Gold rush: how much hidden treasure is found each year?

We’re used to seeing unusual statistics from government, but this one from the Department for Culture, Media & Sport is a particular rarity; it’s all about treasure. Real treasure that is. All 970 bits of it that were discovered in 2011. This is what we found out.

The common law of Treasure Trove in England, Wales and Northern Ireland was replaced by the the Treasure Act 1996. Now, the ‘finder’ is legally obliged to report the object to a local coroner within 14 days who will lead an inquest.

Then it’s a waiting game – if it turns out to be treasure, then the finder has to offer it up for sale to a museum. The price is decided by an independent board of antiquities experts. If the museum can’t or won’t buy the item, the ‘finder’ has the right to keep the treasure.


92.7% of treasure was uncovered using a metal detector, compared to a mere 3.4% from archeological digs.

Gold rush: how much hidden treasure is found each year?

The Guardian article also includes maps showing the distribution of treasure finds by county in 2011 and a link to download the entire spreadsheet of data.

Coin from short-lived reign of Roman emperor found

A rare coin from the reign of ill-fated Roman emperor Vitellius has been dug up in Swindon and could be the only recorded find of the currency in Wiltshire.

The piece of copper alloy is an unusual discovery as he ruled for just eight tumultuous months before being defeated on the battlefield and executed.

Discovered in Wanborough, the coin depicts the emperor in a slightly more flattering light than others, showing his ruddy complexion and flabby cheeks.

Vitellius reigned in 69AD, the year of the four emperors, which was around 200 years before Roman villas sprang up across Wiltshire in a period of prosperity.

Coin from short-lived reign of Roman emperor found

Crosby Garrett Helmet heading to Carlisle’s Tullie House

A Roman cavalry helmet sold for £2.2m after it was discovered in a Cumbrian field is to go on show in Carlisle from Friday.

The Crosby Garrett Helmet, named after the village near Penrith where it was found using a metal detector, will be displayed at Tullie House Museum.

Museum director Hilary Wade said it was “one of the most extraordinary objects from the Roman period in Britain”.

Crosby Garrett Helmet heading to Carlisle’s Tullie House

Tragic tale behind 18th century ring found in a Shropshire field

The tragic story behind a beautiful ring discovered in a field in Shropshire has been revealed by metal detectorist Tony Baker.

Mr Baker found the gold ring while out metal detecting in a field near Bridgnorth in 2005. Inscribed on the ring were the names Mary and Sarah Littleton and the date June 7, 1735.

He did his own research and discovered that the ring, which has a rock crystal, was made by Thomas Littleton in memory of his wife Mary and their child Sarah, who had died in childbirth.

Mr Baker, 66, will tell the tale of the ring on ITV’s Britain’s Secret Treasures on an episode due to be screened on October 31.

Tragic tale behind 18th century ring found in a Shropshire field

War find leads to Stourport hunt for relatives

Metal detecting enthusiasts have found a wartime identification plate on a north Devon beach and believe it belonged to the father of a Stourport woman.

In February, Paul Fordham and his six-year-old daughter Maya were scanning a beach near their home in Barnstaple.

It was an area used during the Second World War for D-Day preparation, testing of weapons and training by UK and US troops.

One of the items found and collected by the pair was a metal plate, which they initially thought nothing of and stored in a scrap metal box.

Several months after the find, Mr Fordham and his daughter cleaned the plate and discovered the words “S.B.Whitten S.LT. R.N.V.R.”

War find leads to Stourport hunt for relatives

Silverdale Hoard on display in Lancaster

The Siverdale Hoard will go on display in Lancaster next week, but it won’t be staying in the city.

The 1,100-year-old collection of Viking silver, discovered by a metal detectorist in Silverdale in 2011, can be viewed at Lancaster City Museum from October 25, but will then be transferred to the Museum of Lancashire in Preston, which will be its permanent home.

Alan Sandham, the chair of the Friends of Lancaster City Musuem, said: “We are glad that Lancaster will get the first chance to see the Silverdale Hoard, but we are disappointed that the city council decided against purchase, which would have led to the hoard being displayed in Lancaster permanently instead of Preston.”

Silverdale Hoard on display in Lancaster

Roman coins confiscated after illegal use of metal detector

Police in Episkopi [Cyprus] arrested a 48-year-old man late on Wednesday for allegedly using a metal detector in an area where it is prohibited.

Officers were tipped off that an unknown man was using a metal detector near the ancient Curium theatre in the Latsidia area of Episkopi.

The 48-year-old was searched by police who found and confiscated the metal detector, various digging tools, pieces of scrap made of lead, a lead plate and four small bronze coins.

Roman coins confiscated after illegal use of metal detector