1. About metal detecting
In general, metal detecting is not a suitable technique to use on scheduled monuments. This is because it can cause significant damage by digging through archaeological evidence to extract finds and removes those finds from their archaeological context. All finds associated with a scheduled monument contribute directly to its evidential value. Removal will therefore impact directly on the significance of the monument.
For this reason, it is an offence to use metal detectors on scheduled monuments without prior written consent from Cadw. This applies to both terrestrial and underwater metal detecting.
Metal detectorists must ask the permission of the landowner before using a metal detector on their property. Metal detectorists adopting best practice will avoid legally protected sites and activities that could damage sensitive places. If someone asks you for permission to use a metal detector on your scheduled monument, you should inform them that the site is scheduled and that they need consent from Cadw. If you find someone using a metal detector on your scheduled monument without your permission, you should contact the police and Cadw.
You will need to apply to Cadw for a section 42 consent to use a metal detector on a scheduled monument.
Permission can be granted in the form of a section 42 consent. However, Consent will not normally be granted for the use of metal detectors unless the survey forms part of a consented archaeological excavation or wider research strategy, and provision is made for the conservation and reporting of finds.
Applications for a section 42 consent must include:
- details of the survey methodology, including the maximum depth of disturbance
- a plan showing the proposed survey area
- confirmation that you have permission from the landowner to conduct the survey
Applications for metal detecting should also include:
- a detailed research strategy outlining how the metal detecting survey will contribute to the research project’s wider aims
- details of how you will conserve and analyse any finds, and your proposals for archiving and publication
You can email requests for a section 42 consent to firstname.lastname@example.org
Cadw’s inspectors of ancient monuments will get in touch to discuss your requirements before consent will be granted.
Conditions will be attached including the deposition of a report in your local historic environment record and the National Monuments Record of Wales, and provision for the conservation and reporting of finds.