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Historic Monuments and Archaeological Objects (Northern Ireland) Order 1995

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Reporting of archaeological objects foundN.I.

42.—(1) Any person who finds an archaeological object (in this Article referred to as “the finder”) shall, within 14 days of finding the object—

(a)report to a relevant authority—

(i)the circumstances of the finding;

(ii)the nature of the object found; and

(iii)the name (if known) of the owner or occupier of the land on which the object was found; and

(b)subject to paragraph (2), deposit the object found with the relevant authority.

(2) Where the archaeological object found is not readily portable, the finder shall so specify in his report under paragraph (1), and shall state where any person authorised in that behalf by the[F1 chief executive officer] or the Department may inspect the object.

(3) A police officer to whom a report is made under paragraph (1) shall forthwith—

(a)send details of that report to the[F1 chief executive officer]; and

(b)where any archaeological object was deposited with the report, send that object to the[F1 chief executive officer] unless for any reason he considers that the object is not suitable to be sent to the[F1 chief executive officer].

(4) An archaeological object which is deposited with the[F1 chief executive officer] or the Department under paragraph (1) or sent to the[F1 chief executive officer] under paragraph (3)(b) may be retained by the[F1 chief executive officer] or the Department for the statutory period for the purpose of examining and recording it and carrying out any test or treatment which appears to the[F1 chief executive officer] or the Department to be desirable for the purpose of archaeological investigation or analysis or with a view to restoring or preserving the object.

(5) An archaeological object which is deposited with a police officer under paragraph (1) and not sent by him to the[F1 chief executive officer] under paragraph (3)(b) may be retained by him for the statutory period to facilitate inspection of the object by the[F1 chief executive officer] or a person authorised in that behalf by the[F1 chief executive officer].

(6) Except with the consent of the[F1 chief executive officer] or the Department, the finder shall not, before the expiration of the statutory period, deliver the archaeological object to a person other than a relevant authority or otherwise part with the possession of the object.

(7) A finder who, without reasonable cause, acts in contravention of any provision of this Article, and any other person (other than a relevant authority) who, knowingly and without the consent of a relevant authority, obtains possession of any archaeological object before the expiration of the statutory period, shall be guilty of an offence and liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding level 3 on the standard scale.

(8) The Department may give financial assistance towards the purchase of any archaeological object, the finding of which has been reported under this Article.

(9) Financial assistance under paragraph (8) may be given subject to such conditions (including conditions as to the public exhibition of the purchased object) as the Department thinks fit.

(10) The[F1 chief executive officer] shall make a report to the Department on every object deposited with or sent to him under this Article.

[F2(10A) This Article does not apply in relation to an object if the person who found it believes or has reasonable grounds for believing that the object is treasure within the meaning of the Treasure Act 1996.]

(11) Nothing in this Article—

(a)affects any right of the Crown in relation to[F2 any treasure within the meaning of the Treasure Act 1996]; or

(b)affects the right of any person to the ownership of an archaeological object.

(12) In this Article—

  • [F1“the chief executive officer” means the chief executive officer of the Board of Trustees of the National Museums and Galleries of Northern Ireland;]

  • “relevant authority” means the[F1 chief executive officer], the Department or the officer in charge of a police station;

  • “the statutory period” in relation to an archaeological object means the period of 3 months beginning with the date on which a report of the finding of that object is made under paragraph (1).

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