Skip to content

Advice and Support

Surveying scheduled monuments

Learn about the main survey techniques used to examine scheduled monuments and see what kind of consent is required for each.

We encourage the non-invasive survey of scheduled monuments, as it can help to improve our knowledge and understanding of a site without causing it any damage.

A number of survey techniques require the prior written consent of Historic Environment Scotland. It’s a criminal offence to use these techniques in a scheduled monument area without first obtaining the relevant consent.

You don’t need to tell us in advance if you plan to conduct a survey that doesn’t require consent. (You should, of course, inform the owner or occupier.) But it can be very useful for us to know that such work will be taking place. We’d also appreciate receiving a copy of your results.

The table below outlines what kind of consent, if any, is required for the main types of survey work. This is not an exhaustive list.

Survey method SMC S42 None
Topographic x
Resistivity x
Magnetometry/gradiometry x
Magnetic susceptibility (field coil) x
Magnetic susceptibility (sampling) x
Metal detecting x
Ground penetrating radar x
Seismic survey x
LiDAR survey x
Field walking (removal of artefacts) x
Insertion of permanent survey markers x
Insertion of survey markers or probes (temporary or permanent) below the depth of the current topsoil x
Excavation on any scale x

Key

SMC: Scheduled monument consent
S42: Section 42 consent for metal detecting

Contact

Heritage Directorate
Historic Environment Scotland 
Longmore House 
Salisbury Place 
Edinburgh 
EH9 1SH

Telephone: 0131 668 8716
Email: hmenquiries@hes.scot

Share