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Due to many questions posed by collectors in our state, we're going to look at the laws as they affect hunting for points, both on the state and federal level. Some of the laws are very plain in the way they are written, while others are more complex; it's worth noting that some of these laws haven't been fully tested in court cases.
All laws are subject to interpretation, so don't take anything here as legal advice in any way. A full reprinting of the complete statute would be far beyond the scope of our newsletter, however the short version is that no collecting of archeological specimens is allowed on lands owned or controlled by the United States government. A short discussion of Section 6 of ARPA is in order however, as much confusion exists in the collecting community.
So as we see from the Act, while "no person" without a permit may excavate or remove any "archaeological resource" from federal lands, the criminal and civil penalties contained in subsection d may not be enforced on any person picking up an arrowhead from the surface. Removal of the artifact from the site may, however, result in arrest for theft of government property.
On the subject of artifacts and sites located on state property, the law in Mississippi could not be more clear.
Mississippi Code states:. Such sites may not be taken, altered, destroyed, salvaged or excavated without a permit from the board or in violation of the terms of such permit.
State law also makes it illegal to knowingly disturb human remains on private property without a permit from MDAH. In addition, if human remains are encountered, all ground disturbing activity must cease and the Sheriff of the county involved must be notified immediately.
This is the area we're most interested in, as most of us know the vast majority of collecting takes place on private land. Mississippi grants almost exclusive control of sites to the landowner, as long as burials are not encountered. Written permission from the landowner is required by law in our state to hunt for artifacts. The following paragraphs are selected sections of the Mississippi Code as it applies to collecting without permission.
Entry upon land of another to deface, remove or destroy archeological relics or sites. No person, not being the owner thereof, and without the written consent of the owner, proprietor, lessee, or person in charge thereof, shall enter or attempt to enter upon the lands of another and intentionally injure, disfigure, remove, excavate, damage, take, dig into, or destroy any historical structure, monument, marker, medallion, or artifact, or any prehistoric or historic archaeological site, American Indian or aboriginal remains located in, on or under any private lands within the State of Mississippi.
No person without a permit from the board, and without written permission of the landowner, shall intentionally injure, disfigure, remove, excavate, damage, take, dig into, or destroy any prehistoric or historic American Indian or aboriginal burial. Penalties for violations of chapter; finder's fee for arrest and conviction of violator. Each day of continued violation of any provision of this chapter shall constitute a distinct and separate offense for which the offender may be punished.
So far it's been easy While the state does claim all artifacts on state land, and grants trespass rights to the stream channels of public waterways implying state control of these areasthe disposition of artifacts within navigable streambeds remains questionable. In fact, the exact definition of a navigable waterway is outdated under MS law; however court cases in other states including at least one Supreme Court decision indicate that any stream that is navigable by boat should be considered navigable in law.
It is illegal in MS to disturb the bed or banks of a public waterway defined as "having a mean annual flow of not less than one hundred cubic feet per second, as determined and designated on appropriate maps by the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality".
Small streams, too small for boats, are under the control of the landowner and written permission would cover it. While the legal situation is somewhat muddied, there is no concern voiced over creek hunting in our state. This isn't the case in other states in the south, and Alabama is the only state in the region that specifically allows collecting of artifacts within navigable stream channels.
Laws against collecting in streams in Florida are strictly enforced. Informal conversations with many members of the professional archeology community working in MS over the last couple of years has resulted in no objections to this form of collecting, as most readily concede displaced artifacts washed into streams have minimal archeological value except for pure distributional data.
Section 6 states: a No person may excavate, remove, damage, or otherwise alter or deface or attempt to excavate, remove, damage, or otherwise alter or deface any archaeological resource located on public lands or Indian lands unless such activity is pursuant to a permit issued under section 4 of this Act, a permit referred to in section 4 h 2 of this Act, or the exemption contained in section 4 g 1 of this Act.
In The WaterForum Rules. Advertise Here! What is it? What Is It? The Best Of Results 1 to 15 of Mad Martigan. Digging overhangs, perplexing issues!?! Howdy guys I've been digging for Indian artifacts for a few years now off and on and Id like to start by saying that the cliffs I dig are on property that is gonna be destroyed by surface mining I do have many questions that im hoping someone on here can answer.
I have found arrowheads and when i keep on digging down I find charcoal, does the charcoal infer that im still not deep enough? Ive heard they did it on ridge lines facing the east is this true? I have no idea how to even start to look for that? Thanks hope to get some good answers, Adam. Brushy Bandit and monsterrack like this.
Native American Artifacts. Possibly lack of use 2. Dig past charcoal and flint to reach bottom of habitation level 3. Not really. Some can have some stain but most likely mineral leaching thru. If they got a ceiling to hot it could collapse on them. Yes 5.Complete arrowheads are an extremely rare find. Looking for any artifacts left by Native American people requires a combination of great patience, a keen eye, a working knowledge of the law, a measure of charm - permission must be sought and gained to enter private property - and an understanding of all the factors that maximize the chances of success.
A great place to start, with its rich Native American history is in East Texas. Arrowheads are unlikely to be found in areas where game was scarce and where territory was of little strategic value.
That is not to say that prey animals and enemies were not targeted all over Texas by its nomadic peoples, but the chances of finding projectile points are increased by looking where human activity was greatest.
The Caddos lived in what is now northeast Texas; the Karankawas held the Gulf between what is now Galveston south to what is now Corpus Christi; the Coahuiltecan occupied the southeast and the lower Rio Grand.
The Texas Hill Country is a rich and verdant region, and many smaller Indian bands lived in the area. Freshly plowed ground is a trove of material that was previously buried, and rain cleans off arrowheads and other impermeable objects, making them more visible. This confluence of events occurs most frequently in springtime. Although many tribes lived along the shores of the Gulf of Mexico, centuries of aggressive weather events such as hurricanes have destroyed most of what they left behind.
That said, storm tides reveal artifacts that were previously buried in the same way as rain on a freshly plowed field, and an eagle-eyed stroll along a beach can sometimes be productive.
How to Search a Creek Bed for Indian Arrowheads
The sides of streams in places with good tree cover were favorite places for bands of Indians to camp, and such sites can be rich with discarded or accidentally lost arrowheads. The Alabama-Coushatta Indians were the most abundant people in east Texas, and they lived concentrated around the Woodville area.
Around San Marcos was rich hunting territory. Many semi-permanent camps were set up in the game-rich Big Thicket region. The Caddo people were concentrated around Indian Creek north of what is now the town of Nobility; following the creek from behind the Baptist Church often yields some interesting finds. The advice to search freshly plowed fields by definition involves entering private property.
It is vital to gain permission from the appropriate authority - owner, town, county or state - before wandering on to private property; without permission such an activity is Entry Without Consent, and to remove any found item is theft.
Even as innocent an activity as hunting for arrowheads can be mistaken for an intention to poach wildliferustle stock or steal valuable farm and ranch equipment. Without a permit issued by the Texas Antiquities Committee, it is never legal to remove finds from government land, be it state or federal property, even if you have full permission to be on the land and have paid an admission fee. It is never acceptable to enter property owned by modern-day Native American trusts, families or reservations.Kentucky is home to many archaeological sites, including Native American mounds, graves and earthworks.
Items found there are not only crucial to understanding historic or prehistoric human life but may also be sacred to Native American descendants. Inpot hunters looted and desecrated about Native American graves at Stark Farm and disturbed as many as 1, These looters stole valuable relics and left human remains visibly strewn over the grounds.
The ensuing public outrage propelled the enactment of tougher state and federal legislation. The law defines an object of antiquity as a bone deposit or "any product of human workmanship of Indians or any aboriginal race or pioneers.
Kentucky law makes it a felony to explore or dig anywhere that such items can be found or to remove any objects of antiquity without a permit. Kentucky law requires that digging permits describe exactly where the exploration and excavation will take place and authorize activities only at the locations described and under conditions that minimize injury to the site.
All permits must be renewed annually and can be revoked at any time if activities are being conducted improperly. If you find an artifact or other object of antiquity, you are required to report the finding to the University of Kentucky's Department of Anthropology. In Kentucky, if you intentionally dig up human remains or objects buried with them for commercial exploitation without legal authorization, you may be found guilty of the felony crime of desecration of venerated objects in the first degree.
Intentionally violating or mutilating graves is also a felony. Federal laws also apply to digging for artifacts on federal or Indian lands within Kentucky.
It also prohibits trade in and transportation of items that were illegally removed. Among other provisions, it prohibits digging or removal of Native American human remains or objects without a permit or without consultation with the appropriate tribe.
It further requires that tribes be consulted whenever artifacts are found or expected to be found and that any excavation or removal of items be done according to the ARPA. The crime of desecration of venerated objects in the first degree is a Class C felony in Kentucky and carries a sentence of five to 10 years of imprisonment.
If you violate Kentucky laws prohibiting unauthorized handling of or willful damage of archaeological sites or objects of antiquity, including Native American artifacts, you will be guilty of a Class D felony, which carries a sentence of one to five years of imprisonment.
You will also have to surrender all equipment used to commit the offense of which you were convicted. The act of violating graves is also a Class D felony.
The Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act makes it a federal crime to traffic in illegally obtained Native American human remains or cultural items. For subsequent offenses, you could face up to five years imprisonment and a fine. Violations of permits and regulations are subject to civil penalties as well.
Eden Straten has extensive experience in the legal and educational fields. She holds a Juris Doctor from Boston University and has been licensed to practice law for more than 20 years. July 20, About the Author. Photo Credits.In southern Alabama there is no frost action to bring objects to the surface.
The depth depends entirely on what the land was subsequently used for. If it was agricultural fields, then you will likely have to go below the depth of tillage. Even woodlands may have once been tilled fields, as many large scale plantations were abandoned after the Civil War and returned to forests. Look at old county maps to determine previous use.
In southern Alabama, the original tribes were most likely Muskogee, Choctaw or Biloxi. See the link provided for a map of tribal locations. You have about the same chance of finding Ancient Artifacts in a pile of burnt wood in Alabama as you would anywhere else. Native Americans have lived here ever since people migrated over to the American continents during the last Ice Age. It is shallower than you think. Walk plowed fields after a rain Learn about arrowheads Paleo Indians were waltzing around a vague and very long time ago, and every point gives more info If you actually find the charred wood Then stop.
Call an archeologist. If you do actually come accross an archaeological sight, there is a good chance that by digging, you'll be doing more damage than good. I work with our tribal archaeologist and spent five years working in our tribal museum, we view archaeological sights as time capsules, technology is constantly updating itself and new methods of extracting artifacts without causing too much damage are always improving,so we wait until we absolutely have to dig.
Sometimes, we choose never to dig at all and opt to protect the sight as sacred ground a grave yard for example, which is the most common indigenous archaeological sight. The information that could be gathered by the people who descend from those who left those things behind is far more significant to them than it could ever be to you, to steal and possibly destroy what they could get from that should be considered a sin, if it isnt already.
How would you feel if your family history was destroyed for fun by some person who thought it would be cool to seek it out?I find it very hard to dig for arrowheads, it's hard work and my holes are very uncleanly dug. There are 2 creeks on the property one starts up on a farmers field and acts like a channel that directs water right down to the river.
how deep underground would native american stuff be?
I can tell the creek has been there hundreds of years because the bedrock is exposed and parts are eroded. The other creek starts on the opposite side of the property on our land and joins with other small creeks to form a larger creek about 10 ft wide.
Both of these creeks only get water in them when it rains so no fish live in them. I have only found 1 arrowhead on our property and it was in the first creek I described. I found it on March 19th, From the description and shape I have concluded that it is a Hemphill projectile point The tip and one of the ears are broken off.
Now, What I need some help with is, where I should start digging for points. Since I have found one, I know there have to be more under the soil. What I would like to understand is where would be a good place to start looking for them? Since I live by a river I feel I have a better chance than other people to start unearthing artifacts. I figured that digging above the flood plain would be a better judgment than not, unless there were a race of aquatic Indians.
The land that touches to the river has flood-plain then a steep wooded hill that stretches upwards at a good slope for feet and then the land evens out into forest with several small creeks that only have water in them when it rains I described them briefly above. Some say these humps are very small only rise a few inches but may be 5, 10, 20 or 30 feet across by a similar amount of feet wide. Where would I spot these humps?
Would they be by the top of the ridge or more inland, perhaps even a good walk away from the river? If I do spot a hump, where should I dig at? Should I start in the center of the hump or start at the edge of the hump and work my way in? I know I have typed a lot and it may be hard to understand but I feel someone who is good at digging for arrowheads may be able to help me.
A very important factor before you dig anything up, even if it is your own land, is that the digging up of indian artifacts is protected by federal laws.
Now with that in mind let me continue. I too had land up in the gold country of Kalifornistan on it a seasonal stream traversed through a stand of huge old oak trees and boulders that had grinding holes in them. I never dug anything up per say but in the spring after the rains came through the rain would wash out the dirt dug up by gophers and ground squirrels.
Over the years I found several arrowheads and the grinding mortars as well. I kept the arrow heads but replaced the mortars in the holes to make the place look "occupied".
Occasionally with out my ever seeing them local natives visited my lands and left strange charms hanging in the oak trees. There still there to this day. My point is that even though we have paper title to the land the land is really owned by those whose spirits stay with the land and we need to respect that. I don't know if any natives are buried on my land and the mounds that you described are also evidence of native burial.Arrowheads are among the most easily recognized type of artifact found in the world.
Untold generations of children poking around in parks or farm fields or creek beds have discovered these rocks that have clearly been shaped by humans into pointed working tools. Our fascination with them as children is probably why there are so many myths about them, and almost certainly why those children sometimes grow up and study them. Here are some common misconceptions about arrowheads, and some things that archaeologists have learned about these ubiquitous objects. Arrowheads, objects fixed to the end of a shaft and shot with a bow, are only a fairly small subset of what archaeologists call projectile points.
A projectile point is a broad category of triangularly pointed tools made of stone, shell, metal, or glass and used throughout prehistory and the world over to hunt game and practice warfare.
A projectile point has a pointed end and some kind of worked element called the haft, which enabled attaching the point to a wood or ivory shaft. There are three broad categories of point-assisted hunting tools, including spear, dart or atlatland bow and arrow. Each hunting type requires a pointed tip that meets a specific physical shape, thickness, and weight; arrowheads are the very smallest of the point types. In addition, microscopic research into edge damage called 'use-wear analysis' has shown that some of the stone tools that look like projectile points may have been hafted cutting tools, rather than for propelling into animals.
In some cultures and time periods, special projectile points were clearly not created for a working use at all. These can be elaborately worked stone objects such as the so-called eccentrics or created for placement in a burial or other ritual context. The smallest arrowheads are sometimes called "bird points" by the collector community. Experimental archaeology has shown that these tiny objects—even the ones under half an inch in length—are sufficiently lethal to kill a deer or even larger animal.Arrowhead Hunting: Secrets Of The Creek
These are true arrowheads, in that they were attached to arrows and shot using a bow. An arrow tipped with a stone bird point would easily pass right through a bird, which is more easily hunted with nets.
Stone tools called blunt points or stunners are actually regular dart points that have been reworked so that the pointy end is a long horizontal plane. At least one edge of the plane might have been purposefully sharpened.
These are excellent scraping tools, for working animal hides or wood, with a ready-made hafting element.
arrowhead digging tips
The proper term for these kinds of tools is hafted scrapers. Evidence for reworking and repurposing older stone tools was quite common in the past—there are many examples of lanceolate points long projectile points hafted onto spears that were reworked into dart points for use with atlatls. A stone projectile point is made by a sustained effort of chipping and flaking stone called flint knapping. While it is true that making some stone tools e.
Expedient flake tools can be made in a matter of seconds by anyone who is capable of swinging a rock.