Report a discovery

Sites and artefacts related to First Nations peoples’ culture are managed by the Department of Seniors, Disability Services and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships (DSDSATSIP). To report this type of discovery email DSDSATSIP’s Cultural Heritage unit via email to or phone 1300 378 401.

If you discover fossilised or palaeontological remains please contact the Queensland Museum.

If you discover an archaeological artefact that you think may be important in relation to Queensland’s non-Indigenous history you must:

  • stop works
  • contact us immediately by email or phone 13 QGOV (13 74 68) and provide details about the find
  • submit the online form Notification of a discovery
  • not disturb the site of the find for 20 working days unless we give you written permission.

Archaeological artefacts include any relic or remains that relate to past human behaviour. They can be found above, on, or below the land surface, or in State waters. Archaeological artefacts are valuable because they provide evidence about Queensland’s history, often complementing and supplementing written historical records.

Not every artefact is significant. To decide about whether you should report an artefact, consider:

  • how old the site appears
  • how common the artefact might be
  • whether the artefact could relate to a known historic event.

Relatively recent and/or small finds can be important—if in doubt, report your find.

Once a discovery is reported, we will assess it to determine if it is an important source of information about Queensland’s history. Discoveries may be assessed as:

  • not important
  • important and requiring management strategies
  • important and eligible for entry in the Queensland Heritage Register.

In exceptional circumstances we may declare an artefact to be the property of the State to conserve its cultural heritage significance.

Fines apply for anyone failing to report a discovery.

Human remains

If you discover human remains when carrying out development work or similar activities you must notify the Queensland Police immediately. It is an offence to interfere with human remains, buried or not. Queensland Police will determine if the remains are related to a criminal investigation. If the remains are historical you must also report them to us.