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Burials at Wupatki

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People were often buried in rooms such as this; consequently, graves and beliefs were inadvertently violated when this site was excavated. The Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Ace of 1990 (NAGPRA), asserts that the present day American Indian tribes affiliated with archaeological sites have rights and beliefs to be protected. This Act helps ensure that decisions about these places reflect the values and wishes of those who were here before.

As tribes exert more control over their heritage, diverse opinions about appropriate treatment of archaeological sites emerge. As an example, most Puebloan groups believe if human creations were made to last forever and not let to die, "the world would get filled up, and the purpose of living would disappear." This philosophy challenges National Park Service mandates to preserve and perpetuate the physical remains of the past.

Look for a doorway filled in with stones. Why would the occupants close off a doorway?

Meghann M. Vance, Northern Arizona University Anthropology Laboratories
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