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Permits for Archaeology on State Property

Excavation of canal boat in Cumberland, Allegany County Canal boat excavations on Maryland's C & O Canal.

In Maryland, permits are required to perform archaeological investigations on state-owned lands, state-controlled lands, in caves, and on certain private properties.  This includes state-owned or state-controlled submerged lands.

Terrestrial Permits

State law generally requires that a permit be obtained from the Maryland Historical Trust’s Office of Archaeology prior to conducting any archaeological investigation or any other activity that may affect archaeological resources on state-owned or state-controlled land, in any cave, and on certain designated private property. 

Property owners are not required to obtain a permit for activities on land they own. 

» Application for Permit, Terrestrial Archaeology

» Instructions

For more information on terrestrial permits, contact Dr. Zachary Singer, State Terrestrial Archaeologist, at (410) 697-9544.

Underwater Permits

In Maryland, State waters include tidal waters up to the mean high tide line and three miles from the coastline, and non-tidal waters within the boundaries of the state that were navigable under the laws of the United States as of April 28, 1788, up to the ordinary high water mark.  The MHT regulates and manages all prehistoric and historic cultural remains in, partially in, or submerged beneath State waters.

A permit is not required to inspect, study, explore, photograph, measure, record, conduct a reconnaissance survey, or otherwise use and enjoy a submerged archaeological historic property if the use or activity does not:

  • involve excavation, destruction, or substantive injury of the historic property or its immediate environment;
  • endanger other persons or property; or
  • violate other regulations or provisions of federal, State, or local law.

Any other activities may require a permit to be obtained.

For copies of the relevant regulations, permit application procedures, or more information, contact Dr. Susan Langley, State Underwater Archaeologist, at 410-697-9564.