27:5J-1 Archaeological findings on property of DOT, various authorities, protected.
7. a. (1) Except as may be provided pursuant to subsection c. of this section, no person may alter, deface, destroy, disturb, or remove any archaeological findings on any lands or rights-of-way owned by the Department of Transportation, the New Jersey Transit Corporation, the New Jersey Turnpike Authority, or the South Jersey Transportation Authority, without written permission from the respective administrative body as appropriate. As used in this section, "archaeological findings" shall include, but need not be limited to, relics, objects, fossils, or artifacts of an historical, prehistorical, geological, paleontological, archaeological or anthropological nature.
(2)As a condition of granting permission pursuant to paragraph (1) of this subsection, the owner of the property or right-of-way shall require that all excavation and exploration for archaeological findings be conducted in the least destructive manner possible. The owner of the property or right-of-way may also, in its discretion, require a person or persons granted such permission to consult with the owner of the property or right-of-way prior to undertaking an approved project to verify that the methods and techniques selected are the least destructive and most appropriate to the site.
(3)No person may sell, transfer, exchange, transport, purchase, receive or offer to sell, transfer, exchange, transport, purchase or receive any archaeological findings originating on any lands or right-of-ways owned by the Department of Transportation, the New Jersey Transit Corporation, the New Jersey Turnpike Authority or the South Jersey Transportation Authority without the written permission of the owner of the property or right-of-way as appropriate.
b.A person who knowingly violates, or who solicits or employs any other person to violate, the provisions of subsection a. of this section shall be subject to the following penalties: a fine of not less than $750 nor more than $1,500 for the first offense; a fine of not less than $1,500 nor more than $3,000 for the second offense; and a fine of not less than $3,000 nor more than $5,000 for any subsequent offense. Penalties assessed pursuant to this subsection shall be collected in a civil action by a summary proceeding. Any vessel, vehicle or equipment used in the commission of the violation shall be subject to confiscation and forfeiture to the owner of the property or right-of-way, if warranted, as determined by the courts. All fines collected shall be remitted to the Department of Environmental Protection to be used for Statewide preservation, remediation or protection of archaeological sites. Further, restitution and damages may be ordered to compensate the owner of the property or right-of-way for the cost of remediating any violation of this section and for the value of any lost, damaged, or destroyed archaeological findings. The owner of the property or right-of-way shall consult with the Department of Environmental Protection for proper remediation of affected lands. Any archaeological findings obtained as a result of a violation of this section shall be subject to confiscation, forfeiture, and return to the proper owner. Upon recovery, the archaeological findings shall be deposited with the Department of Environmental Protection for verification of ownership. The Department of Environmental Protection shall adopt, pursuant to the "Administrative Procedure Act," P.L.1968, c.410 (C.52:14B-1 et seq.), rules and regulations to ensure the appropriate disposition of any confiscated, forfeited, or returned archaeological findings. The return of archaeological findings to the owner of the property or right-of-way shall be made upon verification of ownership by the Department of Environmental Protection that the owner of the property or right-of-way owns the archaeological findings.
c.The owner of the property or right-of-way shall provide for exceptions to the prohibitions set forth in subsection a. of this section for archaeological findings of de minimis value innocently discovered on any lands or rights-of-way.
d.Notwithstanding any provision of this section to the contrary, examination or retrieval of artifacts, or scientific research, conducted by a State department, agency, commission, authority or corporation otherwise required or permitted by federal or State law are exempt from the provisions of this section.
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Last modified: October 11, 2016