Considering to the question of Is it illegal to take a piece of the Berlin Wall, I am interested in knowing what other historical landmarks or sites one can legally and safely take home a piece.

Specifically, how would one determine if an arbitrary landmark has a legal route for acquiring a piece? In the case of the linked question, it was sheer luck that someone who knew a workaround frequents Travel.SE and saw the question.

Consider the avid traveler who might start a personal pebble-sized museum of historical places he had visited. The linked question suggests that he could add the Berlin Wall to his museum. What else could he legally add? The Great Wall of China? The Great Sphinx of Giza?

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    Isn't this the bad kind of list question? Sep 3 '16 at 11:40
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    Your surprising answer is predicated on the site in question being declared as scrap. The two possibilities you name have not been designated as such, and removing things from them should be considered vandalism (and already have problems with people taking things from them). So if you really are serious, then you should make up a list of piles of rubbish with a verifiable provenance. Which I guess will be a very small list.
    – Peter M
    Sep 3 '16 at 12:09
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    @dotancohen: Rule of thumb: If it's recognized as a historical site or a landmark then leave it the * alone. You're twenty something years too late for the Berlin wall. The free for all is over and the last bits are protected because they're the last bits. Anything condemned, under demolition, or forsaken is fair game. I suggest taking your chisel and baggies around some of Saddam's former palaces in Iraq. Sep 3 '16 at 13:25
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    @Berwyn check out #11 nps.gov/grca/planyourvisit/backcountry-regs.htm
    – Kent
    Sep 4 '16 at 6:39
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    If the site is important enough to have a website you may find a line on its website, mostly that reads that you are not allowed to take anything but pictures and often not anything but good memories. I do remember big national parks which had a line on the entry signs stating that taking even one pebble is not allowed.
    – Willeke
    Sep 4 '16 at 7:28

In order to determine this, one could ask:

  1. People with the appropriate authority in local law enforcement (police, etc.) in the jurisdiction in which the monument is located.
  2. If it exists, the management of any museum, memorial center or other such organization related to the site.
  3. Possibly a local lawyer.

Hopefully, they will tell one to go to a giftshop or something like that. Or they may inform one of something like the special hotel in Berlin.

If one got a yes from all these, then I suppose one could go ahead, but only in the exact manner advised.

If one got a "no" from any one of these, I would advise against doing it.

I want to say that I believe it's extremely unlikely that one is going to find a historic landmark where such people will tell one to go ahead and chip off a piece for oneself. If one is looking for that, one will be wasting one's time the vast majority of the time. It's better to go and enjoy one's holiday than to waste one's time in such pursuits.

Moreover, while I understand that some people might be, I would not personally be interested in chipping off a piece of a monument, even with explicit permission. I believe that the beauty of a monument is in the very location, not in taking pieces away for oneself. However, that's beyond the scope of this question.

  • I agree with you on everything but the last; were everyone to take a tiny piece, eventually a very visible dent would appear. Perhaps it would be best to visit the souvenir/gift shop and, if there's a pebble encased in a hunk of plastic, buy it.
    – Giorgio
    Sep 4 '16 at 15:03
  • @Dorothy You're right. Updated.
    – Fiksdal
    Sep 4 '16 at 15:09

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