The Law Regarding Metal
Amended November 2008
This report has been written to provide available
information on the law in other
countries. Every effort has been made
to verify its correctness but anyone wishing
to metal detect overseas should satisfy
themselves of the legal situation at the
time they intend traveling.
Austria, BELGIUM, Cyprus, Denmark, France, Germany,
, Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland, Israel,
Italy, Jersey. Liechtenstein,Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands,
Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey
The use of metal
detectors in archaeological contexts on land or underwater requires
an excavation permission issued by the Austrian Federal Monument Authority
(Bundesdenkmalamt) because such use is considered to
constitute an `excavation for the purpose of discovery and exploration of
movable and immovable monuments' in the sense of Section II of the
Austrian law for the protection of monuments. Such permissions are in
general not issued to private individuals.
Information still awaited.
Under Section 2(1) (a)
of the antiquities law of 1935 (amended 1973) any object
whether movable or part of immovable
property is protected by law.
Section 14 (1) states
that ` no person shall excavate or cause excavations to be made whether on
his own land or elsewhere for the purpose of discovering antiquities
without a license'.
specifically mentioning metal detectors, section 14(1) implicitly rules
them out, nor can a landowner legally
give permission for a search to be carried
out if it results in excavation.
are a number of historical and archaeological sites where it is totally
forbidden to use a metal detector.
On public land it is
the local community that decides whether metal detectors may be used. It
is estimated that approximately 50% of the public land is closed to metal
On public woodland the
forest superv isor decides
whether or not a metal detector may be used. In most cases permission is
There is hardly any
problem on public beaches as to forbid metal detecting would
discriminate against a class of people and, therefore, a child would not be able to use a bucket and spade etc.
from seeking permission of the landowner, no restrictions on private land.
FINDS AND REWARDS
- THE RIGHTS OF THE FINDER
Any coins minted after the coin reform in the 16th century (excact year is 1536 and onwards with the excemption of silver coins weighing more than 9 g and any gold coin regardless of weight) can be retained by the finder. All Coins older than 1536 (as well as any gold coin and silver coins weighing more than 9 g regardless of year) and artefacts must be delivered to the Local museum that will forward the coin or artefact to the National Museum. The finder is awarded a cash sum for the find although, as this is determined by the National Museum, the reward is normally below the market value. It is very rare that the finder is allowed to keep his find if the artefact is of historical value. Local detectorists do however often get artefacts returned by the National Museum.
recognise the benefits to be derived from seeking cooperation not
confrontation and this is improving the relationship.
The method of
calculating rewards is being challenged by the media and will probably
result in change in the future.
All moveable objects,
such as coins, weapons etc over one hundred years old should be reported
with an indication of context (Antiquities Act 1963, Section 16).
This legislation does not rule out the use of metal detectors.
The use of metal
detectors was controlled by the use of the war time Patrimony Act 1941
but, on the 18 December 1989 Law Number 89-900 (NOR: MCCX8900 163L) was
adopted. However see appendix (L542) adopted in 2004.
Article 1: No one may
use metal detecting equipment for the purpose of searching for monuments
and objects which could interest (concern?) prehistory, history, art or
archaeology without first having obtained administrative authorisation issued according to the qualification of the applicant and also the nature
and method of searching.
Article 2: All
publicity and instructions on the use of metal detectors must carry the
warning of the prohibition stated in Article 1, the penalties involved and
also the reason for this legislation.
Article 3: Every
infringement of the present law will be noted by officers, police agents
and other law enforcement officers, as well as by officials, agents
and guardians of Article 3 of the law number 80-532 of 15 July 1980
relative to the protection of public collections against acts of
Article 4: The reports
drawn up by the various persons designated by Article 3 above will, until
proved to the contrary, be given or sent, without delay, to the public
prosecutor of the Republic in the jurisdiction where the offence
Under French law the
enactment of legislation is followed by the Decree which determines how
the law will be applied. In this case the Decree states:
Article 1 The authorisation to use metal detectors, provided for by
Article1 of the 18 December 1989 Law is granted, on the demand of the
interested party, by the license of the Prefect of the region in which the
land to be searched is situated.
The request for authorisation must establish the identity, competence
and experience of the applicant as well as the location, scientific
objective and the duration of the searches to be undertaken.
When the searches are
to be carried out on land which does not belong to the applicant, the
written application must be accompanied by a document of consent written
by the owner of the land and, if appropriate, anyone else who has the right.
Article 2 Anyone who
uses a metal detector to carry out searches of the sort described in Article
1 of the Law without having first obtained the authorisation required
or who does not observe the requirements described in Article 1 of
this Decree will be punished by the fine applicable for contraventions of
the fifth class.
The equipment used in the infringement
will be confiscated.
Article 3 Whoever publicises or draws up publicity for, or draw up
information about the use of metal detectors and fails to draw attention
to the requirements of Article 2 of the Law will be punished according to
the penalties applicable for offences of the fifth class.
Beaches are believed
to be outside this Law.
Art L542: No one can use equipment allowing metal target detection, to search monuments for objects of interest to pre-history, history, art or archaeology, without having first obtained an administrative authorisation, which may be given depending on the qualification of the applicant, as well as the nature of and reason for the research. Those who contravine are liable ti fines within the band class 5. The purpose of this regulation is the protection of archaeological sites. The authorisation of archaeological research using metal detectors requires the permission of the prefect of the area concerned.
The 1992 law on the
search for, and preservation of antiquities, covers all objects belonging to
the ancient period, early Christianity and the Middle Ages.
Excavation requires a licence and work may not be carried out, without
permission, near an antiquity in such a way as to affect it directly or
indirectly. All accidental discoveries must be reported. Rewards are made equal
to 50% of value if found on public land and 100% if on private land.
Although the 1932 Act
does not refer to metal detectors, any items found by its use
are covered by the Act.
Historic Monuments and Archaeological Objects (Northern Ireland) Order 1995 No. 1625 (N.I. 9)
The Treasure Act 1996 Applies in Northern Ireland, However the law relating to searching for archaeological object differs from England and Wales.
Restriction on searching for archaeological objects, etc.
41. — (1) Any person who, except under and in accordance with any conditions attached to a licence issued by the Department under this Article, excavates in or under any land (whether or not such excavation involves the removal of the surface of the land) for the purpose of searching generally for archaeological objects or of searching for, exposing or examining any particular structure or thing of archaeological interest shall be guilty of an offence and liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding level 3 on the standard scale.
Restrictions on use of metal detectors
(1)If a person uses a metal detector in a protected place without the written consent of the [F1Commission (in a case of a place situated in England) or of the Secretary of State (in any other case)] he shall be guilty of an offence and liable on summary conviction or, in Scotland, on conviction before a court of summary jurisdiction, to a fine not exceeding [F2level 3 on the standard scale].
(2)In this section—
- “metal detector” means any device designed or adapted for detecting or locating any metal or mineral in the ground; and
- “protected place” means any place which is either—
(a)the site of a scheduled monument or of any monument under the ownership or guardianship of the Secretary of State [F3or the Commission] or a local authority by virtue of this Act; or
(b)situated in an area of archaeological importance.
(3)If a person without [F4written consent] removes any object of archaeological or historical interest which he has discovered by the use of a metal detector in a protected place he shall be guilty of an offence and liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding the statutory maximum or on conviction on indictment to a fine.
[F5The reference in this subsection to written consent is to that of the Commission (where the place in question is situated in England) or of the Secretary of State (in any other case)]
(4)A consent granted by the Secretary of State [F6or the Commission] for the purposes of this section may be granted either unconditionally or subject to conditions.
(5)If any person—
(a)in using a metal detector in a protected place in accordance with any consent granted by the Secretary of State [F6or the Commission] for the purposes of this section; or
(b)in removing or otherwise dealing with any object which he has discovered by the use of a metal detector in a protected place in accordance with any such consent;
fails to comply with any condition attached to the consent, he shall be guilty of an offence and liable, in a case falling within paragraph (a) above, to the penalty provided by subsection (1) above, and in a case falling within paragraph (b) above, to the penalty provided by subsection (3) above.
(6)In any proceedings for an offence under subsection (1) above, it shall be a defence for the accused to prove that he used the metal detector for a purpose other than detecting or locating objects of archaeological or historical interest.
(7)In any proceedings for an offence under subsection (1) or (3) above, it shall be a defence for the accused to prove that he had taken all reasonable precautions to find out whether the place where he used the metal detector was a protected place and did not believe that it was.
F1Words substituted by National Heritage Act 1983 (c. 47, SIF 78), s. 41, Sch. 4 para. 60(2)(6)
F2Words substituted by virtue of Criminal Justice Act 1982 (c. 48), s. 46 and Criminal Procedure (Scotland) Act 1975 (c. 21), s. 289G (as inserted by Criminal Justice Act 1982 (c. 48), s. 54)
F3Words inserted by National Heritage Act 1983 (c. 47, SIF 78), s. 41, Sch. 4 para. 60(3)(6)
F4Words substituted by National Heritage Act 1983 (c. 47, SIF 78), s. 41, Sch. 4 para. 60(4)(6)
F5Words inserted by National Heritage Act 1983 (c. 47, SIF 78), s. 41, Sch. 4 para. 60(4)(6)
F6Words inserted by National Heritage Act 1983 (c. 47, SIF 78), s. 41, Sch. 4 para. 60(5)(6)
Modifications etc. (not altering text)
C1S. 42(1) excluded (18.12.1996) by 1996 c. 61, s. 12, Sch. 7 para. 4(12)
C2S. 42(3) excluded (18.12.1996) by 1996 c. 61, s. 12, Sch. 7 para. 4(13
REPUBLIC of IRELAND
The National Monuments (Amendment) Act
(Section 2) states:
Subject to the
provisions of this section a person shall not:
1a: Use or be in possession
of a detection device in, or at the site of, a monument
of which the Commissioners or a local
authority are the owners or guardians or in
respect of which a preservation order
is in force or which stands registered in the
2a. in an
archaeological area that stands registered in the Register or
3a. in a Registered
b: Use, at a place
other than a place specified in paragraph a of this subsection, a detection
device for the purpose of searching for archaeological objects or
c: Promote, whether by
advertising or otherwise, the sale or use of detection
devices for the purpose of searching
for archaeological objects.
area' is defined as ` an area which the Commissioners
consider to be of archaeological importance
but does not include the area of a
historical monument standing entered in
Section 40 states that
`Where in a prosecution for an offence under this section it
is proved that a detection device was
used, it shall be presumed until the contrary
is proved that the device was being
used for the purpose of searching for
The Antiquities Act
1978, Section 9a states that `no person shall excavate in a private
property for the purpose of discovering antiquities, nor search
for antiquities in any other manner, including the use of metal detectors,
nor gather antiquities unless he has received a licence for such from the Director. Breach of this section carries a liability to
imprisonment for a term of 3 years or a fine of =A3150,000'.
Section 38 of the same
Act states that `any person found on an antiquity site, in whose
possession or in whose immediate vicinity are found excavation tools
and it can be assumed that they were recently used in excavation work at
the site, or in whose possession or in whose immediate vicinity is found a
metal detector, is presumed to have intended to discover antiquities
unless he proves that he has no such intention.
Although it is not illegal to buy a metal detector in Italy, there are strict rules on where you can metal detect.
There are many historical and protected archaeological areas where metal detecting is not allowed which are published by the Ityalian Government.
Metal detecting is allowed on areas which are not designated as such provided you have permission from the landowner.
Historical, Artistic and Archaeological objects as defined in law No42 January 2004 cannot be exported without an export licence.
If you discover any object of historical or archaeological importance as covered by the above law, metal detecting must cease and the find reported within 24 hours.
All Archaeological finds are the property of the state and must be reported to carabinieri/local Superintendency of Arts.
A Reward may be offered up to 10% of the value of the find.
The selling of archaeological objects is forbidden and all coins over 50 years old are considered historical.
It should also be noted that in val d’Aosta and Veneto and Trentino (north part of Italy ) there are some local and regional ristrictions in place due to the large ammount of WWI and WWII amunition being discovered.
It is advisable therefore to ask the “Comune” or “Provincia” which are responsible for those districts or townships before venturing onto any land.
Thanks to Edoardo Meacci for the latest information.
( STATEMENT OF DETECTING REGULATIONS IN
Metal detecting in
is primary a beach/foreshore activity around the island.
Unless, you have permission by a land owner to search there fields, so long as
no archaeological monument within the land, or other sites as stated below
SSI status... the area’s to avoid are: St. Ouen inland dunes at the 5 mile
Jersey/National Trust land, and historic sites/buildings as expected.
have no treasure trove law in Jersey, however there are four things to consider
that are in law, operating as statute for control within, our hobby on the
Parks and Common Land areas are subject to policing, these are no-go-areas.
SSI - Sights of Special Interest, cover all historic sites and buildings in
jersey, these are no-go-areas, “with one exception as below” (a).
However, one Extended Beach Area, starting from La Collette in St. Helier, East
Coast going around Northward through to Greve D’Azette, Green Island, Le Hocq,
La Rocque, and into the bay of Grouville upto Gorey Harbour, allows you to beach
detect and recover finds in these areas, but keep in mind the sites marine
environment, this is why it has an SSI placed on it.
Metals of Gold/Silver, rings or the like with person/persons loss incurred,
requires the finder to take the item into our police station, at Rouge Bouillon
in St Helier ; where details would be taken and if the item is not
claimed, it becomes either crown property, or returned to the finder in time.
Lastly, Jersey has a Custom & Excise Law, policing objects of historic
interest, and are restricted from going out of the island, without a
So if you recover a find or finds that have a date of 50 years or more, you need
a Custom Licence No.
108, to be granted export for the find after the find/object has been assessed
by our Jersey Heritage Trust, at La Houge Bie Museum to determine its context
for recording, and for the islands history the museum might, buy the find.
likely, you will recover mainly recent and Victorian, plus badly worn 1600
French coinage, also the usual dross left behind towards the top of the beach,
however rings can be a good source particularly very thin ones, if you have a
detector good at recovering thin gold and silver, you could do well; so good
luck, and if your a visitor to the island, enjoy your stay.
Metal Detecting Society: 2004/5.
The 1977 Monument
Protection Act requires the declaration of any antiquities
found in the soil. A government permit
is necessary for archaeological excavations.
Pursuant Law on protection of movable cultural valuables (article 14) all movable cultural valuables, underlying in ground, on it, in water, premises and buildings or in their parts, if they have cultural value and their owner can not be established shall belong to the State. Searching of these objects by digging or using metal detectors or any other searching equipment shall be allowed only having permission from competent governmental body. If any mentioned objects are found by accident – the person who finds them shall within 1 week provide them to Department of Cultural Heritage for evaluation. If the provided objects have historical, cultural or archeological value – the person who found the objects shall receive remuneration pursuant legal acts. Infringement of above law can result following sanctions (pursuant article 91 of the Code of Administrative infringements): warning or fine from EUR 144 to EUR 870.
The 1966 Act on
excavations and movable cultural objects states that `all search and
excavations with the aim of discovery or bringing to light objects or sites
of historical interest can only be made with the authorisation of the Minister for Arts and Sciences'.
The use of metal
detecting for unauthorised searching is widespread and, in the view of the
Ministry of Justice, is in contravention of the law.
The 1925 - 1974
Antiquities Protection Act affords protection to all objects, both movable
and immovable, which are more than 50 years old. Excavation can only be
carried out with government authorisation (Article 1).
The reporting of accidental finds is compulsory (Article 10).
Since 1979 there has
been a ban on the import of any metal detectors of sufficient sensitivity to be
of any danger to archaeological sites.
Information to follow.
Section 4 of the
Cultural Heritage Act 1978 lists a wide range of specified objects, both
fixed and movable, dating from before 1937 which are protected.
Section 3 also provides protection from
unauthorised excavation. The ownership of all objects older than 1537 and of coins older
that 1650 is vested in the State (Section 12, a and b). Section 13 requires that all finds should be reported to the authorities
who will fix a suitable reward. There is no specific reference to
There has been some
new legislation introduced recently which prohibits searching for
archaeological material without a permit. To obtain a permit, please apply
to the Ministry of Culture in
More information will
be available soon.
The Spanish Tourist
advises in their General Information sheet:
Metal Detectors: The
use of metal detectors is not allowed unless an import license for the
detector has previously been issued. Further enquiries should be made to
the Spanish Commercial Office.
The Commercial Office
at the Spanish Embassy, if asked, provide the
following written information:
1. The use of metal
detectors could involve considerations of the Law and Regulations
governing artistic or archaeological finds, involving national heritage
and treasure trove, as provided by the very detailed Law of 25th June 1985
(Historical Heritage); and the Royal Decree of 10th January 1986 which develops
2. If anything is
found, therefore, it would be necessary to comply with the complex
procedures outlined in these enactments; and it would certainly not
be possible for any finds to be taken out of
until the proper Authorities
had given their consent. That could take months; and if the article in
question is classified as part of the national artistic heritage, and/or
is over 100 years old, it is not likely to receive an export permit either
at all, or for a very long time, owing to the complexity of the
The second aspect is a
technical one. The Royal Decree of 25th November 1987, which deals with
nuclear energy and radio-activity, lays down rules and safeguards against
radiation. The Order of 20th March 1975 sets out the homologation rules for
radio-active apparatus. The metal detector in question may not comply with
There is a third
aspect. The local Naval Authorities have been known to complain because
the use of metal detectors has interfered with electronic communications.
All in all, therefore,
it is preferable not to use metal detectors in
Section 19 of the 1988
Act which prohibited metal detecting in the countries of Gotland and Oland has now been
extended to include all of
specifically refers to metal detecting by private individuals, though
legislation exists to ban unauthorised search or excavation of antiquities.
The 1973 Antiquities
Act carries very extensive lists of movable and immovable objects
protected including places of ancient settlement or places where there are
vestiges of ancient civilisations (Article 1). All
objects are the property of the State (Article 3 ) and reporting is obligatory (Article 4) but a reward system exists
There is a specific
provision against treasure hunting, illicit excavation and dealing in
antiquities (Article 51 - 52). Unauthorised treasure hunting carries a
penalty of 2 - 5 years imprisonment and fines of =A35,000 to =A310,000 (Article 47).