Illicit metal detecting at Gosbecks Archaeological Park

PUBLISHED: 28 April 2023

Heritage bosses at Colchester City Council are concerned about a recent incident of illicit metal detecting or ‘night-hawking’ at Gosbecks Archaeological Park.

Several holes were dug at the site at Gosbecks earlier this month by someone using a metal detector to locate archaeological finds. Gosbecks has been described as one of the country’s premier Iron Age and Roman sites.

Colchester City Council would like to remind people that it is illegal to use a metal detector at the City Council-owned Park as is it a nationally important archaeological site protected as a Scheduled Ancient Monument. The site at Gosbecks includes both a Roman Temple and a Roman Theatre as well as evidence for the Iron Age farmstead associated with Cunobelin who was regarded as a king by the Romans.

In response to the incident, the Essex Rural Police Engagement Team have increased patrols in the park. Members of the public are also being asked to report any suspicious activity. The public can report any suspicious activity via 999 if it is happening at that moment, or later by calling 101 or completing a 101 online report.

Colchester City Council would like to remind the public that metal detecting is illegal on any Colchester City Council owned land.

Councillor Pam Cox, Portfolio Holder for Culture and Heritage, said: ‘We want all our residents to enjoy visiting Gosbecks Archaeological Park which is both important for the history of our city and as a refuge for wildlife. We will take appropriate action to deal with illicit metal detecting and are working closely with Essex Police and appeal to the public to report any concerns.”

Page last reviewed: 28 April 2023


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