Metal Detecting rallies


Following Best Practice

In line with the national Portable Antiquities Scheme, we do not believe that large scale metal-detecting rallies provide the ideal circumstances for FLOs to record finds in the field and can therefore result in the loss of much archaeological information together with information about the findspot.

Therefore, finders attending such events should ensure they follow the national best practice and record their finds retrospectively.

If you are planning a metal detecting rally please follow the Code of Practice for Responsible Metal Detecting in England and Wales.

1. Get Permission

Get permission from the landowner and tenant (both should be consulted).

Ask the landowner if their land is subject to land management schemes and to check if metal detecting infringes the terms of the scheme.

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 rally area, which would need to be avoided.

2. Finds Ownership

Agree the terms of the ownership of finds in writing with the landowner, as legally all objects belong to the landowner, excepting treasure as defined by the Treasure Act 1996.

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.

3. Consult the Archaeological Service

Please consult with us at the Archaeological Service in advance, so that we can advise on how best to record what is found.

Make sure that no digging goes below the plough soil, and in the event of in-situ objects being discovered (burials, hoards, in-situ archaeological deposits etc.) immediately cease digging and contact the Archaeological Service for assistance and advice.

For further information and advice please contact us: 01284 741230 or at

You can also visit us by appointment during office hours Monday to Friday at: Bury Resource Centre, Hollow Road, Bury St Edmunds, IP32 7AY.

4. Keep a record

Keep a record of who attends your rally.

Issue each participant with a map of the detecting areas for them to record where each object was found. Encourage the use of GPS devices for accurate findspots.

Insist that all finds are shown to the organiser as a condition of attendance. Photograph items with a scale as a means of temporary record, record the findspot and finder’s details, and forward these onto the Suffolk Finds Recording Team so they can assist and advise on recording.


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