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Metal Detecting in Poland - Basics

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Hi and welcome to our forum:)

I'd like to write a few words about metal detecting in Poland, subject which is not easy and is in a way highly controversial. For all of you contemplating a detecting trip to Poland, you have to bear in mind the following:

- Polish law states quite clearly that searching for historical artefacts (and that includes II World War militaria) with a metal detector without proper authorisation, is illegal.

- Proper authorisation" means basically that anyone who wants to detect in a certain area must obtain special permission from an official curator", responsible for conservation, preservation and protection of historical monuments and artefacts in his district/county. This is in addition to obtaining search permission from the land owner.

- Although not impossible, obtaining such permit is quite difficult as officials have to check that in your proposed search area there are no known archaeological sites. You also have to prove that you will be able to document your work through record keeping and that your project will be supervised by a qualified archaeologist.

- Therefore to stay on the right side of the law, you should obtain such a permit BEFORE you come to Poland. We will be glad to help you and provide advice on legal procedures and generally cut through the red tape.

- There are some exceptions to this rule, but you MUST have a trusted contact/partner who will look after you. Penalties for illegal searching are quite severe and include confiscation of your metal detector as well as fines and in the extreme cases, also imprisonment.

- Metal detecting on seaside beaches is generally permitted, provided that you don't intrude on anyone’s privacy etc.

I hope that this answers some of your questions, but don't hesitate to ask as it is much better to be safe than sorry;)

Best regards

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I think it is also worth adding that you do not want to be caught with any kind of a firearm (bought or excavated), or a part of a firearm, or anything that resembles or was once a firearm (the level of corrosion or deterioration does not matter here). Same goes for ammo, unless it is an empty shell with the primer stricken, but even then you might be subject to harassment from the authorities:)
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Few additional thoughts on the subject (there will be more as we go along as I've received few emails with questions and will try to answer you to the best of my abilities;))

- As you could see from the above, the law regarding metal detecting is very restrictive, or to be precise, prohibitive. Nethertheless it is possible to search for artefacts or militaria and as you can see, on this or other forums, there are thousands of people doing this. In fact it is estimated that there are between fifty and eighty thousand metal detectorists in Poland. This is due not only to the resourcefulness of Poles, but also because it is not so easy to interpret rules and regulations which are currently in place.
- Most Polish detectorists are interested in I and II World War militaria. Arms, miltary insignia and other items connected with Poland's tumultuous past. Officials interpreting the law cannot yet make up their mind how to treat such massive popular interest, so provided that searching is done in responsible and orderly manner, it is generally possible to avoid an open conflict with law enforcers.
- When it comes to portable antiquities", artefacts and coins, situation is completely different and detecting is done in more or less clandestine manner.
- Whichever type of detecting you do, remember to ALWAYS carry your documents with you.
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