After Controversy at Rassawek, Bill Would Raise Archeological Standards

Feb 12, 2020


Credit Mallory Noe-Payne / RadioIQ


Alleged misconduct at an archeological site in central Virginia is prompting legislation to create stricter standards for historical digs. 


Two counties in Central Virginia are eyeing a site along the James River to build a water pump. The problem? For centuries the site was home to the Monacan Indian Nation. An archeological firm was hired by the counties to test the area. 

But earlier this Fall an employee with the firm accused the group of using unqualified workers, and of lying to state regulators about what they found there. An internal investigation disputes those allegations. 

Either way, to prevent something like that from happening, Delegate Mike Mullin has introduced legislation that would require a professional archaeologist be responsible for any digs on state owned land. 

“Virginia is the home of hundreds if not thousands of very important historical spaces that are in danger when people who do not know what they’re doing start to dig things up,” said Mullin. 

The water pump project is still waiting on a final permit. The Monacan Indian Nation has threatened to sue if the project goes forward.