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Dumfries & Galloway

Reporting a Find

Under Scottish law all portable antiquities of archaeological, historical or cultural significance, whether made of precious metal or any other material, are subject to claim by the Crown through the Treasure Trove system and must be reported to the Treasure Trove Unit for assessment. The Treasure Act (1996) does not apply in Scotland.

In Dumfries and Galloway the archaeology service or local museum can offer you practical advice and help with the procedure. Details may subsequently be included in the Dumfries and Galloway Historic Environment Record (HER).

The law applies to all newly discovered finds and to old finds which have not been reported, whether they are found by metal-detecting, by chance, by fieldwork or by archaeological investigation, and is the same whether such objects were: hidden or just lost in buildings in streams, lakes or rivers in natural ground The Crown does not always exercise its claim, but all objects found should be reported, so that a decision can be made.

Rewards for those items that are selected for retention by the State are paid to the finders, and are based on the market value of the find. Valuations for reward purposes may be affected by the promptness with which a find is reported, and the care taken by the finder in not destroying important evidence by untrained cleaning or by unskilled digging on the site or by breaking up a group of objects, which may have considerably more value as a group than as individual items. Further information is available from Treasure Trove Scotland. Inland underwater finds are treated legally in the same way as those on land.

The HER also provides information and advice for individuals or groups who wish to undertake metal-detecting activity in the region. If you discover human remains you should immediately report this to the local police. Do not touch the remains and avoid disturbing the ground in their vicinity because the evidence from either a modern scene of crime or ancient burial is equally fragile. It might save time if you also report the find to the Local Authority's archaeologist or local museum but the police will consult with the Local Authority's archaeologist if they suspect your discovery is an ancient burial. 

Archaeology Service

Environmental Planning
Newall Terrace

Tel: 01387 260154