Metal Detecting In North Carolina? You Should Know The Law

Metal detecting in North Carolina follows the ARPA (Archeological Resources Preservation Act) of 1906.

Please click on the link below for the ARPA explanation and some of the problems people face who break this law.

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

People have been arrested for breaking these laws. So be aware of what they are and how they affect metal detecting.

Do Not Break The Law

ARPA and You

Here is a brief look at the North Carolina law that follows ARPA.

Code Book: General Statutes of North Carolina Citation: § 70-15 through § 70-17 Section Title: Archeological Resources Protection Act: prohibited acts and criminal penalties; civil penalties; forfeiture Summary: Prohibits a person from excavating, removing, damaging or otherwise altering or defacing an archeological resource located on state lands, unless acting pursuant to a permit issued under § 70-13. Prohibits a person from selling, purchasing, exchanging, transporting or receiving such archeological resources, or from offering to do so. Declares that a person who violates the above provisions, or employs another person to do so, shall be fined, upon conviction, not more than $2,000 or imprisoned not more than six months, or both, for each day of continued violation. Authorizes the Department of Administration, in consultation with the Department of Cultural Resources, to assess a civil penalty of not more than $5,000 against any person who violates such provisions. Directs the Department of Administration, in determining the amount of the penalty, to consider the extent of the harm caused by the violation and the cost of rectifying the damage. Directs the department to send notice by registered or certified mail of such an assessment to the person being assessed and authorizes the department to institute a civil action in the Superior Court of Wake County if the person being assessed fails to pay the assessment. Authorizes the department to use the assessed funds to rectify the damage to archeological resources or to otherwise effectuate the purposes of this article. Declares that all archeological resources with respect to which a criminal violation has occurred, and all vehicles and equipment used in connection with such violation, shall be subject to forfeiture to the state.

In addition to the ARPA law, if you are metal detecting in North Carolina you need to pay attention to another law that follows ARPA.

National Historic Preservation Act - NHPA.


if you are metal detecting in North Carolina, 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 North Carolina, 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.

Have you been metal detecting in North Carolina ghost towns?

Be careful, don't break any laws!

49 Places to Metal Detect, And More

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