Metal detectorists found nearly 1,000 treasure items in 2012

Amateur archaeologists with metal detectors found 990 items classified as treasure during 2012, according to figures from the British Museum.

All of the rare coins, rings and brooches contain gold or silver, and many date back more than 1,200 years.

The public reported more than 74,000 other historical items to the Portable Antiquities Scheme, which experts say has “revolutionised archaeology”.

More than 900,000 objects have been reported since it started in 1997.

The verification process takes several months, which is why the items submitted in 2012 are only being detailed now.

Neil MacGregor, Director of the British Museum said the scheme, which launched its annual report today, was “ensuring that finds found by ordinary members of the public are rewriting history.”

Metal detectorists found nearly 1,000 treasure items in 2012

Rare 16th century English shilling found in Victoria, Canada

Bruce Campbell was just looking for a way to get off the couch and out of the house. He had no plans to help rewrite history.

By the time he dug down in the blue clay and pulled out an unusual black coin, it had already been a pretty good day. It was getting dark and the tide was coming in, so Campbell headed home and posted photographs of his finds on the Official Canadian Metal Detecting website.

“I thought everybody was going to ooh and ah over the 1891 nickel, and it turned out I’d made a discovery that was a little more important than that,” he said.

Under a picture of the black coin, he wrote: “Not sure what it is so calling all the experts. Please chime in.” He didn’t have long to wait.

“Some of the guys started saying, ‘That’s not just any old coin. That’s an English hammered silver coin,’ ” Campbell said. “And as I was doing cleaning on it, I posted updated pictures.”

Over in Port Coquitlam, Bill Herbst took one look at the coin and his jaw dropped. He recognized it as a rare English shilling from 1551-53, issued during Edward VI’s brief reign.

Rare 16th century English shilling found in Victoria, Canada

17th century gold ring found in Staffordshire

A rare 17th century gold ring found with a metal detector is set to be snapped by Stoke-on-Trent’s biggest museum.

The mourning ring was unearthed underneath some brambles in the Newcastle area in June 2010.

It has been declared treasure and is currently being stored at The British Museum, in London.

But it is understood that The Potteries Museum and Art Gallery, in Hanley, is bidding to bring the antique back to North Staffordshire.

17th century gold ring found in Staffordshire

Zoomorphic Penannular Brooches in 6th and 7th Century Ireland

Abstract: In this thesis the author examines the evolution, manufacture, and societal significance of zoomorphic penannular brooches, a type of metal dress fastener used in early medieval Ireland that is often decorated. The brooches examined are dated to the 6th and 7th centuries, during which the Irish underwent a process of religious conversion from Celtic paganism to Christianity, and social rank was paramount. It is in this social context that the brooches are examined. Despite the significance of this time of social change, brooches from this period tend to be overlooked by scholarship in favor of the more ornate metalwork of the 8th and 9th centuries. The author begins by discussing the origin and evolution of the zoomorphic penannular brooch form, and the motifs used to decorate it. This is followed by an explanation of the brooch in early medieval Irish society, based on an examination of early Irish law and literature.

By Esther Ward, Master’s Thesis, University of Nebraska, 2012

Zoomorphic Penannular Brooches in 6th and 7th Century Ireland

Waterlogged permission

I wandered out to my No 2 pasture permission this morning to blow the post-Christmas cobwebs away. Nothing doing. It’s completely waterlogged. There was shallow standing water on the flat fields and the sloping one had running water seeping down the slope towards the beck which runs through the permission. The cowpats had dissolved so there were murky brown puddles everywhere. The sheep and cattle looked pretty miserable as well.

The stream was very swollen and I see from the Environment Agency map that there is a flood alert out for the beck. Give the condition of the ground and the forecasts for yet more rain I suspect part of this permission will be properly underwater in a couple of days.

Later in the week I will try the No1 permission and see if it’s any better. At least there isn’t a stream running through or alongside it.

Looted Viking treasure is discovered in British Museum store

A Celtic treasure looted by the Vikings more than 1,000 years ago has been discovered in the British Museum’s storerooms. An ornate, gilded disc brooch dating from the eighth or ninth century was found by chance and is being described as a “staggering find”. No-one knew of its existence until now.

It had been concealed in a lump of organic material excavated from a Viking burial site at Lilleberge in Norway by a British archaeologist in the 1880s and acquired by the British Museum in 1891.

Curator Barry Ager, a Vikings specialist, was poring over artefacts before a visit from a Norwegian researching the Viking site when his eye was caught by some metal sticking out of the side of the organic lump.

Intrigued, he asked the conservation department to X-ray it. “At that stage, I really didn’t know what was inside,” he said. “It was a staggering find.”

Looted Viking treasure is discovered in British Museum store