What advice do you have for metal detector users?

Most of the finds we record in Suffolk are found by local metal detectorists. It is important to obtain permission from the landowner before using a metal detector anywhere. This includes land which is publicly accessible, such as beaches, footpaths, or council-owned land. Metal detector users are encouraged to act responsibly and to record their finds.

It is best practice to detect on ploughed land, where the finds recovered are already removed from their original archaeological context. Removing objects from below the plough soil can damage archaeological layers and should be avoided, as should detecting on non-ploughed land. Using a GPS device is a good way to record where you find individual objects. A national code of practice for responsible metal detecting provides more advice.

If you find anything fragile or complex, such as hoard, it is a good idea to contact your Finds Recording Officer and get an archaeologist to record it in its context and to help you dig it out.

The Crown Estate owns much of the coastal foreshore and issues permits for metal detecting.

How do I clean my finds?

We can give you basic conservation advice and put you in touch with specialist conservators if this is necessary. It is important that metal objects should be kept dry and loose soil gently removed. Pottery and flint can be gently washed in water.

The Portable Antiquities Conservation Guide contains more advice.

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