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Illegal Relic Hunting Reported at Gettysburg National Military Park
The ground near Spangler's Spring on the Gettysburg battlefield was seen torn and damaged Saturday July 7th.
Holes appeared to have been dug into the grass. Areas were taped off and signs were posted to keep out the public.
Law enforcement personnel are investigating an incident of illegal relic hunting and digging that occurred in the area 149 years after Confederate and Union soldiers fought there.
Staff at Gettysburg National Military Park reported the torn ground on Saturday and it's believed the incident took place sometime during the weekend, according to park spokeswoman Katie Lawhon.
Park staff was conducting interpretive programs when they discovered 23 holes dug into the ground. Such incidents occur about two or three times a year, Lawhon said, sometimes by those who are unaware their actions are illegal.
Archeologists are now investigating the holes for clues, and rangers are asking anyone with information to contact the park office.
Park officials have voiced concerns in the past of professional relic hunters in camouflage who make a business out of digging and selling artifacts with the use of expensive metal detectors.
The use of metal detectors on the battlefield, as well as digging or hunting for relics is a violation of federal law and those found guilty face harsh fines and penalties.
Under the law, costly fines can be imposed for simply digging, regardless of whether an artifact was recovered.
The maximum penalty for a violation is a $100,000 fine and 10 years in jail.