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Metal Detecting In Mississippi?
You Should Know The Law

Metal detecting in Mississippi is okay as long as you follow the ARPA (Archeological Resources Preservation Act) laws.

ARPA, find out what it is. 

As the ARPA law states, and why it was first implemented, there is a need to protect Indian burial grounds. So pay attention to the laws that deal with Indian burial sites in Mississippi

Here is another page that clarifies the ARPA law.

Below is an abbreviated portion of the Mississippi law that deals specifically with artifacts.

MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972: As Amended

SEC. 39-7-9. Shipwrecks and buried treasure designated Mississippi landmarks and sole property of state. All sunken or abandoned ships and wrecks of the sea, and any part or the contents thereof, and all treasure imbedded in the earth, located in, on or under the surface of lands belonging to the State of Mississippi, including its tidelands, submerged lands and the beds of its rivers and the sea within the jurisdiction of the State of Mississippi are hereby declared to be Mississippi landmarks and are the sole property of the State of Mississippi and may not be taken, altered, damaged, destroyed, salvaged or excavated without a contract or permit of the board.SOURCES: Codes, 1942, Sec. 6192-105; Laws, 1970, ch. 267, Sec. 5; 1983, ch. 458, Sec. 4, eff from and after July 1, 1983.

SEC. 39-7-11. Designation of sites, objects, etc., upon lands belonging to state or political subdivision as Mississippi landmarks; recording; alteration, excavation, etc., of sites. (1) All other sites, objects, buildings, artifacts, implements, and locations of archaeological significance, including, but expressly not limited to, those pertaining to prehistoric and historical American Indian or aboriginal campsites, dwellings, and habitation sites, their artifacts and implements of culture, as well as archaeological sites of every character that are located in, on or under the surface of any lands belonging to the State of Mississippi or to any county, city, or political subdivision of the state, are hereby declared to be Mississippi landmarks and are the sole property of the State of Mississippi. Such sites may not be taken, altered, destroyed, salvaged or excavated without a permit from the board or in violation of the terms of such permit.(2) All other sites, objects, buildings, artifacts, implements, structures and locations of historical or architectural significance located in or under the surface of any lands belonging to the State of Mississippi or to any county, city or political subdivision of the state may be declared to be Mississippi landmarks by majority vote of the board. Every Mississippi landmark shall be so designated based upon its significance within the historical or architectural patterns of a community, a county, the State of Mississippi, or the United States of America. Upon such action by the board, the designation of the Mississippi landmark shall be recorded in the deed records of the county in which the landmark is located. All such designated sites or items located on public lands within the State of Mississippi may not be taken, altered, damaged, destroyed, salvaged, restored, renovated or excavated without a permit from, the board or in violation of the terms of such permit.(3) All such sites or items located on private lands within the State of Mississippi that have been designated as Mississippi landmarks as hereinafter provided, may not be taken, altered, damaged, destroyed, salvaged, restored, renovated or excavated without a permit from the board or in violation of the terms of such permit. Such designation shall be reduced to recordable form sufficiently describing the site so that it may be located and shall be recorded in the deed records of the county in which the landmark is located.SOURCES: Codes, 1942, Sec. 6192-106; Laws, 1970, ch. 267, Sec. 6; 1983, ch. 458, Sec. 5, eff from and after July 1, 1983.

In addition to the above mentioned ARPA law, if you are metal detecting in Mississippi, you must be aware of another law, the National Historic Preservation Act. (NHPA)

Remember, when metal detecting in Mississippi, do not dig anything that you believe is an artifact, or anything that is older than 100 years, especially if you are on any State Lands.

If you want to detect on private property, then be sure you get written permission from the landowner.

For metal detecting in Mississippi, town, village and city parks, you'll need to check with those local officials.

A few years ago, when filming my metal detecting, TV series, the Archaeologists tried to shut me down, even though we did nothing wrong.

My home page is all about metal detecting in eastern ghost towns.

Have you tried metal detecting in Mississippi ghost towns? 

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