Treasure found in Gloucestershire

TREASURE has been discovered over twenty times in Gloucestershire in the last year, new figures show.

Figures from the Ministry of Justice for 2021 show there were 23 finds reported to Gloucestershire Coroner’s Court, which is responsible for holding treasure inquests.

This was up from 20 the year before – ​and among 204 found in the area since records began in 1995.

However, none was found in South Gloucestershire in 2021.

The Institute of Detectorists said finding treasure gives historians a valuable insight into the past, but encouraged hobbyists to practice “responsible” metal detecting.

Across England and Wales, 908 finds were reported last year – 13% more than the year before, but still below the record 1,061 found in 2019.

The Treasure Act, introduced in 1997, defines treasure as discoveries older than 300 years.

These include coins, prehistoric metallic objects and artefacts that are at least 10% precious metal such as gold or silver.

All potential treasure finds are processed by the British Museum, whose experts advise coroners on whether the find fits the definition of treasure.

If a coroner rules that it is treasure, both local and national museums are given the chance to acquire the pieces, and the finder will be paid a sum depending on the treasure’s value.

But if the find is determined not to be treasure, or no museums want it, then it is returned to the treasure hunter.

Keith Westcott, founder of the Institute of Detectorists, said: “Beyond the fascination which surrounds treasure and monetary rewards, is an important value of detecting finds – a historical value which provides a valuable insight into our past.

“Often though, the archaeological record which surrounds the find, the information that gives it context, is damaged or ignored.”

He encouraged amateurs to follow responsible metal detecting and leave important finds n place ready to be excavated by archaeologists.

He said a recent example of this was when amateur detectorist Mariusz Stepien stopped digging upon realising he had discovered important objects in Scotland in 2020, allowing archaeologists to recover a rare haul of Bronze Age artefacts.


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