View Poll Results: Take it or leave it?

Voters
50. You may not vote on this poll
  • Yes, I'd take it and add it to my collection of "stuff"

    18 36.00%
  • Yes, I'd take it and donate it to a Historical Society or museum.

    10 20.00%
  • No, I wouldn't take it under any circumstances.

    13 26.00%
  • No, I wouldn't take it, but it would bother me knowing it was there.

    9 18.00%
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Thread: Take it or leave it? A questions of ethics.

  1. #21
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    So far no one has mentioned the Antiquities Act of 1905, which prohibits collection of items more than 80 years old (or something like that) from historic sites.

    It was in effect during the bottle collecting craze of the 1950s and 1960s. It's still in effect now.

    The vast majority of people were ignorant of the law. Many were decieved by all those neat old Desert Magazine articles about collecting desert relics.

    In recent years the government has started enforcing it again. About a dozen years ago a man in Ridgecrest, California was arrested and imprisioned for all the stuff he stole and was found in his possession.

    Me? I've come across many neat things over the years. I've had a working relationship with the area museums and I'd take photos and detailed notes and lately GPS coordinates on where the stuff is so that they can do what they feel is best - take it or leave it. Sometimes an archaeological team was sent to investigate.

    But I will admit to having an 1872 quarter I found in Candelaria, Nevada that I found in the 1970s while I was ignorant of the law.
    David A. Wright
    Quote: "Happy Trails To You, Until We Meet Again!"

  2. #22
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    Thanks for posting that info, makes that decision a whole lot easier!
    Last edited by AZBang; 11-03-2009 at 06:25 AM.
    Gran Gran keeps a box of spiders.
    She says they're on me when I sleep.
    Waiting in the out-house for me.
    underneath the seat.

  3. #23
    Darin's Avatar
    Darin is offline Rock Crawlin GPS Moving Map Totin Trailblazing Expert Ghost Towner
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    My last trip to Eastern Washington proved to be somewhat of an eye opener when we went to the local museum in one town. The curators of the place had been talking to us about the bottle collecting that is still going on to this day. They said that they collect bottles from the neighboring town which is now pretty much gone, but relics remain near the mines. They go and collect the bottles and put them up for sale as souvineers at their museum and charge an outrageous fortune for the little bottles that are the same about the same size as airplane alcohol bottles. Needless to say, the "Better Half" had to have one since they were for sale so, a fortune was spent...on a friggin' big one!

    So I would further my sleuthing in finding out just what a "curator" would do when such a find is brought forth to them.

    They also said that other people in town collect them for decoration and sales as well...guess the whole town is into breaking the Antiquities Act.

  4. #24
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    I took 3 things - once - and as time went by I regretted the decision to take them. I can't return them to the source - as I have lost the pieces. (I think that was a divine decision - they were not mine to keep in the first place). They were not from here in the states, and they were quite ancient - man-made items from a double digit year. I have told my story to park visitors - in the hope that my confession would enlighten them from taking anything.

    Thanks to David for bringing up the Antiquities Act. I tell people about that too.
    Kathy

  5. #25
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    Dec 2003
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    Quote Originally Posted by Darin View Post
    So I would further my sleuthing in finding out just what a "curator" would do when such a find is brought forth to them.
    Fortunately, I had a long term working relationship with the museums in eastern California and know they went out of their way to protect sites.

    One example is San Carlos, Inyo County, California.

    http://www.ghosttowns.com/states/ca/sancarlos.html

    In the early part of this decade, I took a couple of friends to the townsite and found the whole town dug up. It appeared to be a large scale, systematic digging for anything the perpetrators could find. On the San Carlos page, all the images are mine, including a couple of the damage.

    I've been on an archeologocial dig with the BLM at a ghost town near Death Valley, and there were some similarities at San Carlos ( http://www.gbr.4wdtrips.net/trips/reilly.htm ). It was obvious that either a couple of people spent days unmolested digging up the town (which I doubt) or numerous people did so. Though off the beaten path, somebody had to have come along - the City of Los Angeles checking their power lines that run through the site, or doing work along the Owens River; explorers along the old narrow gauge railroad bed or somebody.

    I notified Bill Michaels at Eastern California Museum. He downloaded my digital images to his computer. He notified and consulted with various state and federal agencies; all of which stated they knew nothing about any digging nor did they issue permits for a scientific archeological dig (based upon my experience on such true diggings, they don't leave the site a shambles like San Carlos was left).

    Likely nothing has come of it, it happened in 2002 and I've moved to Nevada since then. Bill is no longer with Eastern California Museum, but now living and working farther north.

    The government didn't really enforce the Antiquities Act for decades. It's only recently, with the cultural shift to preserve history, that the old law was dusted off and enforced again.

    Same thing for Native American artifacts. When I was a kid growing up in the 1950s and 1960s, arrowhead collecting was normal and a fun past time. Try that now days and find out what will likely happen ...
    Last edited by David A. Wright; 11-03-2009 at 07:43 PM.
    David A. Wright
    Quote: "Happy Trails To You, Until We Meet Again!"

  6. #26
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    Well I got an arrowhead off our property and I believe that as long as it's on your own property they can't do anything about it.
    Rachel in Utah ghost_town_huntress@yahoo.com
    It's not fun 'till I get hurt!

  7. #27
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    campp is offline Rawk Crawlin GPS Totin Ghost Towning Expert
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    I found pottery shards in my backyard in both of my last two houses. Reburied on the spot.

  8. #28
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    campp is offline Rawk Crawlin GPS Totin Ghost Towning Expert
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    I have seen several small "shrines" in the Grand Canyon floor at various locations, with a circle of rocks outlining a small collection of arrowheads and interesing shards. They remain undisturbed year after year, as most of the floor hikers are aware it is not theirs to take. I find that very refreshing.

  9. #29
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    Oct 2005
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    North Bend, Oregon
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    "TAKE ONLY PHOTOS, LEAVE ONLY FOOTPRINTS"

    If we all took "just one thing", there would be nothing left! I take pictures and am very happy to remember stuff through them.

  10. #30
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    Dec 2009
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    No. Calif.
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    I would not take anything other than photos, period.

    I do find it odd that, collectively, everyone here agrees that vandalism at many of our historic ghost towns is appalling, disgusting and to many, bordering on criminal.

    But isn't stealing also a form of vandalism?

    The excuses are numerous, but excuses just the same. Just because one may find a clever way of phrasing what they find appalling and wrong when others do so, does not make it right nor any less destructive or legal.

    One of the reasons so many of our beloved Ghost Towns are in such poor condition (other than nature taking its course) is due to the fact that too many will, do and continue to justify their actions, as seen by some of the responses here and as evidenced at far too many locations.

    Taking items to "preserve" them when one is not a specialist in a given field is not helping history or historical sites, it is destructive to them.

    I just hope I can make it to some of these sites before others "preserve" them into oblivion.

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