Abstract We experimentally investigate the transport through a shunted surface superlattice under the influence of a magnetic field applied perpendicular to the current direction. The current–voltage characteristics of these surface superlattices exhibit a peak which is followed by a wide region of negative differential resistance. The application of a transverse magnetic field has a profound influence on the position and height of this peak. The recorded shifts are compared to the predictions of different superlattice transport theories. Since these theories predict a different dependence on the magnetic field strength, the transport mechanism in the surface superlattice structures can be uniquely determined.