Gold in faeces ‘is worth millions’

Fortunes could be saved from going down the drain by extracting gold and precious metals from human excrement, scientists suggest.

Sewage sludge contains traces of gold, silver and platinum at levels that would be seen as commercially viable by traditional prospectors. “The gold we found was at the level of a minimal mineral deposit,” said Kathleen Smith, of the US Geological Survey.

Smith and her colleagues argue that extracting metals from waste could also help limit the release of harmful metals, such as lead, into the environment in fertilisers and reduce the amount of toxic sewage that has to be buried or burnt.

“If you can get rid of some of the nuisance metals that currently limit how much of these biosolids we can use on fields and forests, and at the same time recover valuable metals and other elements, that’s a win-win,” she said.

A previous study, by Arizona State University, estimated that a city of 1 million inhabitants flushed about $13m (£8.7m) worth of precious metals down toilets and sewer drains each year.

Gold in faeces ‘is worth millions and could save the environment’

Not sure I fancy taking the Deus into the sewers. Still, it seems to suggest that the UK could be flushing over half a billion quids worth of precious metals down the khazi every year. That’s almost £9 per person.

Cornwall mud finds are declared treasure

Items found in Cornish mud will be shown to the public after being declared treasure.

The items include a silver Tudor dress hook, a solid silver bodkin – a type of hairpin, made in 1657 – and an inscribed gold ring.

They were found by metal detectorists who are required by law to report valuable finds.

They will be on show in the Hands on History Hub exhibition from 12 March at the Royal Cornwall Museum.

Cornwall mud finds are declared treasure

Amateur discovers Roman-era German treasure linked to Wagnerian Nibelung legend

A hobby archaeologist with a metal detector has discovered a trove of gold and silver in a German forest dating back to late Roman times, fuelling speculation that it could be the legendary Nibelung treasure which inspired composer Richard Wagner’s operatic “Ring Cycle”.

The haul from the western state of Rhineland Palatinate, which is worth about €1m, includes silver bowls, brooches and other jewellery from ceremonial robes, as well as small statues that would have adorned a grand chair, archaeologists say.

Amateur discovers Roman-era German treasure linked to Wagnerian Nibelung legend

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

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.

And:

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.

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

Detecting pair find rare metal dress fastener

A pair of metal detectorists have dug up another treasure from the Derbyshire landscape.

Tim Corser and his friend, Peter Jones, of Hulland Ward, were out in the Derbyshire Dales when they found the small silver dress fastener.

Mr Corser, 66, of Coronation Road, Stanley Village, said: “We didn’t really think we would find much, just odds and sods like Georgian coins.

“It is very small and the workmanship on it is amazing. How they managed to do it without the magnifying glasses and modern tools that we have is incredible.”

Detecting pair find rare metal dress fastener