Dumps and the Law
What does the law say about digging historical dumps?
Most people digging dumps, for bottles, as well as people using metal-detectors on battlefields and old dwellings don't realize that there is a law protecting these historical resources. What they further don't realize that participating in these hobbies, without the necessary permits, is seen as a crime.
In South Africa the law protecting dumps is the National Heritage Resources Act, Act 25 of 1999. This law, as published in the Government Gazette on the 28th of April 1999, repeals the National Monument Act, Act 28 of 1969. The part of this act that has an influence on dump digging is Chapter II, Part 2.35 paragraph 4.
This paragraph states that:
"No person may, without a permit issued by the responsible heritage resources authority-
There must be kept in mind that the artifacts (bottles, etc) recovered in these dumps are seen as archaeological material or objects and falls perfectly into this Act.
In plainer terms this Act forbids the digging of dumps without a permit issued to do so. The procedure is as follows.
The complications of breaking this Law can imply a fine of up to R500 000 or three years imprisonment.
All the above sounds like a whole lot of trouble and difficulty to go through. It must be said though that the two bodies are mostly very rational about these sites if you follow there rules. These rules would most likely be to carry a permit and respecting any research that they order on the dump before further destruction.
If you would like more information on this specific area of research (dumps) or statements of the Law on these resources mail Gerard de Kamper (Archaeologist) at firstname.lastname@example.org