Oxfordshire County Council logo

Archaeological sites in Oxfordshire

What to do if you find an archaeological site.

While a lot of detailed archaeological knowledge comes from careful archaeological excavation, some of the information in the Historic Environment Record comes from finds made by members of the public. While this information is most welcome, you should:

  • always keep to public rights of way when crossing farmland
  • always follow the countryside code
  • remember that anything you find on a country walk is the property of the landowner over whose land the path crosses. The landowner should be informed of any finds. The presence of artefacts does not make the land publicly accessible.

If you wish to look for an archaeological site in an area of land you must first seek the landowner's permission.

Metal detecting

Metal detecting on a scheduled monument is an offence and will result in prosecution. If you are in any doubt about whether or not a site is scheduled please contact us.

Archaeological sites

If you think you've found an archaeological site, try not to disturb it before you have consulted an archaeologist. Contact us with the following information.

1. Where is the site?

An eight-figure grid reference is preferable or the location marked on an ordnance survey map, or a Google Earth print, along with the parish, the nearest town and a description of the location.

2. How did you discover the site?

For example, was it while work was being done on your property, or while you were out walking?

3. Why do you think it is an archaeological site?

What is it that drew your attention to the site? Is there a large concentration of archaeological finds? Are there visible structures? We will then be able to offer advice. One of our members of staff may arrange a visit if necessary.

Archaeological objects

Digital copies of any photos of artefacts or finds can be sent to the Archaeology team (see contact details above).  The Finds Liaison Officer can be contacted at the Museums Resource Centre for help with the identification of finds. This Centre is the principal store for all archaeological sites excavated in Oxfordshire.