Battlefield archaeology and metal detecting

The Battlefields Trust is supportive of archaeological metal detecting on nationally important battlefields and their periphery provided it is conducted to current standards of best practice within the framework of an archaeological survey. The Trust’s policy on and methodology for battlefield surveys can be found here. Requests for advice on how to conduct professional surveys are welcome and should be sent to

Ad hoc metal detecting, whether or not recording is undertaken, can cause the loss of evidence. It thus jeopardises future advances in understanding of the nature of the fighting that can be gained from systematic archaeological survey by distorting the surviving distribution pattern.  

But the Battlefields Trust is interested in all finds of battlefield artefacts from antiquity to the 20th century, including, but not limited to, arrowheads, musket and pistol balls, related items such as powder flask tops, found on unknown sites of conflict and welcomes reports of such finds. For those who are planning to metal detect on unknown sites of conflict, the Trust endorses the Code or Practice for Responsible Metal Detecting produced by the Portable Antiquities Scheme. As a minimum, anyone intending to detect and provide information on finds to the Trust should ensure they follow this code of practice, including having the landowner’s permission to report finds, and provide photographs of the artefacts with details of their location to the greatest a degree of accuracy possible preferably using a GPS (global positioning system) unit, so that the distribution of finds can be better understood. If the finds appear to be significant then the Trust will also be interested in the weight and size/diameter of the artefact and such information might be subsequently requested. 

The Battlefields Trust would also be interested in reports of battlefield artefacts collected before the introduction of the Code of Practice for Responsible Metal Detecting.

To inform the Battlefields Trust about battlefield related artefact finds please contact

Battlefields Trust News

Battlefields Trust Events

Join the Battlefields Trust

Donate to The Battlefields Trust
The Battlefields Resource Centre