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Published on June 3, 2023

Preserve, Don’t Disturb Cultural Artifacts

Information provided by

Oregon State Parks

Many of Oregon’s most popular natural areas have a long history as gathering spaces, community sites and sacred places.

If it’s a beautiful place to enjoy ancient forests, ocean views or even a riverside picnic, it is a spot that has likely drawn people since time immemorial. Part of protecting these spaces, is protecting the cultural items that tell this rich history.

A cultural artifact is a human-made item or personal belonging that is 75 years old or older. These artifacts are protected by law.

Please help preserve the Tribes’ ancestors’ belongings and other artifacts with the following tips:

  • Protect artifacts in place. If you see an item in the soil, you can pick it up. But remember to put it back where you found it. Brush a little soil over the top to keep it safe.
  • Don’t dig. More often than not, you are on an archeological site. The best protection is to keep artifacts undisturbed.
  • Don’t remove artifacts. It is illegal to remove any artifacts on public or private land without an archaeological permit obtained by a qualified professional archaeologist.
  • Respect the plants and animals, too! First foods, medicines and fiber materials continue to thrive in landscapes throughout Oregon. These materials are still used by Tribes today. In order to sustainably manage these natural resources, park visitors may gather berries, fruits, mushrooms, or similar edibles in quantities not to exceed one gallon per person per day for personal consumption.

Thank you for your support to protect cultural items and places in Oregon State Parks and beyond.