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General Laws

Section 180. It shall be the duty and responsibility of the board to encourage the discovery and reporting of and to protect and preserve historical, scientific and archaeological information about underwater archaeological resources located within the inland and coastal waters of the commonwealth. Title to underwater archaeological resources located within the inland and coastal waters of the commonwealth is hereby declared to be in the commonwealth.

“Underwater archaeological resources”, shall mean any of the following which have historical value: abandoned properties, artifacts, treasure trove or sunken ships, which have remained unclaimed for one hundred years or more or which are valued at five thousand dollars or more, within the inland or coastal waters of the commonwealth as defined in section one of chapter one hundred and thirty and section one of chapter one hundred and thirty-one, respectively, or upon lands thereunder, or any other objects one hundred years old or judged by the board to be of historical value which are located inside, upon or around said resources.

Said board shall:

(1) cooperate with all departments, boards, officials and institutions of the commonwealth and its political subdivisions that are concerned with matters under its supervision;

(2) cooperate and consult with appropriate federal agencies or the agencies of other states;

(3) determine after a public hearing, if the board deems such a hearing in the public interest, whether certain objects found under the waters of the commonwealth are of historical value.

Said board may:

(1) enter into agreements relative to the federal administration and enforcement of underwater exploration and removal or salvage of underwater archaeological resources beyond the coastal waters of the commonwealth;

(2) apply for, receive and expend such federal funds or private grants as may be available therefor and accept gifts, contributions and bequests of funds, equipment and property from individuals, organization, and government entities, in carrying out its duties;

(3) request assistance from appropriate state and local agencies and private organizations and individuals.

The director, with the approval of the board, shall:

(1) adopt, after public hearing, such rules and regulations regarding reporting and permit requirements for the removal and salvage of underwater archaeological resources as will insure the protection of their historical and educational value;

(2) grant permits in accordance with section sixty-three of chapter ninety-one to qualified persons, organizations, or corporations for the orderly salvage or removal of underwater archaeological resources;

(3) oversee the salvage and recovery operations by said permit holders;

(4) compile and maintain an inventory of underwater archaeological resources reported and recovered under the provisions of this section and section sixty-three of chapter ninety-one, which shall not be a public record; and.

(5) designate underwater archaeological preserves to provide special protection to those underwater archaeological resources of substantial historical value reported under the provisions of this section and section sixty-three of chapter ninety-one.

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