Archaeological Sites on Private Land

Many landowners encounter prehistoric and historic artifacts on their property during farming or construction. We are often asked about what a person should do if they find artifacts on their land. The following answer to this question was derived from the web site of the Kentucky Heritage Council. You can learn more about the Kentucky Heritage Council.

If you know about an important archaeological site, the Kentucky Archaeological Survey would like to hear from you. It is as simple as printing out an Archaeological Site Survey Short Form, completing it and mailing it to the Kentucky Archaeological Survey. We will do the rest and provide you with the archaeological site number, we obtain from the University of Kentucky Office of State Archaeology.

Because the official form is eight pages long, the Kentucky Archaeological Survey developed a shortened version for people who want to report sites, but who do not have the time or experience to complete the long form. We hope the short survey form will make it easier for you to report prehistoric and historic archaeological sites.

-From the Kentucky Heritage Council

Common Questions

Many landowners fear that reporting sites may in some way restrict their rights or use of their property. This is not true. All reports remain strictly confidential and records are not available to the public and may only be used by professional archaeologists, researchers and land managers/land-use planners.

Reporting sites in no way jeopardizes site ownership nor does it mean that a recorded site must be open to the public for visitation. Recording a site contributes to our understanding of Kentucky’s past and is a way to preserve the past for the future. Knowing where sites are means we can avoid destroying them inadvertently through construction or development: we cannot protect something if we do not know that it exists.

-From the Kentucky Heritage Council