(a) The General Assembly finds that:
(1) Archaeological resources on State lands are an accessible and irreplaceable part of the State's heritage;
(2) These resources are increasingly endangered because of their commercial attractiveness;
(3) Existing State laws do not provide adequate protection to prevent the loss and destruction of these archaeological resources and sites resulting from uncontrolled excavations and pillage; and
(4) There is a wealth of archaeological information which has been legally obtained by private individuals for noncommercial purposes and which could voluntarily be made available to professional archaeologists and institutions.
(b) The purpose of this Article is to secure, for the present and future benefit of the people of North Carolina, the protection of archaeological resources and sites which are on State lands, excluding highway right-of-ways, and to foster increased cooperation and exchange of information among governmental authorities, the professional archaeological community, Indian Tribal governmental authorities and private individuals having collections of archaeological resources and data. (1981, c. 904, s. 2.)