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OSP warns: Don't pilfer archaeology sites

Thursday, November 22, 2018

It’s now illegal to remove an archaeological object from public land without a permit.

The 2017 Legislature passed Senate Bill 144 last year and it took effect Jan. 1. It prohibits people from excavating, injuring, destroying or altering an archaeological site or object, even on private land, unless the activity is authorized by permit.

Prior to its passage, a person who unintentionally discovered an archaeological object that had been exposed by the forces of nature on public or private lands could retain the object for personal use.

That exemption no longer applies, according to the Oregon State Police, which issued an email warning the public of the new law.

Individuals found to have excavated, injured, destroyed or altered an archaeological site or object or removed an archaeological object located on public lands could be subject to prosecution for a Class B misdemeanor crime.

Reports of anyone observed illegally collecting artifacts or looting of archaeological sites or gravesites should be made by calling 800-452-7888 or by using a cell phone keypad to dial OSP (677) .

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