An inverse method for the characterisation of the elastoplastic behaviour of materials has been studied. The method is based on spherical indentation test data and numerical analysis of the indentation process, enabling to find a characteristic stress-strain curve. This method will be appropriate for elastoplastic behaviour study, mainly on surface hardened materials, when the standard methods cannot be applied. In this work, the method was applied to annealed and quenched steels, with homogeneous properties over the cross section. The obtained results are in good agreement with those obtained from the standard tensile tests. However, if the material does not follow a linear hardening law, the elastoplastic characteristics determined by the inverse method will depend on the indentation depth. For these cases a method for the evaluation of the actual behaviour law has been improved.