Anti-Looting Reward Fund

$2,500 Reward Offered for Information on Damage or Theft of Archaeological Resources

Friends of Cedar Mesa will pay a reward up to $2,500 for information leading to the successful prosecution (e.g. conviction) of individuals perpetrating acts of looting, vandalism, and desecration of human remains or other serious damage to cultural/archaeological resources on public lands in San Juan County, Utah. The funds for this reward program are provided solely through private contributions to Friends of Cedar Mesa, and the decision whether to disburse the reward funds is the sole discretion of the Friends of Cedar Mesa’s board of directors. To support this reward fund, donate to FCM’s Cultural Resources Defense Campaign, which also supports education and monitoring programs. 


About the Reward

Looting, vandalism and the desecration of burial sites have been long-standing problems in the greater Cedar Mesa area and throughout southeastern Utah. However, recent reports suggest the problem of serious looting is on the rise on public lands in San Juan County. Friends of Cedar Mesa offers this reward to assist law enforcement in identifying, prosecuting, and convicting individuals perpetrating such illegal activities on our public lands. We also hope the existence of the reward will help deter future criminal behavior and reinforce the community norm that we should all work together to prevent damage and theft of cultural resources, which are sacred to many Native American people.


Rock art theft attempt discovered January 2016. Note the use of a rock saw and chisel, which irreparably damaged this 2,000 year-old Basketmaker petroglyph. Photo: J.R. Lancaster

***Header image: Vandalism of a rock art panel in Grand Gulch. Photo courtesy William Doelle, Archaeology Southwest***

Under the Archaeological Resource Protection Act, it is illegal to take, injure, remove, damage, destroy or trade cultural resources found on federal public lands. The Utah State Antiquities Act of 1973 and the Utah Criminal Code provide similar prohibitions for state-owned public lands. Several other laws, including the National Historic Preservation Act, Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act, and the US Antiquities Act provide further legal protections for archaeological/cultural sites. Respect for these laws, American history, and the sacred nature of Native American ancestral sites lie at the heart of the reasoning behind this policy.