Metal Detecting In New Hampshire? You Should Know The Law

Metal detecting in New Hampshire follows the ARPA (Archeological Resources Preservation Act).

Be sure and click on the link below for the ARPA explanation and some of the problems people face who break this law.

People who are metal detecting are being arrested for digging in areas that are off limits.

The areas you should be concerned about are State and Federal lands. There are two main laws that explain the removal of artifacts on those lands. I explain each briefly, and provide links to more information.

Do Not Break The Law!

Be sure and read through the entire page at this link. ARPA and You

Even though ARPA does not specifically mention "metal detecting", you need to understand what ARPA says about digging artifacts.

The laws were written to protect relics on Indian lands. But unfortunately they broadened their scope to include any artifact more than 100 years old.

In addition to the above mentioned ARPA law, if you are detecting in New Hampshire, you must be aware of another law,the National Historic Preservation Act. (NHPA)


As confusing as the above laws may seem, if you are detecting in New Hampshire,

Do not dig anything that you believe is an artifact, or anything that is older than 100 years.

Especially if you are on any State Lands.

Do Not Give Up The Hobby

Many have said to me that they are tired of the laws that restrict us from metal detecting, and they are ready to quit the hobby. I tell them if they do, then the beauracrats who make these laws, and the Archaeologists who defend them, will win. If you happen to be thinking this way understand that for many years we have had these laws, and the hobby is still going strong.

Private Property

Metal detecting on private property does not come under the above laws.

If you want to detect on private property, then be sure you get written permission from the landowner.

For detecting in New Hampshire, town, village and city parks, you'll need to check with those local officials.

I cannot be responsible for any outdated laws from the time of this posting.

My home page is all about metal detecting in eastern ghost towns.

Have you tried metal detecting in New Hampshire ghost towns?

Remember, don't give up the hobby because of a few laws. There are still many places to detect.


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