Mid Plains Prospectors
Know the Law

Metal detecting in Nebraska can get you arrested and land you in jail.  Know the law!

As confusing as the above laws may seem, if you are metal detecting in Nebraska, do not dig anything that you believe is an artifact, or anything that is older than 100 years " Nebraska National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA)", especially if you are on any state lands.  If you want to detect on private property, then be sure you get written permission from the landowner.  For detecting in Nebraska, town, village and city parks, you'll need to check with those local officials.

Metal detecting in Nebraska follows the ARPA (Archeological Resources Preservation Act).

Even though ARPA does not specifically mention "metal detecting", you need to understand what ARPA says about digging artifacts.

Nebraska law according to the ARPA law:

Section 82-507  Public land; prohibited acts; penalty; temporary restraining order or injunction.

1) Any person who knowingly and willfully appropriates, excavates, injures, or destroys any archaeological resource on public land without written permission from the State Archaeology Office is guilty of a Class III misdemeanor. (2) When the State Archaeology Office has cause to believe that a person has engaged in or is engaging in any unlawful conduct prescribed in this section, it may apply for and obtain, in an action in the appropriate district court of this state, a temporary restraining order or injunction, or both, pursuant to the Nebraska rules of civil procedure prohibiting such person from continuing such practices, or engaging therein, or doing any act in furtherance thereof.

Source: Laws 2005, LB 211, 7


State Park Regulations (Metal Detectors)

Chapter 5 - 001.14 Property, Preservation of Public

001.14C The possession and use of metal detectors is prohibited; Provided, possession of such a device is permitted subject to the following provisions:

001.14C1 Metal detectors may be used year around at designated state recreation area swimming beaches posted as open to such activity. During the period May 22 through September 7, usage is restricted to the hours of 6:00 a.m. and 9:00 a.m., daily. Metal detectors must remain below the vegetation line above the beach.

001.14C2 Metal detectors are limited to portable, hand-held devices only and digging equipment is limited to hand tools not exceeding twelve inches in length by four inches in width and sand scoops and sieves not over ten inches in diameter.

001.14C3 Operators of a metal detector shall wear or carry a litter apron or bag, and all litter found is to be deposited in an approved trash receptacle.

001.14C4 Operators may keep any non-identifiable items with a nominal value of less than $25.00. Identifiable items, such as rings, watches, etc., and all other items of value exceeding $25.00 are to be deposited with the park superintendent. These provisions apply to all lost and found articles including those found without the aid of a metal detector.

001.14C5 All historical, archeological or pale ontological items found are to be left undisturbed and their location reported to the park superintendent.

001.14C6 Use of metal detectors in State Parks and State Historical Parks is expressly prohibited except as herein provided.

001.14C7 Owners of lost items may use a metal detector in areas where their use is otherwise prohibited, only upon prior arrangement with the park superintendent.