Archaeologist Pleads Guilty to Artifact Theft

Daniel Amick, an assistant professor at Loyola Chicago pleaded guilty to violating the Archaeological Resources Protection Act after removing 17 prehistoric objects from federal lands in New Mexico. He was sentenced to a year’s probation.

Johna Hutira, vice president of Northland Research and a member of the Society of American Archaeology, said she didn’t feel comfortable commenting on this particular case, but added that these kinds of allegations are troubling for archaeologists. 
“It’s a short jump from a person removing artifacts to wholesale looting,” Hutira said, adding that one of the primary roles of archaeology is the preservation of historically significant artifacts that offer insights into early civilizations. 
In general, “if you want to go collect information, you need to get an archaeological permit,” Hutira said. “If it’s federal lands, you have to play by federal rules.” 
Amick’s attorney asserted that the professor’s decisions were driven by academic pursuit. And had Amick applied for a research permit, he would have been granted one, his attorney said.
Amick is one of two archaeologists on staff at Loyola’s anthropology department. 
According to the Loyola website, he received his Ph.D. from the University of New Mexico in 1994. Amick teaches introductory anthropology courses, including Anthropology 101, as well as more advanced classes such as Archaeology Lab Methods.
  1. Erin Meyer, Artifacts stolen: Loyola professor pleads guilty to robbing archaeological site, Chicago Tribune, March 1, 2011, http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/ct-met-loyola-guilty-0302-20110301,0,7965373.story (last visited Mar 8, 2011).
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