It’s Perfectly Simple in the UK…


John Howland’s turn again, and I can’t thank him enough for keeping the fires burning here.  It’s been hard keeping the blog going of late, and I appreciate John’s efforts in this regard.  If you are not aware of what is going on in the UK I would urge you to read the Malamute Saloon link above…

Knickers in a Twist?howlandscript

At first glance, this hobby particularly in the UK seems to be armpit deep in Codes of Conduct. There’s one from the UK’s national representative body, the NCMD, another from the Federation of Independent Detectorists, and the hobby’s sparring partners the Council for British Archaeology are in on the act by publically supporting the NCMD’s Code which is also recognized by the UK Government. In seemingly to be seen supportive there’s a lot of embarrassed hand-wringing going on in York as the CBA has to come to terms with Item 3 of the Code which states:

It is perfectly simple to extract a coin or other small object buried a few inches below the ground without digging a great hole. Use a suitable digging implement to cut a neat flap (do not remove the plug of earth entirely from the ground), extract the object, reinstate the grass, sand or soil carefully, and even you will have difficulty in locating the find spot again.

Finally, the CBA agrees with what detectorists the world over have been saying for years. For the sake of clarity these minor differences between FID’s Code and the NCMD’s ought to be identical?

NCMD Code of Conduct

  1. Do not trespass. Obtain permission before venturing on to any land.
  2. Respect the Country Code, leave gates and property as you find them and do not damage crops, frighten animals or disturb nesting birds.
  3. Wherever the site, do not leave a mess or an unsafe surface for those who may follow. It is perfectly simple to extract a coin or other small object buried a few inches below the ground without digging a great hole. Use a suitable digging implement to cut a neat flap (do not remove the plug of earth entirely from the ground), extract the object, reinstate the grass, sand or soil carefully, and even you will have difficulty in locating the find spot again.
  4. If you discover any live ammunition or any lethal object such as an unexploded bomb or mine, do not disturb it. Mark the site carefully and report the find to the local police and landowner.
  5. Help keep Britain tidy. Safely dispose of refuse you come across.
  6. Report all unusual historical finds to the landowner, and acquaint yourself with current NCMD policy relating to the Voluntary Reporting of Portable Antiquities in England and Wales and the mandatory reporting requirements in Scotland. See:
  7. Remember it is illegal for anyone to use a metal detector on a designated area (e.g. Scheduled Monuments (SM), Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), or Ministry of Defence property) without permission from the appropriate authority. It is also a condition of most agri-environment agreements that metal detecting access is subject to certain rules and regulations including mandatory finds recording. Details of these agreements and the access conditions they impose are detailed on the NCMD website.
  8. Acquaint yourself with the terms and definitions used in the following documents: –

(1) “Treasure” contained in the Treasure Act 1996 and its associated Code of Practice, making sure you understand your responsibilities.

(2) Advice for Finders of Archaeological Objects including Treasure 2006.

(3) The voluntary Code of Practise for Responsible Metal Detecting to which the NCMD is an endorsee.

(4) Advice for finders in Scotland: see

  1. Remember that when you are out with your metal detector you are an ambassador for our hobby. Do nothing that might give it a bad name.
  2. Never miss an opportunity to explain your hobby to anyone who asks about it.


Federation of Independent Detectorists’ “CODE OF CONDUCT”

  1. Get permission before detecting on private land. Never Trespass.
  2. Make an agreement on sharing finds with the landowner to avoid any later misunderstandings.
  3. Report all your finds to the landowner, even those that must be declared to the Coroner as well.
  4. Remember to shut all gates, never walk through standing crops, do not startle animals or nesting birds.
  5. Fill all holes, even on ploughed land or beaches. Never leave a mess or damage grass, a sharp trowel will cut a neat plug and once replaced and firmed in, the find spot will almost be invisible.
  6. Most metal rubbish can be recycled, the Planet belongs to all of us, so dispose of your unwanted iron, lead, cans, silver paper etc. With care for the environment, and never leave junk on the site.
  7. Never detect on a scheduled archaeological site, to do so is a criminal offence unless you have permission from the Secretary of State for National Heritage.
  8. Report all Gold or Silver artefacts over 300 years old to the local Coroner, also hoards of coins or plate of any age or material.
  9. All bombs, mines, ammunition or chemical containers, should have the find spot marked and be reported to the Police. Never attempt to move them yourself.
  10. As a FID member you have a lot to be proud of, so always be friendly to people who ask about your hobby, help them find lost metal objects when requested and never break this “Code of Conduct” or give the hobby a bad image.


The UK Government’s Department of Culture Media and Sport Guidelines :-

The Treasure Act 1996 Code of Practice (2nd Revision) ENGLAND & WALES

“If finders or others need further advice about any matters relating to the Treasure Act or this Code, then they are recommended to contact the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, the British Museum or (for Wales) the National Museums & Galleries of Wales or their local finds liaison officer. Addresses and telephone numbers are given in Appendix 2.”

Appendix 6: The National Council for Metal Detecting Code of Conduct

As Revised February 2000


What does the pompous Council for British Archaeology have to say? [Unsurprisingly, they simply can’t avoid archaeological arrogance and it races to the top. JH]

“Read our guidelines to find out more about best practice. If in doubt – it’s always best to ask the experts. [They mean, them, not you. JH ] “If you are thinking of rushing out to buy a metal detector to search an area near you and seek out your very own ‘treasure”, CBA Director Mike Heyworth comments, “There are reasons why you should think again or ask the experts.” [So that rules out the CBA then. JH] And so this institutionalised self-importance prattles on:-

“Contact us using the ‘to discuss’ any aspect of the search for finds, or the use of metal detectors, and we will be happy to guide you.” [I’ll bet! JH] But there’s more of this CBA tosh:-

Why should we leave archaeology buried?

“Archaeologists try to piece together information about the lives of people in the past from small fragments of evidence and it is important that we gather as much evidence as we can when opportunities present themselves. But in many cases, it is better to wait, to leave objects and other evidence in the ground where it has been lying safely for hundreds or thousands of years.”

“As long as it remains safe then it is better to leave the evidence for future generations to investigate with better techniques and with better-informed questions to ask.” [Some might think this is a bid to protect future employment. JH]

“Usually, intervention is only justified if the evidence is at risk of being lost or damaged, through development, climate change, or agricultural practices. In this case, any excavation work has to be carried out carefully to ensure that we extract as many clues as possible not just about any objects that are found, but about the full circumstances of the way in which they were initially buried and any materials or evidence buried in association with them.” [That then, puts the case for responsible metal detecting. JH]

Why should I leave finds where I find them? [Blah-de-blah-de-blah. More excruciating hogwash as the CBA tries to ‘Big-up’ its importance. JH]

How do I report a find?

[Here comes the U-turn of all U-turns. Having previously and piously preached about NOT digging and to LEAVE artefacts in-situ, is this little gem. JH]

“Report any object that is undisturbed in its primary context – in a container, or below the plough-soil – to the landowner and (with their agreement, unless it is a legal requirement) to an appropriate archaeologist.” [Legally, wrong! If it’s NOT ‘Treasure’ it’s up to you and the landowner whether to report to the Finds Liaison Officer. I recommend that you do. JH] “It is important to leave the find where it is so that the setting and circumstances can be assessed by an archaeologist.” [Nope! It’s only important to them. Not you. This one’s your call, not theirs. JH]

What’s missing from the CBA’s website, guidelines, and Best Practice sermons? There’s no advice for amateur archaeologists who field-walk removing thousands of pottery shards and flint tool every Sunday afternoon without record. Far better, these amateurs join a metal detecting club and learn how to do the job properly.

As CBA Director Mike Heyworth reckons, “If you are thinking of rushing out to buy a metal detector to search an area near you and seek out your very own ‘treasure there are reasons why you should think again or ask the experts.” That means, Mikey, the NCMD, FID, or any metal detecting club and NOT the CBA.


Well, Fancy That!

UN Declaration of Human Rights, adopted by the general assembly in 1948 declares “Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.”

Article 17

(1) Everyone has the right to own property alone as well as in association with others.

(2) No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his property.



Two cannibals are eating a clown.

Says one to the other: “This taste funny to you?”



An elderly man is driving down the M1 Motorway when his mobile rings. Answering it (hands-free), he hears his wife on the other end.

“Albert”, she says, “Please be careful when you`re driving back. I just heard on the radio that there`s a maniac on the M1. He`s driving the wrong way!”

“It’s not just one” Albert replies, “There’s ******* hundreds of them!”



It has been so cold here in the UK of late, that I recently spotted an archaeologist with his hands in his own pockets.



…Pretend inferiority and encourage his arrogance.

I’ll see y’all in the bar!



Yesterday we watched what was left of our home being demolished.  Needless to say a few tears were shed when we thought of all the good times we had within its walls. Curious coincidence….We moved into the house February 15, 1988….exactly 28 years ago to the day it was demolished.  Likewise in 1988 Valentines day fell on a Sunday….. what are the odds?

Hoping 2016 will bring forth a period of permanence and normalcy…..










1 Comment

Filed under Metal Detecting

One response to “It’s Perfectly Simple in the UK…

  1. Mike Heyworth

    The Council for British Archaeology is a signatory to the Code of Practice for Responsible Metal Detecting in England and Wales – see – as are the NCMD and the FID. We do not recognise any other Codes.

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