the Team at Naturalight Productions The Belize Forums brought to you by
Search

Support Our Sponsors


Destinations Websites

Belize by Naturalight
You Better Belize It!


Southern Belize
Stann Creek
Ambergris Caye
Caye Caulker
Northern Belize
Belize District
Hol Chan
Laughingbird Caye


MORE SPONSORS

Page 1 of 3 1 2 3 >
Topic Options
Rate This Topic
#17550 - 15 October 04 12:16 pm - America/Chicago Metal Detecting
Stephen Coman Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 09 September 04
Posts: 16
Loc: California, USA
My wife and I will be visiying Belize(San Pedro Town) in November. We both like to metal detect. Are there any restrictions or rules controling metal detecting?
_________________________
Steve Coman

Top
#17551 - 17 October 04 7:04 am - America/Chicago Re: Metal Detecting
LanSluder Offline

**

Registered: 04 May 04
Posts: 8109
Loc: USA/Belize
Since nobody else has responded, I'll give you what I know. I haven't checked the law on metal detectors, but I suspect nobody will object. Of course you can't take Maya artifacts out of the country.

--Lan Sluder

Top
#17552 - 17 October 04 8:08 am - America/Chicago Re: Metal Detecting
Zotz7 Offline


Registered: 14 July 04
Posts: 131
Loc: California
I have no idea about specific laws for metal detecting in Belize either. However, it isn't just Maya artifacts that you can't take out (aside from the fact that almost nothing the Maya had or used would set off a metal detector anyways- no metal!). But what you would be highly likely to come across would be historic and colonial artifacts- and you definately cannot take these out of the country either. In fact, it would be considered 'doing archaeology without a permit', hence highly illegal. I would not even consider doing metal detecting in Belize.

Just my two cents!

Top
#17553 - 17 October 04 8:20 am - America/Chicago Re: Metal Detecting
Rick Wilk Offline

***

Registered: 08 April 04
Posts: 138
Loc: Bloomington, Indiana
Actually, most of the things you would find with a metal detector in Belize will put you on the wrong side of the law. The antiquities laws of Belize are very clear - anything more than 50 years old that is found in or on the ground belongs 100% to the people of Belize - NOT to the landowner as US law provides (this makes the US almost unique in the world BTW). Many landowners would not want you looking on their property because if you find a genuine archaeological site (and the law protects ANY site, not just Mayan ones), the government can actually step in and confiscate the land by declaring it an archaeological preserve, and they do not have to offer compensation to the landowner.
It is also completely illegal to look for things in or on the ground on public (Crown) land in Belize without a permit. The fines are substantial and you can even get jail time. This goes for underwater and beaches as well.

Do some people ignore the law? Absolutely. Looting and destruction of ancient and historical archaeological sites in Belize has been rampant, to the point where there are very few sites left that have not been seriously damaged or totally destroyed. But besides the moral issues, I think as a practical matter people are not likely to take kindly to tourists taking part - you would be kind of conspicuous, and likely to be turned in, which would be an unhappy ending to your holiday.

The ancient Maya did not use metal in any quantity until about 1300 AD - so you would be much more likely to find remains of old mahogany/logwood camps or more recent settlements. Again, though many people in Belize seem to think that bottle hunting is an innocent pursuit, it is quite illegal. Why should the heritage of Creole Belizeans - historical slaves and logwood cutters - be any less valuable than that of the ancient Maya? Why shouldn't their history have the same protection? More to the point, we know a hell of a lot more about the way the ancient Maya inhabitants of Belize lived than we know about the Baymen (and women) of the 17th-19th centuries. We don't even know when and where the first logwood cutters settled in any detail. The only way we are ever going to know anything about those times is through archaeology, because there are no records.

Top
#17554 - 17 October 04 10:42 am - America/Chicago Re: Metal Detecting
LanSluder Offline

**

Registered: 04 May 04
Posts: 8109
Loc: USA/Belize
I guess I stand corrected then.

Bottle hunting and bottle collecting are indeed common pursuits in Belize, and quite a number of prominent citizens display them publically. And just about any landowner in Belize will have Maya artifacts and/or colonial artifacts on his or her land somewhere, and many have these items displayed in their homes. It's amazing that the jail at Hattieville isn't filled with these dangerous criminals!

--Lan Sluder

Top
#17555 - 17 October 04 10:54 am - America/Chicago Re: Metal Detecting
LanSluder Offline

**

Registered: 04 May 04
Posts: 8109
Loc: USA/Belize
one other quick note:

The U.S. does have both federal and many state laws which prohibit the removal, and certainly, the sale of historical artifacts, even from private land. Penalties include prison terms. Most notably, Native American artifacts have a high degree of protection (and, in some cases, protected from archeologists).

--Lan Sluder

Top
#17556 - 17 October 04 2:56 pm - America/Chicago Re: Metal Detecting
a601mom Offline


Registered: 19 March 02
Posts: 143
Loc: Redding, Ca,USA
Lan,
In many areas of the US, Northern Calif being one of them, contractors who are starting a large project must have an archeologist standing by to examine contents of any excavations. They may have to stop work and wait until it is decided if this is a major find or if the work can go on. When they dug the anchors for the SunDial Bridge, there was an archeologist there the whole time. (However, we noted that when the Indian Tribal Council built a hotel, they simply enclosed one small area in a chain link fence and had a delay of less than one full day)

Top
#17557 - 17 October 04 3:08 pm - America/Chicago Re: Metal Detecting
Rick Wilk Offline

***

Registered: 08 April 04
Posts: 138
Loc: Bloomington, Indiana
Lan - there is a provision in the antiquities ordinance that allows people who have artifacts in family collections to register them with the Dept. of Archaeology. Back in the 70s I helped register a number of collections in Orange Walk and Corozal Districts, and I believe there was a recent 'amnesty' for people to register.
But you are right, because so many rich and prominent Belizeans have those bottle collections, the law has never been applied to historic artifacts. A lot of work remains to be done to get people to recognize that colonial history deserves as much protection as prehistory. It would help if archaeologists displayed more interest in historical archaeology in Belize - elsewhere in the Caribbean it has become an important part of heritage, and even in Mexico and Guatemala there is now a lot of attention paid to later periods. As far as I know Jim Finamore is the only archaeologist who has ever done major work on Belize history, though Richard Leventhal and Jason Jaeger have been working recently on 19th century Mayan villages in Yalbac.

Top
#17558 - 18 October 04 4:21 am - America/Chicago Re: Metal Detecting
catdance62 Offline


**

Registered: 06 October 03
Posts: 3979
Loc: Texarkana USA
Aside from all that (which was very interesting, actually!), I just wouldn't want to fool with carrying a metal detector around in an airport--too much hassle; I like to pack light!

Top
#17559 - 18 October 04 6:31 am - America/Chicago Re: Metal Detecting
Stephen Coman Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 09 September 04
Posts: 16
Loc: California, USA
Thanks a bunch to all. I think from the responses that we will leave the detectors at home.
_________________________
Steve Coman

Top
Page 1 of 3 1 2 3 >


Moderator:  Barnacle, catdance62, nplwebmaster, Tony 
RSS Feeds & Facebook
  
  Recent Posts


  Belize Photography on Facebook




Add to Google Reader or Homepage

Subscribe in NewsGator Online

Add to My AOL

Add to netvibes

Recent Posts
Protest Belize Style
by britinbelize
Which are the best online floor plan softwares
by D InTheShade
08:54 AM
Guineafowl?
by belizebrad
08:53 AM
Give your views about 3D Colored Floor plan
by FixPlans
02:53 AM
Lumber rental
by freenbelize
03:47 PM
Rosewood Trees
by GZboat
03:06 PM
Canyon Acquisition et al ---
by thecol
09:35 AM
Fix Plans
by Q in Belize
08:10 AM
2014 Belize Murder Rate to End of July
by mikeinco
07:19 AM
2D colored floor plan
by FixPlans
04:10 AM
BOOKS on BELIZE

BookBelize.com | Belizespecials.com | Belize.net | Belizenet.com