In which countries is metal detection allowed or prohibited?

Different countries have different metal detection laws. Sometimes, a permit to use metal detectors varies from one administrative region to another within the same country. The information below on allowing or prohibiting the practice of metal detection in different countries should be viewed with some caution. Please consider this information as a guideline only. So, if you wish to practice metal detection in one of these countries, we strongly recommend that you conduct careful research on the recent legislation applicable in the country or detection region. Any updates, corrections or additions are also welcome and may be added to comments.

South Africa: Metal detectors are only allowed on beaches.

Algeria: Banning metal detectors, confiscating metal detectors, and possessing such devices are punishable by imprisonment.

Saudi Arabia: All things on earth belong to the Emir. If no one agrees that the prince is the owner, that person risks very severe penalties. Metal detectors are strictly prohibited.

Australia : Metal detection is allowed. Searching for gold nuggets as well as spotting them on the beach is a favorite hobby of locals. There are not many archaeological finds in Australia.

Austria: The use of metal detectors in archaeological contexts requires a permit issued by the authorities.

Belarus: Until 2013, metal detection was prohibited only at state-protected archaeological sites and other combat zones in World War II. Since 2013, some laws and regulations have come into force that restrict the search for historical artifacts. In general, the use of metal detectors in Belarus may be considered prohibited.

In which countries is metal detection allowed or prohibited?

In which countries is metal detection allowed or prohibited?

Belgium: Individuals are not allowed to search for artifacts. Detection is allowed on the beaches.

Brazil: There is no specific law regulating mineral detection, but the law prohibits the search for gold (or any precious metal) without permission from the government (Ministry of Mining). Discovery is prohibited in protected areas (“tombados locais”), which are usually archaeological sites or sites declared to have the ability to discover artifacts. It is also forbidden to store or sell objects from the colonial or imperial era (between 1500 and 1886). In theory, this law prohibits dealing with such heritage objects, but in practice it has no effect, because people who found, for example, gold coins in Brazil, used to sell them on the black market.

Bulgaria: The owner of the metal detector must register the device with the Ministry of Culture (otherwise he will be fined or even imprisoned). Metal detectors are sold legally. The search for artifacts requires permission.

Cambodia: Metal detectors are only allowed on beaches.

Canada: Although it is a country that does not have a very rich history, its disclosure in archaeological areas is officially banned. However, the landowner can grant permission to use a metal detector on his land if it is not an archaeological site. You can still practice gold detection in national parks, as well as on beaches, but there is a problem with digging, and it is not allowed to disturb the ground visibly (of course, there is no problem if you recover a few dozen coins from the ground, at a shallow depth under the grass or sand). However, each province may or may not have its own mineral detection legislation. For example, Nova Scotia has two laws on artifacts. Oak Island law applies only on Oak Island. In the rest of the provinces, the Protection of Private Places Act applies. You can’t detect in the county park, but public beaches are not prohibited from detection. In addition, there are certain areas to which federal law applies, such as federal historic sites.

Cyprus: Metal detection, including beach inspections, is prohibited. If someone tries to insert a metal detector through customs, the device will be confiscated.

China: All metal detectors are banned.

Croatia : Metal detectors are banned.

Cuba: Metal detectors are banned. Having a metal detector is equivalent to owning a gun.

Denmark : Metal detection is allowed. Valuables must be handed over to the state authorities. Mineral detection may, with the consent of landowners, be exercised, but a distance of at least 2 meters from protected archaeological sites must be maintained. Most of the archaeological finds of precious coins in Denmark are found in private ownership.

Switzerland: Metal detectors are not officially banned. But each canton has its own rules. Thus, in an area metal detection may be prohibited except at archaeological sites. However, there are examples when search is even allowed there. On the other hand, in some areas, a permit from the district authorities for metal detectors is required. In addition, you will need double permission for this: a metal detector license and a landowner permission.

Egypt: Metal detectors are allowed on public beaches, but permission must be obtained on private beaches. There may be problems with passing the detector through customs.

United Arab Emirates: Screening is allowed on beaches in certain areas, and the number is very limited.

Estonia : Metal detectors can be carried out on beaches, but in general you are allowed to search anywhere if you have the owner’s permission. Anyone looking for things over 1300 AD needs a permit. So the law is funny, because almost no one applies for a permit, arguing that they are not looking for things older than 1300 AD, plus the permit also costs 500 euros.

Ethiopia: Metal detectors banned.

Philippines: It is forbidden to search for artifacts. Detection is allowed on the beaches.

Finland: The use of a metal detector is generally permitted without a special permit, provided that the detector does not interfere with a protected archaeological site or monument. The discovery is primarily governed by the Antiquities Act (1963), but also by the Property Act (1988) and the Nature Conservation Act (1996). As long as the discoverers have the owner’s permission, they can uncover private lands such as forests and fields.

France: Research in archaeological areas needs permission, but it is almost impossible to obtain. Metal detectors are allowed on the beach and on private territory with the consent of the owner. Any discovery of archaeological, historical or artistic artifacts must be immediately reported to the authorities and any excavations must be stopped immediately, as French law prohibits the deliberate search for such artifacts. The situation in France is very tense with regard to metal detection, there is a sharp conflict between archaeologists and metal detectors, and the result of this conflict translates into the absence of important archaeological discoveries, which are either no longer announced or no longer actually exist in France. Large numbers.

Germany : Metal detectors are allowed but require a permit. There are also specific laws from one territorial administrative unit to another. Mineral detection in or near archaeological sites or in forests is strictly prohibited. Inspections of private land are permitted, but only with the consent of the owner. As in France, archaeologists in Germany appear to be at war with excavators, although this fruitless situation did not exist 20 years ago.

Ghana: Locals are allowed to detect metals without restrictions. Tourists must obtain a disclosure permit.

Greece: The owner of a metal detector must obtain a license issued by the Ministry of Culture. Metal detectors on beaches require permission from the mayor of the city where the beach is located. The search for artifacts is prohibited and punishable by imprisonment for 10 to 20 years.

India: Metal detectors are allowed. But due to lack of information, any treasure hunter from abroad attracts a lot of attention from locals. There have been cases where locals “confiscated” tourists’ metal detectors and contacted the police. Metal detection at historical sites and monuments protected by ASI is strictly prohibited. Elsewhere, one can practice metal detection, but if something of value is discovered, or if the antiquities are of historical value or are more than 100 years old, local authorities or ASI must be informed.

Indonesia : Metal detection is allowed.

Canary Islands (Tenerife) : metal detection is allowed without restrictions.

Caribbean Islands : metal detection is allowed without restrictions.

Comoros: Metal detectors are prohibited.

Ireland: Historic artifacts may only be inspected with the consent of the authorities and the permission of the landowners. Metal detection is allowed on beaches. Unauthorized use of metal detectors to search for artifacts is against the law. Such use is subject to severe penalties, including imprisonment and/or fines. Categories of objects most commonly used by metal detectors in Ireland such as coins, clothing fixatives, keys, seals and other objects that can be defined as “antique artefacts” can only be searched through a permit/licence. However, in Ireland, as in England, Scotland and Wales, there is very good cooperation and understanding between discoverers and archaeologists.

Iceland (Southern Part): Metal detection is strictly prohibited. For example, advertising metal detectors is a taboo topic like commercials for adult TV shows.

Israel: Israel is a country full of historical discoveries. Any construction activity, heavy rains or severe storms can bring new discoveries to the surface. Therefore, it is forbidden to search for historical artifacts. The illegal search for archaeological treasures is punishable by imprisonment. Metal detection is allowed on beaches.

Italy: All objects of archaeological importance, inside and outside the soil, belong to the state. Metal detection by individuals is allowed in some areas. For discovering valuable historical artifacts, the discoverer receives a reward. There are areas where the use of metal detectors is prohibited (such as Valle d’Asta, Calabria, Lazio, Tuscany or Sicily). Search on Italian beaches can be illegally controlled by some people, and private beaches are overseen by rescuers.

Jordan: Individuals are prohibited from practicing metal detection. Metal detectors are not allowed to pass through Jordanian customs.

Japan : Metal detection is allowed.

Jamaica: Metal detectors are allowed, but there is a high risk of being robbed and having the detector taken from you by force. Some discoverers estimate that they would put their lives at risk if they were detected in this country.

Kenya: Metal detection is allowed without restrictions.

Latvia : Metal detectors are allowed on beaches and private lands if you have permission from the owner. In all other cases, the use of a metal detector is prohibited.

Libya: All metal detectors are banned.

Lithuania: Legislative changes have taken place in this country since 2010, when some restrictions on the use of metal detectors came into effect. Currently, historical artifacts can be searched after obtaining permission from the Department of Cultural Heritage. Metal detection is allowed on beaches.

Malaysia : Metal detectors are allowed.

Maldives : Metal detection is allowed without restrictions.

Malta: Individuals are prohibited from practicing metal detection. However, sometimes local authorities may grant permission to detect metals for a reasonable fee.

Great Britain (England): Since most of the land is privately owned, you will need permission from the owner. Any reward for a valuable item is shared with the landowner. Detections in archaeological areas can be carried out only after obtaining a permit (but it is not so difficult to obtain such a permit). Museums have the right of priority in the acquisition of discovered objects. Hiding the spot is punishable. Metal detectors are also allowed on beaches in England, although there are places where you need to get a permit or pay a fee. For example, if you want to practice metal detecting on a public beach, you will need to apply for permission from local authorities. Detection on the banks of the River Thames, within the borders of London, requires the payment of fees amounting to several tens of pounds. England ranks first in Europe, followed by Poland and France, in terms of the number of metal detector enthusiasts, mainly due to the very lax legislation, even encouraging, but also thanks to the important rewards obtained for the discovered pieces.

Morocco: Metal detectors officially banned. However, there are quite a few illegal treasure hunters in this country.

Mexico : Metal detection is allowed. But mineral detection in Mexico is the prerogative of the mafia clans, which, in addition to metal detection for archaeological purposes, have also begun to coordinate the detection of minerals on beaches.

Mongolia: Metal detectors are completely banned.

Namibia: It is forbidden to search for artifacts. Detection is allowed on the beaches.

Norway: Metal detectors are only allowed after obtaining a permit.

Poland: Metal detectors are only allowed on the basis of a special permit, which is very difficult to obtain. Disclosure without a permit is punishable by two years in prison. Officially, you can own a metal detector, but by law you can’t search it (except for power lines in 🙂 walls). In theory, it could be in serious trouble even for a worthless 60-year-old currency.

Portugal : metal detectors are prohibited to discover artifacts without permission from the authorities (who in fact only grant this permission specifically to archaeologists). There are metal detector clubs in the provinces of Lagoa and Portimão that receive permission to use metal detectors. There are excavators in Portugal, but they don’t search archaeological sites, and when they search other areas, they don’t boast that they are looking for artifacts. In addition, although very rarely, screening on beaches is allowed with special permission from the authorities and only for local residents.

Netherlands: Mineral detection is allowed on private land with the permission of the landowner, which is relatively easy to obtain as metal detection is a very common hobby in the Netherlands. Beach search doesn’t require a permit, but there may be local restrictions on the amount of time you can search during the day. It is strictly forbidden to detect in certain areas, especially in areas of battles and operations of World War II, which may endanger the lives of detectors. The list of restricted areas is easy to find on the Internet. Detection in forests is also prohibited if the site is far from the paths. Despite all of the above, each area has its own rules called ADV, which govern all aspects of a particular area, including metal detection. Detection is prohibited in local parks, nature reserves, sand dunes, flood defenses and any known and distinctive archaeological site (Roman sites are highly protected, do yourself a favor and do not look there).

Czech Republic : To search for artifacts, you will need permission.

Dominican Republic : Metal detection is allowed and encouraged without any restrictions.

Republic of Moldova : Since 2011, metal detection has been banned. The possession of metal detectors is also prohibited.

Russia: Search for historical artifacts is almost forbidden. Detection is allowed on the beaches.

Slovakia: The use of metal detectors requires a permit.

Spain: The use of metal detectors for the purpose of searching for artifacts is only permitted on the basis of a license. In southern Spain, in the province of Seville, you can only detect with permission, and to obtain this permission you may have to wait years. In Spain, if you find something that may be more than 200 years old, you must inform the authorities. If you find things like jewelry, phones, or almost anything of value, they should be handed over to the police, and after two years, if the owner doesn’t claim the item, you can get the item you found and sell or keep it. However, there are a large number of illegal treasure hunters in Spain. A few years ago, there were private treasure hunters who provided services to foreign tourists.

Sri Lanka: Metal detection is prohibited. The police react quickly to any information about treasure hunters.

United States: Metal detection is enabled. To search private land, you will need to obtain permission from the owner. There are a large number of regulations that prohibit metal detection on public lands (including cemeteries, schools, etc.), both at the federal and state levels. Those interested in metal detectors in the United States should read and abide by the following regulations: the American Antiquities Act of 1906, the National History Preservation Act of 1966 with updates of 2000, the Archaeological Resources Protection Act of 1997, and the Native American Cemetery Protection Act. and the Repatriation Act 1990.

Sweden : Mineral detection on private territory is allowed with the written consent of the owner and the authorities: you need a permit from Länsstyrelsen. You can apply for permission online, but it costs 700 crowns (about US$76) per area you want to detect and dig. It is necessary to make accurate maps that determine the area in which the metal detection will be carried out. Although it is a more theoretical judgment, it cannot be discovered deliberately for the purpose of discovering historical artifacts, but only with the intention of discovering other types of artifacts. Search on beaches is also allowed.

Thailand : Metal detection is allowed without restrictions.

Tunisia: Metal detectors banned. However, discoverers are often seen on some beaches.

Turkey: To search using a metal detector, including on the beach, you will need to obtain a permit. However, you should not rely solely on verbal permission from the hotel management: without written consent, the police can confiscate your metal detector (the detector can also end up in jail).

Ukraine : Mineral detection at officially declared archaeological sites is prohibited. In other areas, metal detection can be practiced.

Uganda: Metal detection is allowed without restrictions.

Hungary: The use of metal detectors requires a special permit.

Vietnam : Allows metal detection. Tourists prefer to uncover on the beaches. Anyone using a metal detector is a great show for locals and especially children. Local investigators are especially looking for artifacts from the war.

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