Metal Detecting In Pennsylvania?
You Should Know The Law

If you are metal detecting in Pennsylvania pay attention to the Antiquities Act of 1906. It's a law I have linked to below.

Read through that law, and the laws at the other links I have provided.

I have also provided some stories of the problems people face who break the law. These are not just isolated instances. People are being arrested in many states for breaking these laws.

Even though the Antiquities Act does not specifically mention "metal detecting", you need to understand what it says about digging artifacts.

Metal Detecting In Pennsylvania and
The Antiquities Act

The Antiquities Act of 1906

Here is a story that was related to me by a friend who metal detects in PA.

Two woman were picking up old bottles with their grandchildren as they were hiking a trail on PA State Land.

Apparently, the area they were walking through had the remains of an old cellar hole. When they investigated further, and of course kids being kids, they saw and picked up the old bottles that were scatterd on the ground.

Bits of old pottery lay scattered as well.

As they were walking back to their car two men noticed them carrying the bottles. The men asked to see their finds and then asked the ladies where they found them.

The kids were excited about holding bottles that were over a hundred years old, and one youngster blurted out.

"Over here mister. Come I'll show you."

The two woman and the grandkids had no idea that they had just broken the law.

The two men were Archaeologists taking a stroll and just happened on the unsuspecting thieves.

That was the term one of the Arkies had used. He stated, with the youngsters listening "do you know that you are a thief for taking these bottles?"

One of the woman was so mad she told the Arkies that she was about to "smack them in their heads for upsetting the children."

The two Arkies never appologized, nor did they take the matter further, but told the ladies, and the youngsters that this would serve as a warning, that no one is allowed to pick up any artifact on PA State lands, and that they should spread this message to others.

And then said, "the next time we will call the legal authorities."

I have stories like this one come to me all the time. It makes no difference what State you live in, you need to understand the laws of antiquity. Many of us do not agree with them, and hopefully some day they will be changed.

Two More Laws You Should Know About

The Antiquities Act of 1906 was the grand-daddy of every law regarding artifact removal. Any law written after that law just follows, with more detail, the Antiquities Act.

To make metal detecting in Pennsylvania even more difficult you need to be aware of a another law, ARPA.

And another, The National Historic Preservation Act - NHPA.

To keep it as simple as possible; if you are metal detecting in Pennsylvania, especially on State Land, do not dig anything that you believe is an artifact, or anything that is older than 100 years.

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

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

I cannot be responsible for any outdated laws from the time of this posting.

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Remember, be careful, don't break the law.


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