Essential Rules for New Detectorists

Children grow up with stories of hidden treasure that engage the mind and get the heart racing. Some of those kids continue along that exciting road by taking up archaeology as a hobby.

Detecting allows you to unearth archaeological finds that have remained buried for hundreds or even thousands of years. In addition to the thrill of touching a piece of history, there is the thrill that your find could make you a wealthier person.

This guide is for those of you taking up the pastime of metal detecting.   

Safety First

Whenever you are out in fields, you know that there is a chance that you may come across a dangerous animal or insect. Some plants will also be poisonous, so having knowledge of the area you're in and the potential threats is a good idea. Care should be taken at all times, and it's good practice to ensure that somebody knows where you are. Carrying a backpack with water, snacks, and personal protection is a good idea. In addition to the possibility of bites, some of the things that you might dig up could be a danger. Be careful of corrosive metal and glass. A good pair of safety gloves is a must have.  

National Parks

These are off limits, and heavy fines can be imposed for breaking the rules. There may be exceptions under your fossicking permit but check this carefully to be sure. Many state forests will require you to have a fossicking license or a state specific permit (like a VIC Miners Right) before you can hunt for treasure.

Heritage Listed Properties and Buildings

These sites are often protected under various heritage acts. Adhering to the laws concerning these sites is a must. Any discoveries made on such sites must not be disturbed or removed without authorisation. Additionally, beware when detecting near listed sites as the boundaries may not always be clear.

Don't Leave Holes

It is common courtesy to fill in any holes you create when they are no longer in use. You're more likely to be allowed to detect again if you don't leave the land looking like it's been infested by moles

Don't Leave Rubbish

A lot of what you might dig up will be junk and discarded refuse. Don't leave this on the land; take it with you.

Protect Your Finds

If you are fortunate enough to find a piece of history, you'll want to know what to do next. It is essential to know how to extract your find without damaging it and to ensure it is handled and stored correctly. If you are in any doubt, check with an archaeological society for more information.