Rogers State University officials are reminding the public that excavating on campus grounds without a proper permit from the Oklahoma State Archaeologist is a criminal offense.
Local residents this week have come to the RSU campus with metal detectors and shovels following the weekend discovery of military artifacts on the grounds. RSU operated as the Oklahoma Military Academy for more than 50 years before it closed its doors as a military school in 1971. During cadet training, OMA would use inert (or “dummy”) mortar shells during artillery practice on the undeveloped portions of what is now the RSU campus. One such inert shell was found Saturday in a remote part of campus, and it was later removed from RSU’s grounds.
According to Oklahoma law, exploring for artifacts or excavating on state property without proper permits from the state archaeologist is a misdemeanor that carries a fine of up to $500. Any items acquired in violation of the law would be forfeited back to the state, pending their return to their rightful owner. [53 O.S. § 361(J)]
The university welcomes the public to campus and encourages use of the RSU Nature Reserve for walking or enjoying the natural scenery. However, digging on campus could damage or sever the campus’ underground utility lines, including ones that run through the Nature Reserve.
For the safety of students, employees and visitors, RSU will be stepping up its enforcement of unauthorized exploration or excavation on campus. If you see anyone who appears to be searching for artifacts on campus, excavating or demonstrating unusual activity, you are asked to immediately call RSU Campus Police at 918-343-7624.