Metal detector legal question

Are there any legal restrictions on using metal detectors and keeping the finds? Both US and Europe.

Depends. Your yard, a public beach…ok. Gettysburg National Park…no.

agree with above - check your local laws - some state or city parks / beaches allow it - many do not.

Do a google search, there are sites out there that help keep track of it and most parks / areas state yea or nay

As Europe is no county yet - and God beware, every single state has it’s own legal framework for this.


  • Ok on your own property. You can keep what you find to a certain depth, all deeper belongs to the govt again. If you find archeological stuff (no matter how deep) you have to report it and mostly will loose it. If you find a crate of gold “shallow” you will be taxed. If you find German WW2 ammo there you will pay for recovery and disposal. And you are not allowed to do a particular search for ammo. Also some of the laws may vary from state to state.
  • Ok on someone else’s property when he agreed.
  • For public/govt ground you need a licence. What you find you can NOT keep!
1 Like

Add Little Bighorn National Monument in Montana to that no list.

I can’t help with specific rules and regulation since I don’t know where you are and what you’re trying to dig for.

The biggest piece of advice I can give is to get WRITTEN permission from any landowner before you start digging.

ETA: if you do manage to go to public or government property then make sure the person at the top of the food chain signs your note. “I didn’t approve you to do that, that’s my secretary’s signature”

I concur with squeaker.
Many years ago when importing collectors cartridges I checked out the customs rules and could quote their own documentation to them, same with IATA packaging. It made it very difficult for them to contradict me when I could quote the document and reference no.
One time I was being over ruled so I said," that means the previous officer was wrong when he said the shipment was OK?" He decided it was better to not argue.
The main thing is to know the rules better than the officials, and adhere to them.

Hi All

Poland. Exploration with the metall detector without permission, officially prohibited. Threatened by imprisonment. If the consent of the land owner and official permission from the conservator’s office are allowed . But you have to meet the requirements of the office - the consent of the owner, a map with a marked location, archaeologist supervision, a fee charged … and you can search.



As a member of the Romanian NGO of the ECMD federation , i can tell you that rules are different for each country, and in some instances different for various areas of the country (ex. Lands in Germany).

It depends on where you want to go and dig.

In Romania you need a special permit for metal detecting, and that can only be acquired if you have Romanian citizenship.