Permit for Archaeological Field Investigation on State-Controlled Land
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Pursuant to the Virginia Antiquities Act (§10.1-2301 through 2303 Code of Virginia), DHR has the responsibility to coordinate all archaeological study on state-owned and -controlled land and is given exclusive right and privilege to conduct field investigations on state lands, but may grant those privileges to others through a permit process. All permit applications must include a specific study area, detailed justification and methodology, reporting and curation plan, and land-owner permission. A qualified archaeologist who will complete the work must be identified at the time of application.

Permit for the Archaeological Excavation of Human Remains

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General cemetery protection laws make it a felony to remove human remains from a grave without a court order or appropriate permit. Pursuant to the Virginia Antiquities Act (§10.1-2305 Code of Virginia), DHR may permit archaeological field investigations involving the removal of human remains and artifacts from graves. All permit applications must include a provision for appropriate public notice prior to issuance of a permit, a treatment and analysis plan, and a plan for the disposition of the remains upon completion of the research. A qualified  archaeologist and physical anthropologist or similar professional must be identified at the time of application.

Cave Collection Permit

Pursuant to the Cave Protection Act (§ 10.1-1000 Code of Virginia) a permit shall be obtained from the Department of Conservation and Recreation prior to excavating or removing any archaeological, paleontological, prehistoric, or historic feature of any cave. DHR must concur that the permit is in the best interest of the Commonwealth and that the applicant is qualified and recognized in the appropriate field of study. All permit applications must include a detailed statement of the objectives and expected benefit of the project. The prior written permission of the owner of the site is required. Contact DCR’s Natural Heritage Division for more information.

Underwater Exploration or Recovery Permits

Pursuant to § 10.1-2214 Code of Virginia, the Virginia Marine Resources Commission has the authority to permit underwater archaeological investigations on historic resources on bottomlands owned by the Commonwealth. DHR is consulted prior to the issuance of the permits and is charged with determining which properties are historic.  Contact VMRC for more information.