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Revision of the Dorset Code of Practice for metal detecting in Dorset

The Code of Practice was written in 1996 and was revised in 2006, and again in 2016. This page shows the changes made in 2016.

Members considered a first draft of a revised Code of Conduct at the members' breakfast meeting on Saturday 28 May 2016, and members who couldn't attend the meeting were also consulted. The 2006 version and alterations and revisions made in 2016 are shown below.

2006 version2016 new wordingReason
Do not enter private land with the intention of metal detecting without full permission of the landowner and preferably with a written agreement. No change. N/A
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. 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. It is also illegal to take a metal detector on to a scheduled monument. This needs to be made clear to scheme members, especially inexperienced ones.
Do not detect within five metres of a scheduled monument. Report any suspicious sightings or activity to the landowner and authorities without delay. No change. N/A
Try to concentrate detecting to ploughed land and to the depth of the plough soil. No change. N/A
Familiarise yourself with the requirements of the Treasure Act 1996 and the procedures to be followed. Familiarise yourself with the requirements of the Treasure Act 1996 and the procedures to be followed. Report all finds of potential treasure. The preferred way of doing this is through the Portable Antiquities Scheme. Seems to be an obvious gap here. We clearly meant report treasure finds, so it seems silly not to say so.
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. No change. N/A
Report all interesting and historic items to the Dorset Historic Environment Record, which offers an identification facility. Allow a reasonable and agreed time for recording, drawing and photography. 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. Bring up to date with reference to PAS. Few report directly to HER nowadays.
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). No change. N/A
Observe and record surface scatters of non-metallic materials such as pottery, flints and building materials, even when detector results are negative. No change. N/A
Consider donation or sale of objects of particular interest to a Dorset-based museum rather than sale on the antiquities market. No change. N/A
Leave sites clean, tidy and safe for stock and machinery. Always follow the Country Code. Leave sites clean, tidy and safe for stock and machinery. Always follow the Country Code. Please close all gates. Though covered by the Country Code, members felt the importance of shutting gates should be stressed, as it is vital to good relations with landowners.
Report any dangerous items such as ammunition or bombs to the police and landowner. Mark the site and keep clear No change. N/A
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. No change. N/A
Seek regular contact will all archaeologists to advance knowledge and build up co-operation and trusting relationships. No change. N/A
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. No change. N/A

Related pages

Senior Archaeologist, Promotion and Liaison

Name: Claire Pinder
Email: c.j.pinder@dorsetcc.gov.uk
Tel: 01305 224921
Fax: 01305 224835
Full details for Senior Archaeologist, Promotion and Liaison

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