Metal detecting is a popular activity in Suffolk, the results of which can be very useful to help interpret the underlying archaeology. Follow the guidance below to ensure you follow best practice when metal detecting.
You must obtain permission from the landowner and tenant (both should be consulted) before using a metal detector anywhere. This includes land which is publicly accessible, such as beaches, footpaths, or council-owned land. The Crown Estate owns much of the coastal foreshore and issues permits for metal detecting.
Ask the landowner if their land is subject to land management schemes and to check if metal detecting infringes the terms of the scheme. If this is the case the landowner will need to request a derogation. Check with the landowner whether there are any environmental designations (e.g. Site of Special Scientific Interest) and especially any Scheduled Monuments on or near the proposed area, which would need to be avoided.
Agree the terms of the ownership of finds in writing with the landowner before you start, as legally all objects belong to the landowner, except treasure as defined by the Treasure Act 1996.
The National Council of Metal Detecting have a template permission agreement
In the Field
Record all your finds with your local Finds Liaison Officer, who can help you identify and interpret your finds and so that the archaeological information is available for the future.
Report any object of possible Treasure. It is a legal obligation to report all finds of Treasure to the Coroner within 14 days. The Suffolk Finds Recording Team can help with this and the Suffolk FLOs report all treasure finds to the coroner on the finders behalf.
How do I look after my finds?
Metal objects can be gently cleaned with water to remove loose soil and then should be kept as dry as possible. Avoid cleaning the surface too vigorously or using corrosive substances, as this can damage the object in the long term. Pottery and flint can be gently washed in water.
The Portable Antiquities Scheme's Conservation Guide has more advice on how to properly care for your findsDownload (PDF)at finds.org »
National Code of PracticeThe National Code of Practice for Responsible Metal Detecting offers more detailed information and advice. Watch the video below or download the PDF at finds.org.uk
Code of Practice for Responsible Metal Detecting in England and Wales
by the Portable Antiquities Scheme
This short video explains the Code of Practice for Responsible Metal Detecting in England and Wales. If undertaken responsibly metal-detecting can make an important contribution to archaeological knowledge. This film aims to provide guidance for metal-detectorists who wish to contribute to our understanding of the history of England and Wales. It combines both the requirements of finders under the law, as well as more general voluntary guidance on accepted best practice.
1st November 2021
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