The Alabama Underwater Cultural Resources Act Page

As some of you may know, the Federal government & in particular the State Of Alabama Historical Commission passed legislation in 1999 that severely limits the rights of relic hunters, divers & outdoorsmen. While the Federal legislation applies mainly to Federal lands (and rightly so), the act that the State Of Alabama has passed applies to anything underwater anywhere in the state.....on public or private lands. While the need to protect our history and cultural resources is certainly important to everyone, we feel that this law is overly restrictive in limiting the rights of the regular citizen from pursuing an innocent hobby. As it is currently written, you could be charged with a felony for gold panning, or for picking up an arrowhead or a discarded 1953 or older Coke bottle from any creek bank anywhere in the state. In addition, while explaining all the penalties involved (felonies), there are no provisions indicated in which the state intends to preserve or excavate the artifacts themselves.

They don't have the resources or plans to do anything, they just know that they don't want you to!

Below is a description of this act, what we think about it, and our proposal for rewording this act. In addition, as we have continued to work toward publicizing the unconstitutionality of this act, we have accumulated a great deal of documentation, press, mail, etc. I encourage you to look over everything that we have here, and to get involved by notifying your legislator of your displeasure with this act as it is currently written. Contact your Alabama state legislators regarding this issue via their Email address which can be found at

We have scanned in most of these documents in an Adobe Acrobat format. If you need the Acrobat Reader, you can download & install it free from here  first.

The Latest Information & Changes

February 18, 2006 & April 13, 2006 press release ====>    SUCCESS

The Bill & The Law

Original House Bill by Representative Turner -     page1     page2     page3     page4

Alabama Underwater Cultural Resources Act that was passed -     page1     page2     page3

Alabama Underwater Cultural Resources Act Regulations -     page1     page2     page3     page4     page5     page6     page7

Alabama Historical Commission Administrative Code - page1    page2    page3    page4    page5    page6    page7    page8    page9

Newspaper Articles about the State Law - June 21, 1999 article about law - page1

Montgomery Advertiser Article About The Law - page1


The Letters We Wrote At This Point

Proposed Diver Friendly Version of the Act and Relevant Letters - page1    page2    page3

      April 21, 2000 Letter to Tim Parker from Steve Phillips    page1    page2

      April 12, 2000 Proposed Draft Letter to Jim Bennett - page1           April 12, 2000 Proposed Draft Letter to all - page1

      April 27, 2000 Representative Tim Parker's Suggestion - page1        January 15, 2001 Letter to Steve Phillips from Tim Parker - page1

      January 3, 2001 Letter For Proposed Draft - page1      January 3, 2001 Letter to Legislators - page1

      January 3, 2001 Letter to Tim Parker from Steve Phillips - page1        March 13, 2001 Letter to Greg Rhinehart - page1

      November 13, 2000 Letter to Tim Parker from Steve Phillips - page1


Background & Definitions

Definitions - archaeologist     historian    salvage    salvor    deaccession

Alabama Recognized Historical Sites    page1            National Register Criteria    page1

Employee List for the Alabama Historical Commission - page1     page2     page3     page4

Environmental Working Group Pollution Report for the Alabama River    page1    page2        Alabama Environmental Facts    page1


Letters Protesting the Underwater Cultural Resources Act

        April 14, 2000 Protest Letter to State Legislators - page1        August 26, 1999 Letter to Elizabeth Brown - page1    

August 26, 1999 Letter to Elizabeth Brown                            November 13,2000 Protest Letter to Lee Warner - page1    page2

        October 14, 1999 Protest Letter - page1

Permit request Letters     October 7, 1999 Permit Request Letter mailed to Elizabeth Brown - page1

                                    October 7, 1999 Permit Request Letter #2 faxed  to Elizabeth Brown - page1

                                    January 5, 2000 Permit Request Letter #3 mailed to Lee Warner - page1

Correspondence with Gov. Don Siegelman

                                    April 20, 2000 Letter to Gov. Siegelman - page1

                                    April 28, 2000 Letter from Gov. Siegelman - page1    page2

Correspondence with Lee Warner                

                                    November 4, 1999 Letter - page1    page2                    April 12, 2000 Letter - page1    page2

Correspondence with Representative Chris Pringle    

                                   May 2, 2000 Letter to Elizabeth Brown - page1                May 2, 2000 Letter to Steve Phillips - page1  

                                   June 23, 2000 Letter from Lee Warner - page1                August 16, 2000 Letter from Steve Phillips - page1

                                   November 13, 2000 Letter from Steve Phillips - page1    January 3, 2001 Letter from Steve Phillips - page1

                                   January 24, 2001 Letter to Steve Phillips - page1 

December 5, 2000 Letter to Dr. Angelo Mancuso        page1    page2            March 8, 2001 Greg Rhinehart email       page1


October 20, 2004 Letter from Bob Cox of Gulf Coast Divers     Letter


Related Info

1981 Historical Commission Letter to the Alabama Gun Collectors Association    page1

Article on Historical Commission Budget Cuts October 17, 2003    page1    page2

Indian Burial Ground Watch    page1    page2    page3                Florida Isolated Finds    page1    page2    page3

Georgia Museum of Natural History    page1    page2    page3    page4    

Confederate Memorial Park Museum Layout    page1    page2        Steve Phillips' Section of Confederate Memorial Park    page3


Arrest Records & News Articles

Police Report    page1    page2    List of Artifacts Found and Then Stolen by Tom Mayer    page1    

List of  Personal Property Stolen By The State of Alabama    page1        Arraignment Date Notice    page1

News Articles About the Arrest   

            Birmingham News article    page1 article    page1        WSFA Channel 12    page1 

            Alabama Archives    page1                  Tuscaloosa News Article    page1    page2           

             Selma Times Newspaper Article    page1    page2    Article    page1    page2

A January 11 '04 article from The Birmingham News   Sent Up The River

             Associated Press article of 4/30/04 page1

Perry Massie's Article    page1                        Outdoor Channel OTC Report    page1 article    page1    page2    page3 Article    page1    page2

December '04 article about Steve locating a murder weapon

Copy of the charges to the jury     court1    court2    court3  


Alabama Historical Association Related News Articles

State Of Alabama Board Of Examiners Report (AUDIT) on the AHC     report        Associated Press Article On The Audit     article    Archaeology Heist Revealed In Alabama    article

The Birmingham News Editorial on the audit 3/23/05     page1        Mobile Register Article 3/20/05     page1       

"The notion that a radical is one who hates his country is na´ve and usually idiotic. He is, more likely, one who likes his country more than the rest of us, and is thus more disturbed than the rest of us when he sees it debauched. He is not a bad citizen turning to crime; he is a good citizen driven to despair."  H. L. Mencken

Here are some links to Federal government regulations & guidelines relating to this issue.

Abandoned Shipwreck Act Guidelines       Cultural Resources Laws, Regulations & Standards

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