NPS Investigating After Artifact Hunters Illegally Dig Up Historic South Carolina Site

by Courtney Blackann

The history of our country belongs to us all. However, its artifacts from founding times certainly do not. This is why the National Park Service is unhappy to reveal that freshly dug holes are present at a historic site, leaving officials stunned and saddened. This happened on federal property in South Carolina.

The Charles Pinckney National Historic Site is just north of Charleston. A theft took place in the area in recent days, investigators said. Artifact hunters have come to search for something – but what is unclear. The site is currently missing several artifacts and pieces of history. Authorities also found more than 19 holes along the land. NPS further discovered that someone used a metal detector to survey the plot of federally protected land.

Now, an investigation is underway to determine who is behind the “illegal excavation” of looting and theft, according to Yahoo! News.

Evidence at the scene indicates that a metal detector was used to locate artifacts and at least 19 holes were dug,” the site reportedly said in a news release.

Further, the artifacts date back to the 1700s. They are from the land, which is a 1754 farm which Charles Pinckney owned. He was “a principal author and signer of the United States Constitution,” according to the National Park Service. 

According to a statement released by Kate Funk, chief of resource management at the park, it’s illegal to dig at the site. Especially without the proper approval.

“Archeologists make a great effort to record the context from which artifacts are recovered to better understand their use and disposition and the wider historical picture,” Kate Funk, chief of resource management at the park, said in a release. “All this important information is now lost because of this illegal excavation.”

National Park Service Urges Public to Come Forward with Tips

Additionally, the NPS believes the ordeal happened around November 13.

“The National Park Service takes its stewardship responsibilities very seriously. Unauthorized digging at an archeological site is prohibited, as is the possession of metal detectors in national parks unless disassembled and stored in a vehicle. 36 CFR 2.1(a)(7) and ARPA (the Archaeological Resource Protection Act) are in place to protect natural, cultural, and archeological resources. When you visit public lands, enjoy them and do no harm,” the release further states.

Officials are urging anyone with information to call “or text the ISB Tip Line 888-653-0009.”

“If you were in the park on or before November 13, and saw anybody using a metal detector, please contact us. If you have other information that could help investigators identify those responsible for this crime, or if you see looting or suspicious activity in any National Park Service (NPS) site, stay safe and tell us about it,” NPS says.

Hopefully, whoever is behind the illegal dig, will realize their mistake and come forward before receiving charges for the crime.