Sunday, June 30, 2013

6/30/13 - Low Tide Scattered Shells and Things & Florida Archaeology Network Concerning Laws on Metal Detecting

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Stretch of Beach Shown Yesterday Morning. 

This beach doesn't look much good for metal detecting, and it wasn't much good.  There isn't any erosion and there weren't any good metal targets to detect.  There were a few old pieces of iron, copper, titanium and the ever present aluminum.  It was more of an eye-balling beach.

You can see at the bottom right corner a little line showing where a thin top layer of sand was being removed, exposing a fresh layer.

The shell piles were not big,  Shells were scattered as you see in the photo.  Sea glass and pieces of fossils were seen in between.

One lady hunting shells (you can barely see her up ahead as a dot in the photo) actually found a couple of very old shell artifacts.  She was just collecting shells and things she thought looked interesting for crafts.   She didn't know what they were.  Fortunately  I had my camera and took a picture of them and asked some people that know a lot about artifacts.  They said they were indeed artifacts.   

I'm in the process of trying to find who in the state I should contact about artifact finds these days.  Regarding fossils, Richard Hulbert at the Florida Museum of Natural History has always been helpful, and it is much appreciated.  He has helped people who send him photos to identify fossils.    Back a few years ago when they had the Vero Man conference in Vero, people brought in boxes of fossils and he identified them.

By the way, fossils are different from artifacts.  Artifacts are human formed.

You do need a permit to collect fossils on state lands or in state waterways.

If you do hunt fossils much, you can't help but come across artifacts from time to time.

Of the hundreds of fossils he identified that day, there was only one that he was interested in having for the museum.   That is what you would expect.  By definition, most things are common.  Few are rare.

Yesterday I was reminded of the time quite a few years ago when I was at Wabasso Beach after some erosion.  A tourist staying at the Disney resort came up to me and showed me a fossilized mammal bone and an arrowhead she found on the beach there after some erosion.  She said I looked like I might know what they were.   I don't have the slightest idea why she picked me out other than maybe it looked like I had spent a lot of time on the beach.  Anyhow, I knew what those ones were in the most general sense, and gave her the name of the local museum to contact if she wanted to find out more about them.

I am in the process of trying to get a good contact telephone number and email address to use when you want to report an artifact that has been found on the beach.  I've contacted people at the Florida Museum of Natural History about artifacts in the past.  It usually took a while to get the right person to talk to, but you can get someone.  When I get good contact information, I'll post it for you all.

FPAN, the Florida Public Archaeology Network,  has the purpose of public outreach.  They have regional offices.
Here is the link for their FAQs.

I get a lot of questions about the laws concerning metal detecting in Florida.

Here is their FAQ on Florida metal detecting laws.

  1. Can I metal detect in Florida?
    Laws regarding metal detecting in Florida are rather confusing —we always encourage anyone interested in metal detecting to always get the permission of the land owner or manager before detecting - that will prevent misunderstandings about what is permitted, trespassing, etc. Most cities and counties have their own ordinances regarding metal detecting - the City Manager, County Commission, or the Parks/Recreation Department can probably tell you. Most coastal cities and counties in Florida do allow metal detecting on their beaches, although some, like St. Johns County, have ordinances that prohibit the removal of historical objects from county lands. They’re all a little different, so that’s why we suggest contacting them directly.
    Detecting on state lands is different and the removal of historical objects from state lands is prohibited. Some coastal state parks do not allow metal detecting at all, some will allow it between the shoreward toe of the dunes and the mean high water line, but only for modern objects. Some state parks will only allow detecting for personal items that are specified as lost in a particular area. If counties or cities lease coastal lands from the state, they are required to abide by state laws. Every state park will have an entry station with a ranger on duty, so always ask first. 
    As for metal detecting in the water, all lands that are below the mean high water line are considered state sovereignty submerged lands and, while it is not against the law to possess a metal detector in the water, it IS against the law to disturb the bottom sediments. So, if something is detected, it would be illegal to dig for it.
They are certainly right about it being confusing.

If you wade out into the water, are you disturbing the bottom?   I know, that is a crazy question.  

That reminds me of those little fish that you can see when you wade when the visibility is very good that will follow you around and eat little things that you stir up when you walk in the sand.

Photo Showing Low Rocks at Low Tide Yesterday.

One thing I like about the British system that I talked about yesterday is that it seems it is easy to contact someone to report finds and what the public is to do is well publicized.  At least it is explained well on the internet.  Maybe in practice if you are actually trying to work with the system, it might not be so easy.

Neives Site and Salvage Vessel at Work Yesterday Morning.

I didn't have the right camera for this yesterday morning.  You can barely see the boat on what looks like the horizon near the center of the photo.

Actually the boat was only about 200 yards out.  Looks much farther in this photo.

On the Treasure Coast conditions are about the same today as yesterday.  Very little surf.  Nice low tide.  Some shelling to be found, with other items in between.

As I said, I'll be trying to get a good number or email address for you to report artifacts that are seen on the beach.

I'm going to continue taking a camera so I take photograph artifacts that I see on the beach.

Happy hunting,