The following are some frequently asked questions about our Research and Collections Department. Visit our General FAQ and Local Native Culture FAQ pages for more information.
How has NAGPRA affected your collections?
- The Native American Graves Protections and Repatriation Act was passed by Congress on November 16, 1990 and stipulates that any organization receiving federal funding must return Native American funerary and sacred objects to their respective tribes. While IAIS does not regularly receive federal funding, in order to be in compliance with NAGPRA, we have assessed our collections and discovered approximately twelve items that fall under these criteria, including several masks and a pipe. These are items that we have never previously exhibited and we have identified them as being Seneca, Narragansett and several Plains tribes. All tribes have been contacted regarding these items and have agreed to take possession of them. They will remain protected in our vault until tribal representatives have made the necessary arrangements to take them. IAIS is fully compliant with NAGPRA, having met all of the federal regulations.
Why are exact locations of archaeological sites not made public?
- Exact locations of archaeological sites are not made public for a number of reasons. Many sites are found and excavated on private property, so the locations are not revealed in order to protect the rights and privacy of the property owners. In addition, when an archaeological excavation is "closed," there is almost always evidence remaining to be found. Archaeology is an ever-developing field and the future always holds new and exciting discoveries and methods of study. A constant concern is the attention of amateur enthusiasts, who may disturb a site looking for an interesting find, without properly documenting their methods. When this happens, any information that the site may have contained will be destroyed. As such, archaeological sites must be preserved and protected.
How can I find out more about my artifact?
- Several times during the year, IAIS holds Artifact Identification Day, where visitors are encouraged to bring in any of their artifacts for identification by our Director of Research & Collections, Dr. Lucianne Lavin. While Dr. Lavin will do her best to give accurate information, she will be better able to identify specifics about items from the Eastern Woodlands area and cannot appraise your item. Check our calendar of events for the next ID Day. Dr. Lavin is also available for identification on a one-on-one basis for a fee of $50 per hour. To contact Dr. Lavin, call (860)868-0518 ext. 109 or email her.
Can I sell or donate an artifact?
- Like most museums, IAIS has a strict policy against purchasing archaeological/lithics artifacts. If someone wishes to donate an artifact however, our Collections Committee will consider the donation and accession it, if it is deemed to be culturally significant to our collections. We prefer artifacts that have provenience and paperwork, to aid in the authentication by the Committee. For more information contact our Research Department.