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Report a discovery

If you discover an archaeological artefact that you think may be important you must:

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 make a decision 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 in order 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.