Guidance for organisers of metal detecting rallies

Coronavirus: important advice on reporting public finds, including potential Treasure, during the coming period

Under the Treasure Act 1996, it is a legal obligation for the finder to report potential Treasure. For all new finds of potential Treasure, finders must notify their local Finds Liaison Officer and/or the British Museum treasure team (in England) by email (, with photographs of the object and full details of the findspot, finders' and landowners' details, and await further instruction. The necessary precautions mean there may be delays in the Treasure process. We thank finders, landowners, occupiers and everyone involved in the process for their understanding, patience and cooperation during this time.

Portable Antiquities Scheme staff will no longer meet finders in person or undertake outreach work until further notice. Most Portable Antiquities Scheme staff, including Finds Liaison Officers, will remain contactable by email, so, therefore, can advise on the recording of finds (such as self-recording). We ask that you temporarily retain your non-Treasure finds for full recording at a later date. Please ensure that you keep detailed records of the findspot in accordance with the Code of Practice for Responsible Metal-Detecting in England and Wales.

Finders in Wales and Northern Ireland should contact the relevant authorities for advice.

Following the latest government social distancing guidance, advising everyone to stay at home to save lives and protect the NHS, do not metal detect during the current situation. All metal-detecting rallies should be cancelled.

The PAS is updating its guidance for organisers of metal-detecting rallies:

Large scale metal-detecting events (rallies) do not provide the ideal circumstances for Portable Antiquities Scheme (PAS) staff to record finds in the field, and can therefore result in the loss of much archaeological information, including information about the findspot. Therefore finders attending such events should ensure they follow the Code of Practice for Responsible Metal-detecting in England and Wales (2017) and record their finds retrospectively. Finds Liaison Officers (FLOs) may attend rallies to promote best practice and may take in finds for recording later, but not (normally) to record finds in the field.