For responsible Metal Detecting in England and Wales

Before You Go Metal-Detecting: Guidelines to Follow

1. Not trespassing; Before you start detecting, obtain permission to search from the landowner/occupier, regardless of the land’s status or perceived status.

Remember that all land has an owner; to avoid subsequent disputes, it is always advisable to get permission and agreement in writing first regarding the ownership of any finds subsequently discovered (see and

2. Adhering to the laws concerning protected sites (e.g., those defined as Scheduled Monuments or Sites of Special Scientific Interest: you can obtain details of these from the landowner/occupier, Finds Liaison Officer or Historic Environment Record

Take extra care when detecting near protected sites: for example, it is not always clear where the boundaries lie on the ground.

3. We strongly recommend you join a metal detecting club or association that encourages cooperation and responsive exchanges with other responsible heritage groups. Details of metal-detecting organizations can be found at /
4. Familiarise yourself with and follow current conservation advice on the handling, caring, and storing of archaeological objects (see

While you are metal detecting:

5. Wherever possible, work on the ground that has already been disturbed (such as ploughed land or that which has formerly been ploughed) and only within the depth of ploughing. If detection takes place on undisturbed pasture, ensure that no damage is done to the archaeological value of the Land, including earthworks.
6. Minimising any ground disturbance using suitable tools and reinstating excavated material as neatly as possible. Endeavor not to damage stratified archaeological deposits.
7. Recording findspots as accurately as possible for all finds (i.e., to at least a one hundred meter square, using an Ordnance Survey map or hand-held Global Positioning Systems (GPS) device) while in the field.

The bag finds individually and records the National Grid Reference (NGR) on the bag. Findspot information should not be passed on to other parties without the agreement of the landowner/occupier (see also clause 9).
8. Respect the Country Code (leave gates and property as you find them and do not damage crops, frighten animals, disturb ground nesting birds, and dispose properly of litter: see

After you have been metal-detecting:

9. Reporting any finds to the relevant landowner/occupier; and (with the agreement of the landowner/occupier) to the Portable Antiquities Scheme so that the information can pass into the local Historic Environment Record. Both the Country Land and Business Association ( and the National Farmers Union ( support the reporting of finds. Details of your local Finds Liaison Officer can be found at, by e-mail at, or by phone at 020 7323 8611.
10. Abiding by the provisions of the Treasure Act and Treasure Act Code of Practice (www., wreck law (, and export licensing. If you need advice, your local Finds Liaison Officer can help you.
11. Seeking expert help if you discover something large below the ploughed soil, a concentration of finds or unusual material, or wreck remains, and ensuring that the Landowner/occupier’s permission is obtained.

Your local Finds Liaison Officer may be able to help or will be able to advise an appropriate person. Reporting the find does not change your rights of discovery but will result in far more archaeological evidence being discovered.
12. Call the Police, and notify the landowner/occupier, if you find traces of human remains.
13. Call the Police or HM Coastguard, and notify the landowner/occupier, if you find anything that may be a live explosive: do not use a metal detector or mobile phone nearby as this might trigger an explosion. Do not attempt to move or interfere with any such explosives.
Finding out more about archaeology:
You can find out more about the archaeology of your area from the Historic Environment Records maintained by local authority archaeology services (in England) and the Welsh archaeological trusts (see contact lists at and www.ggat org UK/fourwelshtrusts.htm)
For further information, contact the Council for British Archaeology (Tel 01904 71417 /, which can also supply details of local archaeology societies.