If you decide to look for,
or find artifacts
to collect responsibly. Once an artifact is taken, if not properly
documented, the information it can give is very limited. Here are some
guidelines that will help you preserve our important history.
illegal to surface collect, dig, or metal detect on federal property.
legal to surface collect, dig, or metal detect on private property with
the owner’s permission.
artifacts found on private property, with the exception of burials and
burial artifacts, belong to the property owner.
can dig on their own property.
Virginia, as in most states, disturbing human burials is illegal. It is
illegal to collect human remains or burial artifacts on any property.
encounter human remains by accident, you must stop immediately and
contact the local authorities. Sometimes it is very difficult for amateurs
to determine if remains are human or animal, if there is any doubt,
error on the safe side and call in the experts.
illegal to buy or sell human remains.
you have any questions about what is appropriate, contact a professional
archaeologist. You can call (304) 558-0240 for the archaeologists at
West Virginia Culture & History.
Remember, when an
archaeological site is disturbed, valuable information is lost. Responsible
collectors who have permission to collect or dig will take photographs and
detailed notes of the location of what they have found. Even with surface
collecting, taking photographs and making notes of the exact location of the
artifacts add to their value.