Metal Detectorists, Know The Laws!

For years I have been interested in the history of my State. This interest has lead me to research and metal detecting.

In my view, metal detecting is more than a mere hobby for retired people. It can be very educational of the way people lived in the past and the lessons we can learn.

Part of the research is the legal requirements for metal detecting. In many areas, one is required to obtain a permit on State land.

I also refer to 1906 American Antiquities Act , 16 U.S. Code § 470bb-Definition of Archaeological Resources ,  EDN § 233. State Museum;  collections made by the staff , 16 U.S. Code Chapter 1B – ARCHAEOLOGICAL RESOURCES PROTECTION and 16 U.S. Code § 470cc – Excavation and removal .

In the Antiquities Act:

  •    Sec. 3. That permits for the examination of ruins, the excavation of archaeological sites, and the gathering of objects of antiquity upon the lands under their respective jurisdictions may be granted by the Secretaries of the Interior, Agriculture, and War to institutions which the may deem properly qualified to conduct such examination, excavation, or gathering, subject to such rules and regulation as they may prescribe: Provided, That the examinations, excavations, and gatherings are undertaken for the benefit of reputable museums, universities, colleges, or other recognized scientific or educational institutions, with a view to increasing the knowledge of such objects, and that the gatherings shall be made for permanent preservation in public museums.

In 16 U.S. Code § 470cc – Excavation and removal :

  • (a)Application for permit

    Any person may apply to the Federal land manager for a permit to excavate or remove any archaeological resource located on public lands or Indian lands and to carry out activities associated with such excavation or removal. The application shall be required, under uniform regulations under this chapter, to contain such information as the Federal land manager deems necessary, including information concerning the time, scope, and location and specific purpose of the proposed work.

In EDN § 233. State Museum:

  • 4. Except as otherwise provided in subdivision three of this section, no person shall investigate, excavate, remove, injure, appropriate or destroy any object of archaeological, historical, cultural, social, scientific or paleontological interest, situated on, in or under lands owned by the state of New York, without the written permission of the commissioner of education.

The last sentence of the definition of archaeological resource :

  • No item shall be treated as an archaeological resource under regulations under this paragraph unless such item is at least 100 years of age.

In order to metal detect in New York on public land (i.e. State Parks, Nature Preserves), one needs a permit from:

  • the Commissioner of Education
  • the Federal Land Manager
  • the Secretary of the Interior
  • the Secretary of Agriculture
  • the Secretary of War

The criminal sentence for violating EDN § 233. State Museum is a Class A Misdemeanor:

I agree with the permitting process, in the view that State Parks and Nature Preserves should be for the education and enjoyment of future generations.

My question is this, “How many metal detectorists are sending permit requests to the various departments?”

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