The contemporary decolonisation movement necessitates ethical reconsideration of the ownership of archaeological sites and objects, alongside reconsideration of the control of the archaeological and historical narrative. In this article, a British archaeologist argues that as we work towards decolonisation, heritage law must change. Advances in metal detecting technology have made the collection of archaeological artefacts easier than ever before; popular perceptions need to shift away from the hunt for buried treasure. Archaeological and ethnographic material should be legally defined as the patrimony of the local community, and ought to be held in public ownership/stewardship in that country. In England today, unless it is a known archaeological site or monument that is specially designated, there is no permit required to excavate, and no licence needed to go metal detecting, only the private landowner’s permission. In England and in the U.S., it is still legal for dealers and auction houses to trade in archaeological material. Ending the trade in antiquities would be analogous to the proposed worldwide ban on trading in wildlife, an issue that has recently risen up the global agenda. Abolition of sales of archaeological material at British auction houses could eventually have the added advantage of making the global antiquities market unsustainable.