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Posted: 12:26 PM- A Vernal man has been accused of illegally excavating and looting sites in Daggett County that contain materials dating back to prehistoric times.

A federal grand jury indictment made public on Thursday charges James E. Burton, 53, with three counts of violating the Archaeological Resources Protection Act (ARPA) and two counts of damaging property of the United States.

Forest Service employees discovered the alleged damage to several sites in late April and early May 2004 while conducting an archaeological survey of the Flaming Gorge District in the Ashley National Forest. The indictment says the sites in Red Hand Rockshelter and the East Fork Rockshelter contain "material remains of human life and activity" dating back to various prehistoric eras.

The indictment does not detail what was taken from the site. The items apparently were not human bones, however, or the grand jury would have returned different charges.

If convicted, Burton faces up to two years in prison for each ARPA violation and up to 10 years each for the damage counts, as well as a $250,000 fine on every charge.

The grand jury also is seeking forfeiture of a 2004 Honda ATV that Burton allegedly used in connection with the excavations.