NAGPRA Resources

Frequently Asked Questions

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What do I do if I find human remains?

If you believe you have found a burial or human bone, you should contact your local law enforcement agency as soon as possible. A deputy or police officer will be sent to your location to determine if that area is an active crime scene. If the burial or exposed remains are determined to be of a historic or pre-contact age, the county coroner and qualified professionals from the Wisconsin Historical Society can further help to comply with local, state and federal laws.

What to Do if You Find Human Remains in Wisconsin

I might have found a Native American artifact. How can I learn more about it?

Contact UW-Madison’s Curator of Anthropology with details and photographs of your find. She is happy to answer questions and provide additional resources to help you!

Please note that it is illegal to collect artifacts from public lands (that include county, state, and national parks). Please ensure that you have documented approval from the landowner if you collect anything taken from land that you do not own.

What do I do if I want to donate my collection?

If the collection is not eligible for repatriation through NAGPRA law (human remains, funerary objects, sacred objects, or objects of cultural patrimony), contact UW-Madison’s Curator of Anthropology with details about and photographs of the collection. Your request will be reviewed by the Anthropology Collections Committee. If approved, you will be asked to fill out a Deed of Gift Form prior to physical transfer.

If all or part of the collection is eligible for repatriation through NAGPRA law, the UW-Madison’s Campus NAGPRA Coordinator can assist you with contacting the appropriate tribe(s) to facilitate a direct transfer.