In her role as one of the experts in Channel 4’s long-running Time Team series, Dr Helen Geake saw many exciting finds come to the surface. But the discovery of the stunning gold and jewel pendant, dug out of a muddy South Norfolk field and announced today, tops the lot.
The exquisite 7cm pendant is stunningly made with gold ‘cells’ and red garnet inlays. Some of the garnets have been cut to make animal ‘interlace’, a popular and highly-skilled design technique from the period where representations of creatures are stretched out and intricately interwoven.
But all of these discoveries were still in the future when Tom Lucking, a first-year UEA landscape archaeology student and keen member of the Suffolk Archaeological Field Group, was exploring the field – with the landowner’s permission – just before Christmas.
His detector found a large and deep signal, and he dug down just far enough to reveal the top of a bronze bowl. Instead of carrying on he did exactly the right thing: carefully re-filling the hole and calling in the Field Group’s geophysics team to survey the site, and Norfolk County Council’s Heritage Environment Service to assess any finds.
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.”
The urgent appeal to raise £60,000 to enable Saffron Walden Musuem Society to keep five archaeological treasures discovered in the area has already received more than £2,500 of the Society’s £7,500 local funding target.
The thousands of pounds, which have come from generous local donors and organisations, have been donated after the Society launched a public appeal two months ago to keep the items close to where they were buried.
The finds, made by metal detector enthusiasts, were declared treasure after their discovery since 2011.
A three-year touring exhibition about the discovery of the Staffordshire Hoard has been launched.
The hoard comprises more than 1,500 Anglo-Saxon items found by a metal detectorist buried on a farm in Staffordshire in July 2009.
The collection was subsequently valued at £3.3m and is now owned by Birmingham City Council and Stoke-on-Trent City Council.
The exhibition has been paid for by £47,000 of Heritage Lottery Funding.
It will tour various community venues across the West Midlands for three years and “tell the story” of the discovery of the hoard using replica items and video footage.
Really, I don’t see the point of this. There’s very little about the details of the discovery to interest the general public. Bloke wanders around muddy fields with a metal detector for 20 years and eventually strikes lucky. The “muddy fields” and “20 years” bits will be glossed over but more plonkers will buy cheap detectors from Ebay and go out detecting illegally. Great.
A coroner has ruled that a 1,500-year-old gold ring found by a metal detectorist is treasure. It was found in south Shropshire in August.
Peter Reavill, finds liaison officer for the county, said Shropshire Museums would like to buy the ring.
Experts at the British Museum said the ring, which weighs 8.21g (0.3oz), is 93% gold.
Their report said it probably dated from the early medieval period, the beginning of the Dark Ages after the end of the Roman occupation of Britain.
A rare coin pendant thought to be only one of three in East Anglia, has been declared treasure.
The pale gold Anglo Saxon shilling was found by Paul Flack who was out using a metal detector on farm land in Mildenhall in February this year, an inquest was told.
Faye Minter, senior finds recording officer with Suffolk County Council’s Archaeological Service, said the coin had been modified for usage as a pendant and dated from around 660-680AD.
A man who organised a metal detecting event has been told at an inquest that he does not have a valid claim to a haul of Treasure Trove recovered from a suspected Anglo-Saxon grave.
Deputy Coroner Geoff Fell told James Pincher, from Darlington, he would be advising the British Museum that he is not entitled to a share of any money from items found at a dig at Busks Farm, near Middleham, North Yorkshire.
Items found on the dig, attended by around ten people, between April 16 and 17, 2011, include a gold coin, gold pommel, copper alloy mount, iron sword and dagger, copper alloy pommel and three copper alloy hooks.
Not all items were recorded with the Finds Liaison Office straight away, and there are still five silver coins missing that Mr Fell called to be returned – but said he would be handing his file to police and the Crown Prosecution Service.
So the moral of the story is: if you find treasure, DECLARE IT. ALL OF IT.