Metal Detecting for Archaeological Projects: An Introduction

Course details

From £67.00

Sat 24 Nov 2018

Metal Detecting for Archaeological Projects: An Introduction


  Held in association with

  The Association of Detectorists



Of interest to the detectorist and archaeologist, this course looks to explore how the metal detector and detectorist practitioner, can become an important element in the processes of archaeological mitigation.  We will evaluate how ‘stratigraphy’ and ‘context’ relates the ‘Code of Practice’ through to an understanding of archaeological investigation and recording in the planning process.  We look at typical documents such as method statements and the Written Scheme of Investigation, to what will be required and expected of the detectorist when on site and further preparation and reporting for pre and post site attendance.  This introductory course will cover specific survey methodologies such as PDAS: Partial and Detailed Artefact Surveys and will be the precursor to further courses that focus on the embedding of metal detector use into professional practice.


With the intention of becoming a Research and Educational Institute, the Association of Detectorists have been establishing the body over 18 months with overwhelming support from archaeological and heritage bodies and institutes.  Our aim and mission is in developing a nationwide educational program based on archaeological and conservational principles, we look to encourage detectorists whose motivations are based in the research and preservation our National Heritage.  With courses to enhance the ‘hobbyists’ awareness of ‘contextual landscape’ to the highest level of ‘consultant practitioner', which focuses on embedding metal detecting into professional practice and creating a UK ‘Bank’ of consultant detectorists, to assist on archaeological projects.  

To find out more visit their website:



Programme details

   Held in association with

   The Association of Detectorists



9.30am   Registration

9.45am   Welcome and Introduction

  • Raising the profile of the ‘Consultant Practitioner’
  • Building the archaeologist/detectorist relationship
  • The ‘Code of Practice’ and ‘Treasure Act’
  • What do detectorists want in return?

11.00am   Coffee / tea

11.30am   Archaeological methods: the detectorists' prospective

  • Stratigraphy and the matrix
  • Recording and context
  • Trial trenching and evaluation
  • Working with the Project Manager

12.45pm   Lunch

2.00pm    The role of the detectorist practitioner

  • Responsibilities and what is expected?
  • Typical documents and the detectorists submittal
  • Health and safety and certification schemes
  • Discussions on forward development

3.15pm     Tea / coffee

3.45pm    Methodology and the detectorist

  • Site evaluation and custom settings
  • The need for standardised methodologies
  • PDAS: Partial and Detailed Artefact Survey
  • The detectorists check-list

5.00pm    Course disperses



Tuition (includes coffee/tea): £67.00
Baguette Lunch: £4.90
Hot Lunch: £14.00


If you are in receipt of a state benefit you may be eligible for a reduction of 50% of tuition fees.

If you do not qualify for the concessionary fee but are experiencing financial hardship, you may still be eligible for financial assistance.

Concessionary fees for short courses



Keith Westcott

Course Director and Tutor

Keith, initially through diving on ship wrecks, developed his interest in historical research and has been ‘metal detecting’ for over 25 years.  His discovery of the Broughton Hoard, on display in the Ashmolean, was the last case in the Oxford Crown Court of Common Law ‘Treasure Trove’, which led the British Numismatic Society to relating the Spanish coins to Charles I and Queen Henrietta Maria.  Through adopting archaeological principles and in forming a theory, Keith set out in 2016 to look for a high status Roman building.  What he discovered exceeded all expectations, one of England’s previously undiscovered ‘Great Courtyard Villas’.


Dr Alison MacDonald

Director of Studies

Dr Alison MacDonald is a Lecturer in Archaeology at OUDCE.

She received her BA in Classical Civilisation and Ancient History from Sheffield University (1989) and her doctorate from Oxford University (2003). Her research interests include Roman landscapes and Roman material culture and identity, and her fieldwork is in central Italy where she has worked on a number of landscape archaeology projects.