DEPARTMENT FOR CULTURE, MEDIA AND SPORT
DCMS 131/98 17 June 1998
TREASURE ACT IMPROVES THE PROTECTION OF
The 1996-97 annual report of the Treasure Trove Reviewing
Committee, published today, highlights how the new Treasure Act is
improving the protection given to some of the most significant finds
from the soil of England and Wales.
The report also highlights the important role of metal detecting.
Once again the majority of the finds reported to the Committee were
made by people using metal detectors.
Welcoming the report Arts Minister Mark Fisher said:
"All but one of the cases of treasure trove listed in this report
have been discovered with a metal detector and I would like to
acknowledge the contribution made by responsible detector users
towards the understanding of our heritage. Metal detector users play
a significant role in increasing our knowledge of the past, and we
are keen to ensure that finders have confidence that the valuation
procedure ensures that they receive a fair reward. I believe that
this confidence has been strengthened by the recent appointment of
Mr Dennis Jordan, President of the National Council for Metal
Detecting, to the Treasure Valuation Committee, the successor to the
Treasure Trove Reviewing Committee.
"This report demonstrates that responsible metal detectors have
nothing to fear from the Act and much to gain."
"I welcome the successful passage of the Treasure Act as I believe
that it, together with the pilot schemes for the voluntary reporting
of all archaeological finds, provide everyone with an opportunity to
make a fresh start. Early reports suggest that both the Act and the
pilot schemes are proving a great success: some 90 finds of potential
treasure have been reported during the first eight months of the
Act's operations, compared with an average of 25 cases before."
The report shows that during 1996-97 the Treasure Trove Reviewing
Committee agreed valuations for 25 finds. The objects were all
acquired by museums, with the money going to finders as reward.
Two of the finds considered by the Committee stand out. First was
the hoard of 256 gold Celtic coins and Roman jewellery from Alton in
Hampshire which was valued at #103,074 and acquired by the British
Museum: coins in this hoard show that the ancient British king
formerly known as Tincommius was in fact called Tincomarus.
The second was the hoard of Roman gold and silver coins and
jewellery from Patching in West Sussex which contained coins dating
as late as 461-5 AD, some fifty years after the Romans abandoned
Britain. This hoard was buried 50 years later than any previously
known find from Britain and sheds new light on the history of this
period. The hoard was valued at #30,000 and was acquired by Worthing
Museum and Art Gallery.
Notes to Editors
1. The Treasure Trove Reviewing Committee is an independent body
which advises Ministers on the valuation of Treasure Trove finds;
since December 1997 it has been replaced by the Treasure Valuation
Committee which has the same role in respect of Treasure finds.
2. The Treasure Act came into force on 24 September 1997 replacing
the old common law of Treasure Trove. It gives protection to a wider
range of finds than before. Finders are required to report finds
within 14 days (failure to do is an offence) and full rewards are
given to finders and/or landowners who act responsibly.
3. The DCMS and the British Museum are also funding six Finds Liaison
Officers in museums and archaeological services around the country
under an initiative to promote the voluntary recording of all
4. The Treasure Trove Reviewing Committee's annual report for
1996-97 (price #2.95) is available from Spink and Sons Ltd, 5-7 King
Street, London, SW1Y 6QS , and Anglia Publishing,
The Old Mill, Lower Raydon, Ipswich, IP7 5QR .
# = pounds sterling
Dr Michael Heyworth Council for British Archaeology
Bowes Morrell House, 111 Walmgate, York YO1 9WA, UK
Tel: +44 (0)1904 671417 Fax: +44 (0)1904 671384