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

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