The remediation of land containing munitions and explosives of concern, otherwise known as unexploded ordnance, is an ongoing problem facing the U.S. Department of Defense and similar agencies worldwide that have used or are transferring training ranges or munitions disposal areas to civilian control. The expense associated with cleanup of land previously used for military training and war provides impetus for research towards enhanced discrimination of buried unexploded ordnance. Towards reducing that expense, a multiaxis electromagnetic induction data collection and software system, called ALLTEM, was designed and tested with support from the U.S. Department of Defense Environmental Security Technology Certification Program. ALLTEM is an on-time time-domain system that uses a continuous triangle-wave excitation to measure the target-step response rather than traditional impulse response. The system cycles through three orthogonal transmitting loops and records a total of 19 different transmitting and receiving loop combinations with a nominal spatial data sampling interval of 20 cm. Recorded data are pre-processed and then used in a hybrid discrimination scheme involving both data-driven and numerical classification techniques. The data-driven classification scheme is accomplished in three steps. First, field observations are used to train a type of unsupervised artificial neural network, a self-organizing map (SOM). Second, the SOM is used to simultaneously estimate target parameters (depth, azimuth, inclination, item type and weight) by iterative minimization of the topographic error vectors. Third, the target classification is accomplished by evaluating histograms of the estimated parameters. The numerical classification scheme is also accomplished in three steps. First, the Biot–Savart law is used to model the primary magnetic fields from the transmitter coils and the secondary magnetic fields generated by currents induced in the target materials in the ground. Second, the target response is modelled by three orthogonal dipoles from prolate, oblate and triaxial ellipsoids with one long axis and two shorter axes. Each target consists of all three dipoles. Third, unknown target parameters are determined by comparing modelled to measured target responses. By comparing the rms error among the self-organizing map and numerical classification results, we achieved greater than 95 per cent detection and correct classification of the munitions and explosives of concern at the direct fire and indirect fire test areas at the UXO Standardized Test Site at the Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland in 2010.