Archaeologists: Relic Hunters Destroying NC Sites

Archaeologists say amateur relic hunters are destroying historical sites in North Carolina's national forests.

The Citizen-Times of Asheville reports ( ) that looting has increased at western North Carolina sites where Native Americans lived thousands of years ago. The number of known violations of a federal law designed to protect archaeological sites has nearly doubled in recent years, to roughly two dozen annually.

Forest Archaeologist Rodney Snedeker says the U.S. Forest Service has documented about 3,000 archaeological sites across Pisgah and Nantahala national forests, but only 20 percent of the forests have been inventoried.

David Moore, who runs the archaeology program at Warren Wilson College, says the vandals are usually looking for artifacts such as stone tools, spear points and arrowheads. He says digging into an archaeological site destroys it.