Montana SHPO letter concerning "Diggers: Montana Juice" episode

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The Montana State Historic Preservation Office notifies the legal counsel of the Department of Corrections concernig the illegal activity portrayed on The National Geographic Channel episode "Diggers: Montana Juice" aired on the television show "Diggers" currently in the National Geographic Channel LIne-up. Metal detectors removed materials from a publically held historic site which is in violation of State Statute MCA 22:3-432, -442.

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Montana SHPO letter concerning "Diggers: Montana Juice" episode

  1. 1. Historic PIeserual/onBigSky. Big Land. Big History. MusrulIIMontana Olltreadl & Infopre/alioll Publ£cat iOllsHistorical Society Research CenterMarch 6, 2012Diana Koch, Chief Legal CounselDepartment of Corrections5 S. Last Chance GulchHelena MT 59620Counselor Koch:As you know the State Historic Preservation Office has received dozens of inquires and expressions ofconcern regarding the TV show Diggers: Montana Juice episode on the National Geographic Channelwhich first aired February 28, 2012. A partial list of relevant contacts is ccd below.As we explained when we communicated with you that morning, after we confirmed with Correctionsthat the Department was unaware of the activity (digging up artifacts from the National Register ListedState-owned Heritage Property: the Old Territorial Prison) we requested National Geographic ChannelsTV Senior Vice President Chris Albert of to stop the showing since it depicted a violation of state statue(MCA 22-3-432, - 442). Mr. Albert refused to stop the showing stating they had permission from thelease holder. That permission however does not change the requirements for a State Antiquities Permit .We continue to be concerned that: 1) a violation of state law has occurred, 2) that violation has beenportrayed on national television projecting a disparaging image of the states concern for its HeritageProperties, and 3) that portrayal under the National Geographic banner will encourage similarunpermitted activities.Given the activity depicted in Diggers occurred on state-owned land and was done at the invitation ofthe D partment of Corrections lease holder we respectfully request you inform us of the DepartmentsSi »~ 1action to date as well as the future decisions regarding this violation of state law. Iy,Mark aZ.~I,SHPO Stan Wilmoth, Ph .D., State ArchaeologistCC: Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America National Association of State Archaeologists Advanced Metal Detecting for the Archaeologist Montana Archaeological Society Frison Institute 225 North Roberls Street National Geographic Channel P. O. Box 201201Cc Governors Office Helena, MT 59620-1201 (406) 444-2 6 94 (406) 444-2696 fAX III 0 nta na historicalsociety.org

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