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Section 42 licences for surveys on Scheduled Monuments

A monument which has been scheduled is protected against ground disturbance or unlicensed metal detecting. A licence is required to carry out geophysical surveys and use a metal detector over a scheduled monument or other protected place.

Historic England are responsible for administering the application process and issuing licences under Section 42 of the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979

Such a licence permits metal detecting or a geophysical survey on a site which has legal protection.

It is against the law to use a metal detector or remove an object found at a monument without a licence from Historic England.

If you are interested in applying for a licence, please read the Information for Applicants note below. This explains what information you will need to include in your application, and sets out the reporting, archiving and signposting conditions and requirements.

Applications are handled by our local offices and licences are issued by the relevant Inspector of Ancient Monuments. Please contact your nearest local office if you are thinking of making an application.

It is a condition of the licence that reports are provided within an agreed timescale to the Inspector who issued the licence, the relevant local Historic Environment Record (HER), and in the case of licences for geophysical survey Historic England's Geophysics Team Manager.

Surveyors must also complete and submit an entry signposting their investigation using the online OASIS Data Collection form.

You may wish to look at the following publications prior to submitting your application and conducting your survey:  

Geophysical Survey in Archaeological Field Evaluation

Geophysical Survey in Archaeological Field Evaluation

Published 1 April 2008

Guidance to help archaeologists better understand and engage with the techniques of geophysical survey.

EAC Guidelines for the Use of Geophysics in Archaeology

EAC Guidelines for the Use of Geophysics in Archaeology

Published 25 January 2016

In collaboration with the International Society for Archaeological Prospection, we have created an updated version of our guidance which has now been published as Guidelines 2 by the European Archaeological Council

Our Portable Past

Our Portable Past

Published 7 January 2014

Amended edition of statement of good practice for portable antiquities / surface collected material in the context of field archaeology and survey programmes (including the use of metal detectors).

To find out more about licences for geophysical survey, see our Geophysical Survey Advice page.

You can also find out about applications for Scheduled Monument Consent.

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