burial site (examples available from DOA).
4. Owner engages the services of a qualified archaeologist that will do
the grave removal. A list is available from DOA.
5. Owner notifies State archaeologist and Native American representatives
of intent to seek termination order pursuant to TCA 11-6-116 and Rule
0400-9-1. Owner should seek agreement with the Tennessee Commission on
Indian Affairs on date and location of reinterment. If an agreement is
reached, date and location should be in termination petition and order.
If agreement is not reached, efforts to do same should be documented.
6. Owner's attorney prepares petition, order of publication, and
preliminary order to chancery court under provisions of TCA 46-4-101 et
seq. (examples available from DOA)
7. Hearing before chancellor.
8. Publication of notice to unknown defendants. Note: If permitted by
judge based on project circumstances, publication of notice may be done
9. Preliminary order prepared by attorney for owner and signed by judge.
10. Certified copy of order is submitted to Ms. Paula Taylor, State
Registrar, Office of Vital Records [(615) 532-2600] to receive a
disinterment permit pursuant to T.C.A. 68-3-508 and Rule 1200-7-1-.08
11. After preliminary order is signed and disinterment permit received,
consultant archaeologists remove graves under general supervision of the
Division of Archaeology. The work is paid for by the owner. The Division
does not conduct the work unless t he site is on state-owned property.
12. After removal is complete, State Archaeologist or other archaeologist
will prepare affidavit on removal. Construction can resume or begin on
13. Skeletal remains and artifacts turned over to Division of Archaeology
for holding pending further orders of the court.
14. Publication of notice to unknown defendants (if not done before
15. Final hearing on location and methods of reinterment
16. Consulting archaeologist prepares report on findings for submission to
17. Osteological and artifact analysis conducted by Division of
Archaeology or consultant archaeologist if warranted.
18. After analysis, skeletal materials and artifacts are reburied in
accord with terms of court order. Any burial artifacts retained by
Division of Archaeology will be repatriated to Indian tribes in accord
with provisions of the federal Native American Grave Protection and
Repatriation Act of 1990.
For further information, please contact Nick Fielder, State Archaeologist
STATE OF TENNESSEE
TENNESSEE DIVISION OF ARCHAEOLOGY
DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENT AND CONSERVATION
5103 Edmondson Pike
Nashville, TN 37211
(615) 741-1588 FAX (615) 741-7329