The Antiquities Act was the first law passed that dealt with the digging of Indian artifacts. It set the precedent for all future laws.
This law basically states that you are breaking the law if you dig and remove any artifact that is more than 100 years old.
This law only applies if you are digging on State or Federal Lands.
There is another law you should be aware of. The ARPA law (Archaeological Resource Preservation Act) follows the Antiquities Act of 1906.
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.
If you are metal detecting in North Carolina, on State Land, do not dig anything that you believe is an artifact 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.
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