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Information for the finders of treasure in Northern Ireland

Last updated: 26 July 2012

TreasureOn occasion certain types of archaeological objects are uncovered in Northern Ireland which are classified as treasure. Such objects fall under special legislation called The Treasure Act 1996Opens in New window, which replaces the common law of treasure trove in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Objects classified as treasure have to be dealt with under special procedures separate to that for other types of archaeological objects. We have produced a leaflet, The Treasure Act: Information for Finders of Treasure in Northern IrelandOpens in New window which provides further details. If you suspect you have discovered treasure, or any other archaeological object, you should contact us, the Ulster Museum or your local PSNI station as soon as possible.

Metal detectorists should be aware of the restrictions on searching for archaeological objects imposed by the Historic Monuments and Archaeological Objects (NI) Order 1995. Under this Order it is an offence to search for archaeological objects without an archaeological excavation licence issued by us. It is also an offence to be in possession of a detecting device on a protected site (Scheduled or State Care monuments) or to remove an archaeological object from a protected site without written consent from us.

We have produced a guidance leaflet entitled Metal Detecting, Archaeology and the Law which gives advice on the main points of the law regarding metal detecting in Northern Ireland.