Notify discovery of a relic

When and how to notify if archaeological relics are uncovered on land in NSW.

Under Section 146 of the Heritage Act 1977 you must notify us if you uncover a relic: 

  • that was not identified or considered in the supporting documents for a section 140 or section 60 approval
  • that is unexpectedly uncovered when there is no section 140 excavation permit or section 60 approval in place
  • when a section 139(4) exception is being used

You may need to do additional assessment and be granted approval before the work or activity can continue in the affected area, depending on the nature of the discovery.

How to notify

If you unintentionally or unexpectedly uncover a relic, depending on your situation, there are 2 different ways you could notify us.

Check this information to confirm the correct way to notify us.
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Gather your information

This includes:

  • information on where the relic was found including a plan and GPS location 
  • a photograph of the relic in its location (for context)
  • the historical context and significance of the relic
  • any proposed mitigation or management measures.
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Set up your user account

Register a user account for the Heritage Management System if you are a first-time user.

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Lodge your notification

Lodge your application online via the Heritage Management System.

You will receive an application ID.

What happens next

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Stop works at the site (and surrounding area) until you receive a formal response from us.

Keep records of the find.

We will review the information provided and guide you with the next steps.

These may include:

  • confirmation works can proceed
  • request for additional information
  • advice that an application for a s60 or s140 permit is required to manage the find.

If you uncover a relic when a section 139(4) exception is being used for your works or activity, send a section 146 notification to the Heritage Council of NSW via email to:

You will not receive a formal response to the email notification.

Include in your email:

  • the exception used and site address (for example ‘Relics found at 10 Prince Street, Princeton using exception 2b’)
  • the GPS location of the relic
  • a photograph of the relic in its location (for context)
  • a 500-word summary of test excavation works (only if using exception 2d).

We recommend you also submit any other documentation relating to the exception such as your completed Section 139(4) Exception Record of Use Form (DOC 2MB).

What happens next

Keep records of the find.

Check the section 139(4) exception still applies before continuing with your works or activity.