, 66, chair of Loyola’s Anthropology Department
, will serve a year’s probation and has agreed to return the artifacts as part of a plea agreement with the U.S. Attorney’s Office in New Mexico. Here are the details from a press release from the U.S. Attorney’s office: plea agreement
There is no information yet on whether the university will take disciplinary action.
A Loyola University Chicago
professor will serve a year’s probation for his part in a scheme to plunder artifacts from an archaeological site in New Mexico, the U.S. attorney’s office there said in a statement Tuesday.
Daniel Amick pleaded guilty Friday to violating the Archaeological Resources Protection Act, admitting to removing 17 artifacts, including arrowheads, from public lands on two field trips to New Mexico, according to the statement by Kenneth Gonzales, U.S. attorney for the District of New Mexico.
As part of the agreement, Amick pledged to return the artifacts and help investigators track down others still missing in a long-term scheme under investigation by the Bureau of Land Management. If Amick adheres to the terms of his probation, the judge in the case has agreed to drop the charge, Amick’s attorney said.
“The judge is saying that Dr. Amick made a mistake. Because it was associated with research … he agreed to drop the charges,” federal criminal defense attorney Douglas McNabb said. “He won’t have a record.”
Amick could not be reached for comment, and Loyola communications manager Steve Christensen said the university does not comment on employee matters.
The U.S. attorney’s office in New Mexico declined to give details about the other men implicated in the investigation, but they were identified in court documents as Scott Clendenin and Donald Musser. Clendenin, an arrowhead hunter who lived in Truth or Consequences, N.M., made regular trips to Jornada Del Muerto, a long stretch of desert where Spanish settlers died fleeing the Pueblo Revolt in the 17th century, the documents said.
Clendenin would document the location of any artifact he found using a GPS device and then pocket it, court documents alleged. Periodically, Clendenin allegedly would pass the information to Amick, who was researching arrowheads known to archaeologists as Folsom and Clovis points.
According to court documents, Clendenin is believed to have harvested thousands of prehistoric arrowheads, some of which he sold on eBay. Musser’s alleged involvement was not described in the documents.
Johna Hutira, vice president of Northland Research and a member of the Society of American Archaeology, said she didn’t feel comfortable commenting on this particular case, but added that these kinds of allegations are troubling for archaeologists.
“It’s a short jump from a person removing artifacts to wholesale looting,” Hutira said, adding that one of the primary roles of archaeology is the preservation of historically significant artifacts that offer insights into early civilizations.
In general, “if you want to go collect information, you need to get an archaeological permit,” Hutira said. “If it’s federal lands, you have to play by federal rules.”
Amick’s attorney asserted that the professor’s decisions were driven by academic pursuit. And had Amick applied for a research permit, he would have been granted one, his attorney said.
Amick is one of two archaeologists on staff at Loyola’s anthropology department.
According to the Loyola website, he received his Ph.D. from the University of New Mexico in 1994. Amick teaches introductory anthropology courses, including Anthropology 101, as well as more advanced classes such as Archaeology Lab Methods.
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