The above law is the grand-daddy of laws when it comes to digging artifacts.
However, if you are metal detecting in Rhode Island there are a few more laws you need to be aware of. These laws follow the Antiquities Act.
To make this easy, just remember not to dig any item that is more than 100 years old. Remember, we are talking about State lands.
If you want to detect on private property, then be sure you get written permission from the landowner. And respect the property owners land. If you are respectful, and act professional, you may end up getting more references from the property owners for places to detect. They do tell their friends, families, and neighbors.
For detecting in Rhode Island, town, village and city parks, you'll need to check with those local officials.
Yes the laws are disturbing. And every so often the beaurcrats, along with some archaeologists, try and pass another law. It's frustrating and some in the metal detecting hobby have quit because of this. If you are thinking of doing the same, don't do it.
By quitting, it gives the power to those outside of the hobby who would like no more than to see the hobby controlled by government, or abolished completely. If you quit, they win.
I was the first to film a reality, metal detecting, TV series. And when the show first appeared live in New York, the archaeologists went ballistic. Find out why.
I cannot be responsible for any outdated laws from the time of this posting.
Be careful, don't break the law!