Thomas Jefferson once said, "Ignorance of the law is no excuse in any country. If it were, the laws would lose their effect, because it can always be pretended."

Bank robbery and stealing a vehicle are obviously illegal activities. On the other hand you might not realize that, for example, spitting in public is illegal in parts of New York State. So, what about finding and keeping an arrowhead? The confusion is that it can be legal or illegal In New York, depending where you are.

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According to Arrowhead Hunting there are millions of arrowheads scattered on the ground around North America. Some of the best places to find arrowheads are along rivers, lakes and other water sources. This is where Indians would traditionally camp and you are are more likely to find artifacts.

So, if there are millions of arrowheads on the ground from coast to cost, what's the harm in starting your own collection of found arrowheads?

518 news, arrowheads, New York State
Anton Maksimov

The United States Forest Service is very clear that it is illegal and unethical to collect artifacts, such as arrowheads, on public land. So, if you are on New York State property and find an arrowhead, leave it there. These artifacts are protected by State and Federal laws.

You may take a picture of the artifacts (arrowheads, bottles, pottery) but you should not touch them or dig around them. Simply report what you have found and where you found it to the National Forest office.

Indian artifacts in New York
Getty Images

If you find an arrowhead, coins, cans or any manmade items on private property you may collect those items as long as you have permission.

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