Metal detectors can be valuable archaeological tools when used responsibly. During archaeological excavations metal detectors are sometimes used to check the spoil for any objects missed . They can also often retrieve finds from disturbed plough-soil which might have otherwise simply rusted away. There is a "Code of Practice for Responsible Metal-Detecting in England and Wales" which outlines best practice for those using metal detectors and has been fully endorsed by archaeological groups and national metal detecting bodies. See the attachment on this page.
However, the following points may also be of help.
Site Protected by Law
Certain sites, which are considered to be of not only of local but also of national archaeological importance, are protected by law. It is illegal to use a metal detector on a Scheduled Ancient Monument without prior written permission from the Department of Culture Media and Sport, English Heritage and the landowner. Metal detecting is also an offence on sites in local authority guardianship. For advice on the legal status of a site please contact the County Sites and Monuments Record in writing. For further details follow the link on this page.
Always obtain permission from the landowner before metal detecting on their land. Any finds you discover will legally belong to the landowner so it is wise to make arrangements in writing before you start detecting. Metal detecting on land owned by Shropshire Council is not permitted.
Please do not dig beneath the plough soil as this can disturb archaeologically sensitive sites. Finds beneath the plough-soil may be associated with the remains of a building or other structure which will give vital information about the object and the archaeology of the area. Please contact Peter Reavill Finds Liaison Officer for Shropshire and Herefordshire for advice and assistance in such cases.
All finders of gold and silver objects, and groups of coins from the same findspot, which are over 300 years old, have a legal obligation to report such items under the Treasure Act 1996. Now prehistoric base-metal assemblages found after 1st January 2003 also qualify as Treasure. For more information about the treasure act please contact Peter Reavill who will be able to facilitate the reporting of these items. Further information about the Treasure Act is also available from the Portable Antiquities Website (www.finds.org.uk)
Recording your Finds
If you have found an artefact you would like an archaeologist to look at - contact Peter Reavill (details above) who will organise to view the object and possibly record it with the Portable Antiquities Scheme - follow the link on this page.
Advice on conserving your finds can be found in the attachment on this page or by following the link on this page (www.finds.org.uk.)