DCR Archaeology

The Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) Archaeology Program makes sure that DCR is following the law and preserving archaeological resources.

Office of Cultural Resources (OCR)

Our staff archaeologist helps with construction projects to make sure that there's no damage to archaeological findings. Other responsibilities include conducting surveys, providing training, and educating the public. Because Massachusetts' archaeological record includes valuable cultural resources that are vulnerable to looters, we don't offer a public listing of archaeological locations. 

What to do if you...

...discover artifacts 

Unless there's a threat, leave what you found as you found it. Context is the most important part of the site. If you have to move the materials, record as much information as you can about the place (e.g. distance to nearby landmarks, features, etc.) In either case, contact the DCR archaeologist as soon as possible. 

...want to be provide information about a site, collector, or collection

Give as much pertinent information to the DCR archaeologist as possible: name, address, telephone, site location, type and quantity of artifacts.

...want to donate materials

Please contact to DCR archaeologist.

...want information on archaeological site locations

Site information is confidential.

...witness anyone collecting or digging on state land

Immediately contact the DCR archaeologist. Any person who, without a permit, injures, destroys, excavates, appropriates, or removes any historic or pre-contact ruin, artifact, ancient object, Native American remains, Native American cultural item, or archaeological resource on public lands is subject to arrest and penalty of law. Penalties may include fines, imprisonment, or both.

...witness someone using a metal detector

Call the DCR archaeologist. Metal detectors aren't allowed on DCR property for 2 reasons: they damage the landscape, and they're often used with intent to “loot” and “pot-hunt” state land. Their use is subject to Massachusetts General Law Chapter 92, Section 37, as amended.

...witness someone taking, removing, destroying, defacing, tampering or disturbing any rock, earth, soil, gem, mineral, fossil, or other geological deposit

Contact the DCR archaeologist.

...are present when human burials are accidentally uncovered

Don't touch or disturb the bones. Call the state or local police and the regional medical examiner about the discovery and location.

...are interested in finding out more about archaeology and the resources that are available to the public 

Contact the DCR Archaeologist.

Additional Resources

Contact   for DCR Archaeology


Department of Conservation & Recreation
State Transportation Building, 10 Park Plaza | Suite 6620 , Boston, MA 02116

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