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.”
A Celtic treasure looted by the Vikings more than 1,000 years ago has been discovered in the British Museum’s storerooms. An ornate, gilded disc brooch dating from the eighth or ninth century was found by chance and is being described as a “staggering find”. No-one knew of its existence until now.
It had been concealed in a lump of organic material excavated from a Viking burial site at Lilleberge in Norway by a British archaeologist in the 1880s and acquired by the British Museum in 1891.
Curator Barry Ager, a Vikings specialist, was poring over artefacts before a visit from a Norwegian researching the Viking site when his eye was caught by some metal sticking out of the side of the organic lump.
Intrigued, he asked the conservation department to X-ray it. “At that stage, I really didn’t know what was inside,” he said. “It was a staggering find.”
Two items of silver found in a field in County Antrim have been declared treasure, Belfast Coroner’s Court has found.
The objects were found by a man with a metal detector in a field on the Soldierstown Road, near Aghalee last year.
He took them to the curator of Armagh County Museum for further examination.
The items, which are more than 1,000 years old, will now go to the British Museum for valuation.
Archaeology hobbyists were stunned when they unearthed a remarkable historical find from a field in Janakkala, southern Finland. The ancient grave site appeared to be that of an early crusader buried with two swords from different eras.
The well-preserved grave contained an uncharacteristically large 12th-century sword as well as what appeared to be a Viking-age blade that may have been part of a cremation ceremony.
The amateur historians were using a metal detector in a field in Hyvikkala, Janakkala, which had showed signs of pre-historic settlement. After uncovering a few minor objects, the metal detector picked up a spear tip and an axe blade. After some digging, the group discovered a broken sword. At this point, the hobbyists broke off their work to alert the National Board of Antiquities (NBA).
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.”