YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) – To find an old object with history behind it can be really exciting. Sometimes, visitors can find archeological objects in Yosemite, and Park Rangers advise visitors what to do if they encounter an old object on the park grounds.

Park Rangers say they received a heavy package containing a hand-carved soapstone bowl accompanied by a handwritten note in June. The bowl was of American Indian origin; the note revealed that it had been found several years prior, and the sender had decided to send it to the park for curation.

Officials say the item was found outside of the park on private property. The stories these pieces can tell extend far beyond the physical item, and sometimes the most important information comes from the original resting place itself.

It is unlikely Park Rangers would ever know any more about the soapstone bowl.

Park Rangers say if visitors see something on the ground that looks old, to please leave it in place because they might be having a private moment with a piece of Yosemite’s past.

They also say there are many human-made items that they want to be removed from the park such as modern trash. However, not all archeology in North America is ancient, and lots of historic archeology can mimic things discarded nowadays.

If visitors volunteer their time to pick up trash in Yosemite, they need to remember that federal law covers objects starting at 50 years old, so an embossed glass Coke bottle or a rusty can with a “zip tab” from 1973 falls under the archeological protection laws.

Park Rangers say if visitors want to report findings, they can take a picture of the object and send it to yose_archeology@nps.gov with a description of the location. Coordinates or a pin on a map could work.