Members of the Dorset Council Metal Detectorists Liaison Scheme sign up to the Code of Best Practice for Metal Detecting in Dorset. It contains general advice useful to all metal detector users. The general advice is:

  • do not enter private land with the intention of metal detecting without full permission of the landowner and preferably with a written agreement
  • always research your permitted site to familiarise yourself with boundaries and scheduled monuments. It is illegal to use a metal detector on a scheduled monument or take one onto a scheduled monument
  • do not detect within five metres of a scheduled monument, report any suspicious sightings or activity to the landowner and authorities without delay
  • try to concentrate detecting to ploughed land and to the depth of the plough soil
  • familiarise yourself with the requirements of the Treasure Act 1996 and the procedures to be followed. Report all finds of treasure. The preferred way of doing this is through the Portable Antiquities Scheme
  • seek agreement with the landowner to share knowledge gained from his land with the Dorset Historic Environment team to enhance the Dorset Historic Environment Record
  • report all archaeological finds to the Portable Antiquities Scheme. This information will be passed to the Dorset Historic Environment Record. Allow a reasonable and agreed time for recording, drawing and photography
  • maintain accurate records (with a minimum of a 6 figure map reference) of all sites whether positive or negative in content. Submit copies at regular intervals to the Dorset Historic Environment Record. Complete confidentiality will be maintained if requested (finds, finder and landowner)
  • observe and record surface scatters of non-metallic materials such as pottery, flints and building materials, even when detector results are negative
  • consider donation or sale of objects of particular interest to a Dorset-based museum rather than sale on the antiquities market
  • leave sites clean, tidy and safe for stock and machinery. Always follow the Country Code. Please close all gates
  • report any dangerous items such as ammunition or bombs to the police and landowner. Mark the site and keep clear
  • be prepared at all times to protect your hobby and Code by reporting all bad conduct and deception to an appointed body. It is in the interest of all concerned to do so
  • seek regular contact with all archaeologists to advance knowledge and build up co-operation and trusting relationships
  • in the event of unreasonable behaviour or action by any archaeological body or person, report to an agreed ombudsman, and seek assistance. It may be purely a misunderstanding

Revised in 2016 in consultation with members of the Dorset Metal Detectorists Liaison Scheme.

Senior Archaeologist, Promotion and Liaison

Name: Claire Pinder
Tel: 01305 224921
Full contact details