Cultural Heritage Legislation in the
Republic of the Marshall Islands
compiled by Dirk H.R. Spennemann

This compilation is made at the best of the compiler's knowledge. Nothing in this compilation shall be construed as representing a legally binding version of the historic preservation legislation. Users are herewith directed to verify the text and provisions with the most current version of the Code of the Marshall Islands.

Historic Overview (D.Spennemann)

Language Commission Act 1983

National Archives Act 1989

Environmental Protection Authority. Earthmoving Regulations 1989

Nitijela resolution No 100 (1991)
To provide for the preservation of the cultural and historic heritage of the Republic of the Marshall Islands

Historic Preservation Act of 1991

Regulations Passed Pursuant to the Historic Preservation Act of 1991
At its meeting on January 16, 1992, the Cabinet of the Republic of the Marshall Islands (R.M.I.) approved a series of five regulations which have been promulgated in accordance with the Historic Preservation Act of 1991

Regulations Governing Land Modification Activities 1991
The regulations require every developer, private of corporate, to announce any construction affecting the soil at least 30 days in advance of construction. Notifiable activities include any kind of earthmoving and land fill as well as land and vegetation clearing using machinery. HPO staff, or qualified personnel employed to do so by the developer, will then conduct a survey to determine whether archaeological, historical or traditional sites are present or not. If such sites are found, and if the HPO deems the sites significant for preserving the heritage of the R.M.I., the HPO may recommend that the development be relocated. If this is not feasible, an excavation must be undertaken in order to recover most of the data contained in the site. Thereafter the development can begin. The costs for application processing, survey, excavation, and data analysis will be borne by the developer. Undue hardship can be claimed if the development is for a private dwelling or a small restaurant. In such cases the HPO will undertake the survey and excavations and will bear the costs. Provisions against violations allow for a fine of $10,000 per day and authorise the confiscation of all equipment used if the activity was conducted wit the purpose to destroy or impair the site or to evade the provisions of the regulations. If a site is destroyed, or severely impaired to avoid the mitigation process, the Historic Preservation Act further allows for a fine to be imposed equivalent of the cost of a complete data recovery and study exercise.
Regulations Governing The Taking And Export Of Artifacts 1991
The cultural and historic resources of the Republic, including submerged resources form a fragile, finite and unrenewable resource of the cultural heritage of the Republic in need of preservation and proper management. Any export of artefacts would seriously diminish the cultural and historic resources of the Republic. The regulations prohibit the export of all such artefacts found on, at or in archaeological sites. Also prohibited are the export of items of traditional material culture and historical item over forty years old, as well as any item the retention of which is considered to be in the national interest of the R.M.I.. Artefacts may be sent overseas for identification and dating or restoration purposes and may be loaned to overseas institutions upon approval by the R.M.I. Advisory Council on Historic Preservation.
Regulations Governing The Disposition Of Archaeologically Recovered
Human Remains 1991
Human remains are frequently found during earthmoving activities, during excavations and as a result of coastal erosion. The regulations stipulate that burials shall not be disturbed wilfully, unless permission has been given according to the Historic Preservation Act (1991) and other executing regulations. If human remains are found, then these shall be examined and described, and thereafter be reburied at the earliest possible moment. The intent of the regulations is to ensure that human remains are treated with the dignity and respect they deserve, and that it shall be avoided that human remains are permanently stored on the shelves of museums or other institutions
Regulations Governing The Conduct Of Archaeological And Anthropological
Research In The Republic 1991
The regulations provide for two sets of standards: one with respect to those archaeologists, anthropologists, historians, and architects/architectural historians on the staff of the R.M.I. HPO; and the other relating to standards for the conduct of archaeological and anthropological research by persons other than those employed by the HPO. Persons desiring to accept archaeological or anthropological contracts deriving from the Regulations Governing Land Modification Activities (see abov), need to be licensed by the R.M.I. Historic Preservation Office
Regulations Governing Access To Prehistoric And Historic Submerged Resources 1991
The purpose of these regulations is to ensure that persons diving on submerged resources have an appreciation of the importance of these resources for the heritage of the R.M.I. and understand that the latter are in need of protection. Notwithstanding actual ownership of these resources, which varies depending on their location, any person wishing to visit submerged cultural or historical resources must apply for a permit by the HPO. This permit will be given following an audio-visual instruction on the implications of the Historic Preservation Act and an instruction on proper behaviour in respect to these resources

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World War II

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