Texas Antiquities

Passport to Texas from Texas Parks and Wildlife

You’re hiking in a state park, and spy something unusual on the side of the trail. You stop to get a closer look, and discover a very old knife. The temptation may be to scoop it up and give it a place of honor on your fireplace mantel. But, Margaret Howard says — that would be illegal.

There’s a particular state law that protects the archeology, and it’s called the Antiquities Code. And it really does protect every single item in our parks that is greater than fifty years old.

Howard is the archeology survey team leader at Parks and Wildlife. Artifacts found in state parks help tell the story of how the land was used, and by whom.

We like to say that these objects belong to all Texans, not any particular Texan. And I think most people would feel bad if they thought that they had taken something that was part of a story and put it on their mantel where it just becomes an object, and its tale is lost.

If you were to find an artifact in a state park, leave it where you found it; it could be part of a known story, or a new story.

And try to alert park personnel and then have them come back. They can make a record of it that we can add to the record we have. If it’s something that we already know about, it expands what we know. And there is, as you said, the chance of discovering something new. But it’s critically important where it was found. And the temptation is to pick something up, and look at it and carry it back.

Learn more about Texas antiquities on the Texas Parks and Wildlife website.

That’s our show for today …For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.

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