Metal Detecting

May 22, 2024

Metal Detecting

The beach at Wasson Bluff.


Nova Scotians love being outside enjoying the beautiful landscape of our province. Throughout the warmer months, many people will be exploring the fields, forests, and beaches with their metal detectors. Metal detecting can be an exciting hobby and a great way to have fun while exploring the outdoors. The Nova Scotia Department of Communities, Culture, Tourism, & Heritage would like to inform Nova Scotians who metal detect that there are some rules you need to follow:


  • Metal detecting is not permitted on archaeological sites or in cemeteries. These areas are protected by the Special Places Protection Act (SPPA) and the Cemeteries & Monuments Protection Act (C&MPA), respectively.
  • Not all parks allow metal detecting. Before metal detecting in a park, it’s important to determine the rules for that specific location. Different jurisdictions will have different rules about metal detecting.
  • If you are on private land, make sure you have the landowner’s permission to be on the property and to metal detect.
  • Metal detecting is legal so long as it is not being conducted with the intention of locating heritage objects. Remember, hunting for artifacts and treasure hunting are illegal in Nova Scotia. It is in violation of the SPPA to remove heritage objects/artifacts from an archaeological site. It is also illegal to damage, destroy, or to otherwise alter an archaeological site.
  • If you dig in an area without a permit, you could potentially damage a protected archaeological site and could face charges under the SPPA including fines.


For more information on protection of Nova Scotia’s rich cultural landscape, please visit our website:


For more specific information regarding metal detecting in Nova Scotia, visit our page on metal detecting at:


If you have any questions about metal detecting or the Special Places Protection Program, please contact us at: or (902) 424-6450.