Ancient Bulgarian coins
Possession and use of a metal detector in Bulgaria requires registration with the Culture Ministry and lack of such registration was a crime, Culture Minister Vezhdi Rashidov said on February 10 in reply to a letter from Ilia Iliev, head of the Bulgarian National Federation of Metal-detecting.
Iliev had objected to the tip-off that Rashidov send to law enforcement agencies in January 2010, saying the that members of the federation did not possess the required registration.
The federation had been registered as a not-for-profit organisation in the Bulgarian town of Lovech on December 2 2009. Registered activity of the federation was "metal detecting," or finding metal objects with the aid of metal detectors, a Culture Ministry media statement said.
Possession and use of metal detectors for this purpose has been regulated by the Culture Heritage Act and requires each metal detector to be registered with the Culture Ministry. Members of the foundation did not file for such a registration, the ministry said.
The issue is contentious in Bulgaria, where all archaeological finds, including old coins, are considered state property and unauthorised digs are a crime. Efforts to legalise the open use of metal detectors have consistently been rebuffed by state bodies, which have treated it as attempts to legalise tomb-raiding.