Jonathan Bourne sentenced for archeological felonies

Press release from 

Office of the United States Attorney

Eastern District of California

Acting U.S. Attorney Phillip A. Talbert

FRESNO, Calif. — Jonathan Cornelius Bourne, 59, of Mammoth Lakes, was sentenced Monday to two years of probation, a $40,000 fine, and $249,372 in restitution for felony violations of the Archeological Resources Protection Act, Acting U.S. Attorney Phillip A. Talbert announced. Additionally, Bourne is banned from entering federal public lands for recreational purposes while on probation.

On August 15, 2016, Bourne pleaded guilty to unauthorized transportation of archeological resources and unauthorized excavation, removal, damage, or defacement of archeological resources. According to court documents, Bourne had been collecting artifacts and archeological resources since 1994. He documented each item and has voluntarily turned over to the government an estimated 20,000 archeological items that he had collected from public lands.

According to the plea agreement, on October 14, 2010, Bourne altered a small prehistoric site, cremation site, and burial cairns in the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest in Nevada. He removed glass trade beads and transported them to his home in Mammoth Lakes. On January 10, 2011, Bourne altered a large prehistoric site in Death Valley National Park and removed a tool made from a bighorn sheep horn and three incised stone tablets, which were later found in Bourne’s home.

In sentencing Bourne, U.S. District Judge Lawrence J. O’Neill stated that the damage caused by Bourne could not be undone no matter what sentence was imposed. He further stated that this case highlighted the importance of educating others as to the significance of the sacred Native American cultural resources and the protection of the Native American cultural sites.

Death Valley National Park Superintendent Mike Reynolds said, “Death Valley is the homeland of the Timbisha Shoshone Tribe. Dr. Bourne didn’t just steal their heritage; he stole from all Americans when he removed these artifacts from the park. I’m relieved that he has been sentenced and is paying restitution to help us curate the artifacts. I hope this will help deter other people from desecrating important cultural resources that help tell our nation’s history. However, we’ve permanently lost information that could have been learned if the artifacts had never been moved.”

This case was the product of an investigation by the United States Forest Service, the National Park Service, and the Bureau of Land Management. Assistant United States Attorney Laurel J. Montoya prosecuted the case.

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BobK
BobK
5 years ago

Lo-Inyo…. Every prediction that you’ve made for the last two years haven’t been close. Weren’t you going to move out of the country if Trump won? You could always call Rosie “O” and see if she’ll need a gardener.

spk ur mind
spk ur mind
5 years ago

Im gona have to red flag low inyo for improper use of a ha ha, ya see through out history ha ha’s have been used by the winning side of a contest against the losing side. When someone from the losing side say’s ha ha you won that just doesn’t… Read more »

Low Inyo
Low Inyo
5 years ago

Trouble…..yes….happened here in Lone Pine to a “blue collar” person….even less than a penalty than Bourne got there…

GT
GT
5 years ago
Reply to  Low Inyo

Donald Trump is now The President of the United States . So Low Inyo , Remember what you said . LOL ULTRA FAIL . Haaaa Haaaa Haaa .

Low Inyo
Low Inyo
5 years ago
Reply to  GT

GT….He ain’t MY President….and from the looks of things,many,many,many agree with me.more than not….the World is laughing at our Country….LOL……we’ll see how this goes for him..and his “followers” once they realize he ain’t a gonna build no wall…not gonna deport 12 million people..no deportation force..isn’t going to change the Constitution….no… Read more »

Charles O. Jones
Charles O. Jones
5 years ago
Reply to  GT

@GT, Yes, DT won the Electoral College. Not many saw that coming, not even DT himself, despite what he claims. That aside, I’m proud to live in a county and a state that overwhelmingly rejected him and his message at the ballot box. And based on the very encouraging results… Read more »

Low Inyo
Low Inyo
5 years ago

Charles O.Jones…..SO TRUE !!!!…my thinking about it,he won’t even make it through his 4 years in office…not assassination,but his own undoing,probably some type of rip-off scandal,something really bad out of his past where all his time will be spent defending himself or denying,twitter attacks on the accusers,or just him realizing… Read more »

Trouble
Trouble
5 years ago
Reply to  Low Inyo

Lower, they pretty much ruin the guys life in Lone pine. The doctor did worse and walks away with a fine that he can recoup in a month. Plus it sounds like the doctor was actually damaging sites.

Trouble
Trouble
5 years ago

Think they would have given a blue collar type person that deal?