Utah Administrative Code

The Utah Administrative Code is the body of all effective administrative rules as compiled and organized by the Division of Administrative Rules (see Subsection 63G-3-102(5); see also Sections 63G-3-701 and 702).

NOTE: For a list of rules that have been made effective since January 1, 2020, please see the codification segue page.

NOTE TO RULEFILING AGENCIES: Use the RTF version for submitting rule changes.

R455. Heritage and Arts, History.

Rule R455-4. Ancient Human Remains.

As in effect on January 1, 2020

Table of Contents

R455-4-1. General Authority.

Section 9-8-309 defines the Antiquities Section's duties with respect to recovery, disposition, and determination of ownership of ancient human remains found on nonfederal lands that are not state lands in the State of Utah.

R455-4-2. Purpose.

The primary purpose of the 9-8-309 and this rule is to assure that ancient human remains are given respectful, lawful, and scientifically-sound treatment, that landowners are not harmed or burdened by a discovery of ancient human remains on their property, and to ensure that steps are taken to determine lawful ownership of recovered remains.

R455-4-3. Definitions.

A. "Antiquities Section" means the Antiquities Section of the Division of State History.

B. "ancient" means one-hundred years of age or older.

C. "Native American" means of or relating to a tribe, people, or culture that is indigenous to the United States.

D. "human remains" means all or part of a physical individual, in any stage of decomposition, and objects on or in association with the physical individual that were placed there as part of the death rite or ceremony of a culture.

E. "nonfederal land" includes land owned or controlled by the state, a county, city, or town, an Indian tribe, if the land is not held in trust by the United States for the Indian tribe or the Indian tribe's members, a person other than the federal government; or school and institutional trust lands as defined in Section 53C-1-103.

F. "state land" means any land owned by the state including the state's legislative and judicial branches, departments, divisions, agencies, boards, commissions, councils, and committees, institutions of higher education as defined under Section 53B-3-102. "State land" does not include land owned by a political subdivision of the state, land owned by a school district; private land, school and institutional trust lands as defined in Section 53C-1-103.

G. "excavate" means the scientific disturbance or removal of surface or subsurface archaeological resources by qualified archaeologists in compliance with Title 9, Chapter 8, Part 3, Antiquities.

H. "Director" means the Director of the Utah Division of State History.

I. "local law enforcement agency" means the police department, sheriff's office, or other agency having jurisdiction.

R455-4-4. Response to Notification of a Discovery of Ancient Human Remains.

Human remains that are discovered in conjunction with a project or undertaking subject to Chapter 8, part 4 Historic Sites, or Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act, are the responsibility of the project proponents, not the Antiquities Section. The Antiquities Section may however advise, assist and cooperate with responsible agencies in meeting their obligations regarding ancient human remains. For ancient human remains recovered as part of a compliance project from lands covered by 9-8-309, the Antiquities Section will, following appropriate analyses, and if asked, assume the role of the landowner for purposes of determination of ownership as per 9-9-403(8).

Upon notification that ancient human remains have been discovered, the Antiquities Section will gather information and consult as necessary with affected agencies and individuals and within two business days determine a course of action with approval of the landowner(leave remains in place or excavate and remove remains) and notify the affected agencies and individuals of the decision.

R455-4-5. Excavation and Removal of Ancient Human Remains.

If the landowner grants permission for excavation and removal, the Antiquities Section or its agent will conduct respectful and scientifically-sound investigations of the remains and will remove from the site the remains within five days of receiving permission to excavate. The Antiquities Section may establish a perimeter around the area of the remains for the protection of staff and the remains. Only Antiquities Section personnel and those individuals with permission from the Antiquities Section will be allowed into the area surrounding the remains until the excavation is completed. If agreed to by the landowner, an alternative agreement may be reached (as provided for in 9-8-309(3)). If extraordinary circumstances (as defined in 9-8-309(1)(c)(i) exist or arise requiring a time extension, the Antiquities Section will notify the landowner immediately.

If the landowner does not grant permission to excavate and remove the ancient human remains, the Antiquities Section will inform the landowner of the legal restrictions regarding human remains as specified in UCA 76-9-704.

Excavated human remains will be examined. Those determined to be Native American will be subject to Chapter 9, Part 4, Native American Grave Protection and Repatriation Act. For the purposes of determining ownership under the act, for all remains excavated under the provisions of this part by the Antiquities Section, the Section will serve in the capacity of the landowner and will make lineal descent and cultural affiliation ownership determinations in consultation with the Division of Indian Affairs and allowing interested individuals and tribes to assert claims of ownership.


ancient human remains, archaeology

Date of Enactment or Last Substantive Amendment

November 9, 2012

Notice of Continuation

May 5, 2016

Authorizing, Implemented, or Interpreted Law

9-8-309; 9-8-403; 76-9-704

Additional Information


For questions regarding the content or application of rules under Title R455, please contact the promulgating agency (Heritage and Arts, History). A list of agencies with links to their homepages is available at http://www.utah.gov/government/agencylist.html or from http://www.rules.utah.gov/contact/agencycontacts.htm.