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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
A major new exhibition featuring Viking finds from North Yorkshire will take place at the British Museum next year.
Vikings: Life And Legend is the first major exhibition on Vikings to be held at the London museum for more than 30 years, and will include artefacts from the Vale of York alongside items from around the UK and Ireland, and the museum’s own collection.
The Vale of York Hoard, which was found by metal detectorists near Harrogate in 2007, will be shown in its entirety for the first time since it was found and jointly acquired by the British Museum and York Museums Trust.
The hoard includes 617 coins, six arm rings and a quantity of bullion and hack-silver, and is considered the largest and most important Viking hoard to be found since 1840’s Cuerdale Hoard, part of which will also will also be included in the exhibition.
The exhibition runs at the Sainsbury Exhibitions Gallery between March 6 and June 22 next year.
A man whose wife told him to bin a dirty piece of metal he found in a field is glad he ignored her after it was declared to be a rare silver Viking ring.
Instead of throwing the object away David Taylor from Co Down, Northern Ireland gave it a good wash and phoned the nearest museum to ask advice.
Almost 18 months on, the dirty object he spotted lying on a stone in his brother-in-law Andrew Coutler’s freshly ploughed field near Kircubbin on the Ards peninsula was today officially ruled to be treasure.
Mr Taylor, who was helping Mr Coulter remove stones from the field at the Inishargy Road, said he was glad he did not listen to his wife Lynda.
“She thought it was a bull ring and said ‘throw that in the bin’,” he laughed after the ruling at a special treasure trove inquest hearing at Belfast coroner’s court.
“I just knew by the shape of it, it was something.”