Archaeology and Georgia’s laws

Without the proper permits and permissions, in Georgia it is illegal to:

  • Collect artifacts on public land.
  • Dig or disturb an archaeological site on public land or in Georgia‚Äôs waterways.
  • Disturb a human burial on either public or private land.
  • Display any human remains in public.
  • Sell artifacts that were ever associated with a human burial, or to bring such artifacts from another state in the U.S.
  • Import artifacts taken illegally in a foreign country.
  • Remove artifacts or disturb a site on private property without permission of the land owner.
  • Receive stolen artifacts.

It is generally legal to:

  • Own a collection of artifacts.
  • Surface collect on private land with the written permission of the property owner.

In Georgia, on private land, it is legal to dig or metal detect for artifacts ONLY IF you have written permission from the landowner, AND IF you have notified the Georgia Department of Natural Resources in writing five (5) business days before you begin. This refers to all ground-disturbing activities, including on Civil War sites.