Copper alloy radiate coin of Emperor Carausius from Headbourne Worthy, Hampshire. Roman Britain AD 286-293. (c) The Trustees of the Britsh Museum

Record number of treasure finds recorded in 2019

Rebecca Atkinson, 18.03.2020
Latest reports show 399 treasures were acquired by museums in 2017
The number of treasure finds by members of the public hit record levels last year, the British Museum announced on Tuesday.

Shortly before announcing it would close in response to the Covid-19 emergency, the national museum published the latest Treasure and Portable Antiquities Scheme (PAS) reports, and revealed that there were a record 1,311 finds of treasure – classified as gold and silver objects more than 300 years old, groups of coins and prehistoric metalwork – across the England, Wales and Northern Ireland in 2019.  

Notable finds include a 1,100-year-old medieval brooch; a rare Roman Britain coin minted with an earlier coin die; and an eighth century solid gold bronze age arm ring.

About 90% of the total number of finds (81,602) recorded with the PAS in 2019 were discovered by metal detectorists, with Norfolk producing the most finds.

Hartwig Fischer, the director of the British Museum, said “These discoveries by the public are vital for advancing our understanding of Britain’s diverse history, and it is incredibly encouraging that so many finds have been voluntarily recorded through the British Museum’s PAS.”

The British Museum also released annual reports from 2017 and 2018, which revealed that 399 of the 1,266 treasure finds reported in 2017 had been acquired by museums – and 112 cases were acquired through donation.
 
Dover Museum added a Roman coin hoard to its collection after the finder, Fred Cooper, waived a £600 reward. And the anonymous owner of the land where a Medieval gold reliquary cross was found forego £2,750 to allow it to be acquired by Petersfield Museum.

But the largest donation was a hoard of Iron Age coins from Riseholme, Lincolnshire, which are valued at £37,929 and have been acquired by The Collection, Lincoln, after the University of Lincoln, which owns the land, declined to claim a reward.

In 2018, 69,687 finds were recorded by the PAS including 1,097 treasure cases.

Under the Treasure Act 1996, finders have a legal obligation to report all finds of potential treasure. The PAS is managed by the British Museum and Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales.

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