A Loyola University archeology 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 issued today.
Professor 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 U.S. Attorney Kenneth Gonzales.
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.
"The judge is saying that Dr. Amick made a mistake. Because it was associated with research … he agreed to drop the charges," said federal criminal defense attorney Douglas McNabb, who is representing Amick. "He won’t have a record."
Neither Loyola officials nor Amick returned calls seeking comment.
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.
Clendenin would document the location of any artifact he found using a GPS device and then pocket it. Periodically, Clendenin would pass the information to Amick, who was researching arrowheads known to archeologists 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.
Amick is one of two archaeologists on staff at Loyola University’s Department of Anthropology.
According to the Loyola Web site, 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 like Archaeology Lab Methods.
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