Wisconsin Historical Society

General Information

Benefits of Cataloging a Burial Site

Why Should You Catalog a Human Burial Site? | Wisconsin Historical Society

Cataloging a human burial site has many benefits — lower taxes for the landowner, better protection for the site, and increased opportunities for Wisconsin's citizens to voice concerns if construction is planned within the boundaries of the site.

Human burial sites are listed in the catalog of burial sites when their location is known and it is certain or likely that human remains are present.

You Become Eligible for a Property Tax Exemption

Owners of cataloged burial sites are eligible for a property tax exemption. As part of the process for obtaining a tax exemption, a description of the burial site will be attached to the property deed. This ensures that future owners of the property will be aware of the human burial site so that they won't accidentally disturb it.

Site Gains Greater Protection Under Wisconsin State Law

Cataloged sites have greater protection under Wisconsin state law. The director of the Wisconsin Historical Society and administrative law judges can deny requests to disturb human burial sites. If cataloged burial sites are disturbed without authorization, the penalties for the disturbance are more severe than for uncataloged sites.

You Can Receive Notification About Any Proposed Disturbances

Like any Wisconsin citizen, you can help protect cataloged human burial sites by applying to join the Registry of Interested Persons. People and organizations listed on the Registry are notified when construction is planned within the boundaries of cataloged burial sites. Registry members are given the opportunity to voice concerns about the proposed projects and can request hearings to determine whether a planned project should be allowed to proceed.

Neither cataloged nor uncataloged sites may be disturbed without authorization from the director of the Wisconsin Historical Society.

Find out more about how to catalog a burial site on your property.

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See more articles about Human Burials, Mounds and Cemeteries