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Finding Mammoth Ivory Tusks

Mar 23, 2008
Alaska is one of two main sources for locating the the extinct woolly mammoth and ivory tusks. Although excavating mammoth ivory in general is not illegal, it is illegal to excavate mammoth ivory or anything else to be associated with any part of an official archaeological site sitting on public lands.

It is not illegal to find mammoth ivory, not connected with any archaeological excavation and on private land, and legally excavate the mammoth ivory if permission of the land owner for removal is given.

Commercial harvesting of mammoth ivory hampers archaeological excavation, but to those looking only for the mammoth ivory for profit take other means.

Alaska is one of two main sources for locating the the extinct woolly mammoth and ivory tusks. The other country is Siberia, and with the two countries, the struggle is getting deeper between archaeologists and those excavating specifically for the exquisite natural material of mammoth ivory tusks.

With mammoth being the chosen ivory for creating some of the most beautiful ivory art throughout time, it is also one of the only legal ivory allowed because of elephants being banned, the importance of this ivory is at its height. Although excavating mammoth ivory in general is not illegal, it is illegal to excavate mammoth ivory or anything else to be associated with any part of an official archaeological site sitting on public lands.

With the growing popularity of the mammoth ivory trade market, Alaska had no choice but to pass the Archaeological Resources Protection Act which states specifically that "it is illegal to excavate, damage, remove, sell, or transport any archaeological resource located on federal public lands", and now extended to non-federal lands if it is an item or items from the archaeological excavation site its self. It is not illegal to find mammoth ivory, not connected with any archaeological excavation and on private land, and legally excavate the mammoth ivory if permission of the land owner for removal is given.

Even with the importance of Archeology, ( the study of past human cultures ), and the heavy laws now enforced to protect Alaska's only way to detail the land and human history. These interstate commerce traders are not stopping with the mammoth though, they are also illegally mining these sites for old walrus ivory and bone along with whale. The mammoth, walrus and whale are to serve as raw material for making ivory jewelry, scrimshaw, and carvings. But most of the excavations are done legally and mammoth ivory is legal worldwide.

Commercial harvesting of mammoth ivory hampers archaeological excavation, but to those looking only for the mammoth ivory for profit take other means. Since any type of legal or illegal mammoth ivory excavation takes lots of time and money to finance when started from beginning to end, these poachers that take from the illegal sites are saving the overall financial costs of the initial dig and then prospering from selling the findings of mammoth ivory its self. It is a growing problem for the government of Alaska, and the struggle will continue as long as this beautiful product is in demand.
About the Author
Anita Satin Choudhary writes for http://www.IvoryandArt.com Gallery. Browse the gallery for unique collection of artifacts ranging from Mammoth Ivory to jade sculptureand Silver Art
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