Should I not talk to archaeologists because they want to take my artifacts?

No! Most archaeologists work at institutions that are not well funded and don’t even have room for the artifacts they already have! Professional archaeologists are interested in the information about past peoples that the artifacts can give. They might ask your permission to photograph them or record your stories of how you found them. But it is unethical for an archaeologist to publish any of this information without your permission.

Why can’t I pick up artifacts from public land when the managers of that land don’t even save them from being washed away/picked up by others/ otherwise removed?

Because it’s against the law! Why not document the artifact information instead? Photograph it on the ground, putting a scale (ruler or even a penny) into the picture, writing some notes on where it occurred. This is how you can make the artifact scientifically valuable but also you can avoid breaking the law and ending up in court or paying huge fines!

If archaeologists find a site on my land, can’t the state take the land away from me?

No! This is America. The government cannot take your land for any reason like this (though they can if they want to put a road through it!).

Where can I go for more information on artifacts I may find?

You can call archaeologists at local universities or the Florida Department of State, Division of Historical Resources.