The ARPA law sets the tone for every law having to do with digging and removing artifacts.
A Synopsis of the ARPA law. The law was amended in 1979 to read as follows:
Federal laws provide for severe penalties to those who disturb and destroy sites more than 100 years old. The Archaeological Resources Protection Act (ARPA) [16 USC 470aa-mm (1997)] was passed in 1979 and prohibits unauthorized digging and collecting of archeological resources, including pottery, basketry, bottles, sites with coins, or arrowheads, tools, structures, pithouses, rock art, graves, and human skeletons. No person may sell or buy any archeological resource, that was illegally acquired. Penalties for those convicted of violating ARPA are: 1. First Offense: a person who breaks this law for the first time may be fined $100,000 and spend one year in jail. IF the cost of repairing the damage exceeds $500, the offender may receive a fine of $250,000 and spend two years in jail. 2. Second Offense: a person who breaks this law for the second time may be fined $250,000 and spend five years in jail. 3. Vehicles and other equipment used in breaking this law may be confiscated. ARPA applies to all public lands, including those administered by the U.S. Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, the military, Fish and Wildlife Service, the National Park Service, and the Bureau of Reclamation. People who dig in sites are engaged in an illegal market activity, are armed with weapons, and should be considered dangerous. Never approach someone you see digging in sites or collecting artifacts. Instead, record information about them – their physical description, what they were seen.
In addition to the above ARPA law, the State of Kansas also follows the strict ruling of the 1966 "National Historic Preservation Act", which states:
"The National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) was enacted in 1966 to protect the Nation’s historical resources from increasing development and expansion pressures by establishing a comprehensive national historic preservation policy. It defines historic properties to encompass a broad interpretation of American history and acknowledges significance at all levels, not just nationally. Furthermore, historic properties are now understood and appreciated as part of—not isolated from—the landscape in which they belong. Implementation of this act is mainly through 36 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) part 63, Determinations of Eligibility for Inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places, and 36 CFR part 800, Protection of Historic Properties. The regulations that implement the NHPA and their accompanying guidance documents formulate a proactive national policy on historic preservation. It specifically directs federal government agencies to take historic preservation into account in planning their initiatives and actions. Thus, the federal government is now a full partner and a leader in historic preservation."
MAJOR PROVISIONS OF THE NATIONAL HISTORIC PRESERVATION ACT
"The NHPA defines historic preservation as “the protection, rehabilitation, restoration and reconstruction of districts, sites, buildings, structures, and objects significant in American history, architecture, archaeology, or culture.”
Remember, if you are metal detecting in Kansas. Do not dig anything that you believe is an artifact, or anything that is older than 100 years.
Especially if you are metal detecting in Kansas on any State Lands.
If you want to detect on private property, then be sure you get written permission from the landowner. There is much more information regarding the laws here.
For metal detecting in Kansas town, village and city parks, you'll need to check with those local officials.
Remember -No Metal Detecting on Kansas on State Lands
Metal detecting in Kansas is allowed in state parks, but you may not dig to retrieve items. Anyone metal detecting must follow all access rules the same as anyone else with regard to restricted areas. Check with the park staff before attempting to metal detect.
KS does not have a specific regulation allowing or prohibiting the use of metal detectors on lands controlled by KDWP. KAR 115-8-20 specifically prohibits digging holes or pits; and destroying, defacing, degrading or removing any real or personal property (other than property owned by that person) or geological formations; historical sites; archeological relics or ruins, or vegetation. Park managers may allow an individual to dig small areas when an individual is using a metal detector by special permit in certain areas and for specific purposes. Some areas, people are not allowed to dig or remove anything. Always make an appointment with the park manager, explain what, where, when you want to use a metal detector before you dig or remove anything from department controlled lands and waters.
Be sure you understand the laws in Kansas before you dig.
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