Monday, January 15, 2007

Amateur archaeology update Treasure trove: Metal-detecting finds up by 20 per cent in a year
For most treasure seekers the promising glint of a gold coin in the garden has turned out on closer inspection to be a rusting bottle top. However, a report to be published this week will show that more buried treasure than ever is being reported found in the UK by amateur archaeologists armed with metal detectors.

The number of reported valuable finds has increased by nearly 20 per cent in the last year, with discoveries including iron age and medieval hoards, Roman coins and exquisite examples of Anglo-Saxon jewellery.

The official report will show that thousands of finds are being reported each year and that 506 discoveries were significant enough to be declared as treasure trove. The remarkable increase has caused huge excitement among museums and in government.

The article notes that this probably results from a change in laws requiring finds -- on public or private land -- to be reported and any proceeds from the sale split between the finder and the owner of the land, if private. This would never work here (U.S.) because of our stronger private property rights, but a more voluntary system has been batted about here before.