Dear all

I'd appreciate it if any of you could help out with an awkward situation.

1. A metal detector group find a collection of treasure on land they have
the landowners permission to be on. They go through the correct procedures
re. the Treasure Act and inform the local authority SMR.

2. The MDs are the finders of the treasure and, by agreement, split the
treasure proceeds with the landowner after the coroner's hearing and
valuation. The finds go to the appropriate purchasing museum.

3. A third party archaeological unit is invited onto the site with the
agreement of landowner and MDs and carries out an excavation with the help
of the MDs during which a further treasure collection is found.

Q. Although the landowner still retains his ownership rights, who is the
finder of the second collection? Considering that the second collection
would not have been found if it weren't for the MDing of the site could they
claim that they remain the finders of the treasure?

You may have already guessed that there was no signed agreement before the
excavation took place as to what should happen in the event of a treasure
find. You may also have guessed that this is not a hypothetical situation.

Any help would be much appreciated.

Neil Rushton

Dr Neil Rushton
Archaeology Services
North Hertfordshire District Council
Museums Resource Centre
Burymead Road
tel: (01462) 434896
fax: (01462) 434883

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