Rewrite of treasure hunting rules could sink business
By Michael Peltier
State historic officials want to institute the first major rewrite in 30 years. Private treasure hunters say a proposed set of state rules could sink their business.
State historic officials want to institute the first major rewrite of the treasure salvaging rules in 30 years — and their plan includes provisions that would require a certified archaeologist on site at all times and ban searching on wreck sites that could include human remains.
Treasure hunters, also called salvers, balked at the proposals at a meeting Thursday and said without private searchers the flow of artifacts to museums will drastically decrease.
Backers of the proposed changes say they would enhance the protection of cultural artifacts in state waters and bring the state into compliance with other states and foreign countries that have drastically limited or eliminated private excavation of historic underwater sites.