Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Self-taught archaeologist has life's work impounded


PIERRE-- A Fort Pierre man who pleaded guilty in federal court to trafficking in archaeological resources has been sentenced to eight months in federal prison.

KCCR says 61-year-old Scott Matteson will be on supervised release for three years following his prison term.

Matteson was accused of illegally taking and trading American Indian artifacts and old military items dug up on public land and Indian land along the Missouri River.

Court documents say the items ranged from stone tools to cannon balls.

From the Rapid City Journal:

Sentencing is scheduled Sept. 13 for a Fort Pierre man who pleaded guilty in federal court to trafficking in archaeological resources.

Sixty-one-year-old Scott Matteson faces a maximum prison sentence of five years.

He was among five men charged in a federal indictment with illegal taking and trading of American Indian artifacts and old military items dug up on public land and Indian land along the Missouri River. The other four defendants also pleaded guilty in plea agreements with prosecutors.

I've known Roy the Boy (that's what Kris called him when she introduced us in the old house in Brookings) for thirtysome years. He's a Peckerville boy. His dad gave him a collection of pre-settlement artifacts, some from long before the Archaic Period. Stone hammers, atlatl points, some arrowheads, all of which collected within the provisions of the Antiquities Act. It stoked a great curiosity in Roy.

He walked countless cornfields and pastures with permission throughout South Dakota and the United States. His collection swelled and his archaeological knowledge grew vast enough to consider becoming a doctoral candidate; an authority on the anthropology of the Clovis People he believes that the history of humans in the New World is far older than many university-trained scientists do.

Then he traded for some artifacts not knowing that they had been gathered on public ground by a person being watched by Federal officers. Roy's life's work has been impounded and may never be seen by human eyes again. He has never made a dime from it and if he fights his charges in Federal court, he will lose his opus to lawyers anyway. So he copped a plea.


Thad Wasson said...

What happens to the artifacts? Museum? Returned? Reburied?

larry kurtz said...

Roy didn't know when I talked to him on the phone, Thad.

Douglas said...

Thieves in uniform... We had a 500 gallon propane tank stolen. A local coop employee recognized it and told us where it was. The local sheriff dinked around for days because there was a federal holiday intervening.

Finally they got around to getting the propane tank. Then they put it in the county yard to hold for evidence. They never prosecuted the thief. The never returned the propane tank. Then Tripp County tried to sell it as surplus property on their annual sale.

A neighbor says his experience indicates you MUST get receipts for EVERYTHING taken as evidence by law enforcement or you may never see it again.

larry kurtz said...

Update, 12/21/14: Roy spent eight months in jail because of his conviction for guns confiscated because of proximity to cannabis, but his collection was returned to him. His business is Fort Pierre Rock Shop.

He confirmed most of my own research: that the ancestors of the Chacoans traversed Red Pass in Idaho allowing migration from the Columbia and Snake Rivers, that the Clovis People who moved between the Cordilleran and Wisconsin glaciers were likely from northern Eurasia then met the Solutreans at Santa Fe having come up the Rio Grande and met others coming up the Colorado from the Pacific Coast.

He is convinced that humans (probably the Solutreans) came across the Atlantic from Africa at least 45,000 years ago to South America at a time when islands were exposed on the Rift because the volume of water was tied up in the ice Clovis People used to walk and boat to North America.

Most of the evidence is buried by water on the Continental shelves and in harbors.