Get Involved

As one law enforcement agent put it, “The public must become our eyes and ears on federal land.” Vandals and looters often believe they are acting with impunity because bystanders and other potential witnesses are generally unaware of the crimes being committed. Authorities charged with protecting archaeological and historic sites point to several actions the public can take when witnessing suspicious behavior:

  • When coming across questionable conditions, such as damaged sites or signs of recent digging, report the conditions and location to the relevant authorities, i.e. park rangers or local law enforcement.
  • When witnessing acts of theft or damage, report the activity immediately but do not approach suspects or attempt to interfere. Current trends point to a more volatile and dangerous breed of looter, thus confrontations should be avoided.
  • Keep a wary eye when approached by those marketing artifacts. Whether online or in person, all questionable offers or transactions should be reported to authorities.
  • Be vigilant about your own behavior when on public lands. If you see something that might qualify as an archaeological find or artifact, note its location and report it to authorities. Do not move or alter such finds as any action could compromise clues about an artifact’s significance.


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