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 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.