Amateur discoveries that illuminate the past go on display

The items found in England and Wales over the past year include 427 pieces of jewellery and antiquities such as a seventh-century gilded copper head found near Milton Keynes and a coin proving the existence of a little-known Roman emperor, Domitian II, which was found in Chalgrove, Oxfordshire.

Many of the items, which also included a first-century nail cleaner and one of the most remarkable examples of an ornate Roman oil lamp found in Britain, went on display yesterday at the Museum of London.

Under the Treasure Act 1996, finders of treasure have a legal obligation to report potential discoveries over 300 years old to the authorities.

Details of the discoveries made over the past 12 months were revealed yesterday in two reports launched by the Portable Antiquities Scheme (PAS) and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.

"This past year has seen a four-fold increase in the reporting of treasure finds and the reporting of 67,213 archaeological items by the public," said David Lammy, the Culture minister. "It is encouraging that so many people, no matter what their background, are learning more about the history of their area through archaeology."

Among the historical discoveries were a number of 300-year-old apple or cheese scoops on the Thames foreshore, a beautifully manufactured late Iron Age necklace in Norfolk and a 1,300-year-old Anglo-Saxon skillet on the Isle of Wight.

Another hoard of Anglo-Saxon jewellery, including two gold pendants, was unearthed from a women's burial site in Thurnham, Kent, and a rare silver halfpenny from the time of Edward the Confessor was found in Gloucester.

"Uncovering buried treasure is a dream which inspires thousands of amateur archaeologists in this country and the fact that a record number of finds has been discovered and registered this year shows that the PAS is inspiring more and more people," said Mark Wood, the chairman of the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council, which manages the Portable Antiquities Scheme.

PAS, the country's largest community archaeology project, was established in 1997 to encourage the voluntary recording of archaeological objects found by the public.

"Some of the country's most important archaeological finds are unearthed by members of the public and as a result important new archaeological sites are being discovered," said Mr Wood.

PAS has 39 Finds Liaison Officers stationed across of England and Wales tasked with helping finders to report discoveries.

Since their introduction, the officers have increased the reporting of Treasure 10-fold and the educational material recorded as a result now accounts for more than 112,000 records relating to 166,000 objects and 79,000 images of finds as diverse as prehistoric flints to post-medieval buckles.

Under the Treasure Act, discoveries of value, usually gold or silver more than 300 years old, are reported to a coroner.

Following a written report on the find from curators of the British Museum, or National Museums and Galleries of Wales if appropriate, a value can be put on the property and museums are given the opportunity to acquire.

If the object is not wanted by a museum it reverts back to being the property of the finder or of the landowner.

However, if it is acquired for the nation then compensation is paid equal to the full market value of the find, as recommended to the Secretary of State by the Treasure Valuation Committee.

Riches unearthed from Britain's antique history

* A Roman copper-alloy figurine (AD50-100) in the form of the deity Attys which was probably a fitting from a table leg. Found in Reigate, Surrey, the object appears to be unique in Roman Britain. The only known parallel comes from Pompeii.

* A Roman silver coin (c.AD271) known as a radiate of the emperor Domitian II. It was discovered in Chalgrove, Oxfordshire and is the first such coin found in Britain. The only other was found in France and was thought to be a fake until the discovery of the British coin proved the existence of the short-lived emperor.

* Three 18th-century apple or cheese scoops from London, made from the metapodial bones of sheep, found on the Thames foreshore, City of London in excellent condition.

* An Anglo-Saxon skillet (c.AD675-800) found in Shalfleet Parish, Isle of Wight. Regarded as an important early Christian grave object it is made of sheet copper-alloy with a riveted mount in the form of a cross.

* Two gold Anglo-Saxon jewellery pendants (c.AD625-75) with polychrome glass settings, a gold spacer bead and copper-alloy girdle accessories, unearthed from a female burial site in Thurnham, Kent.

* A silver-cut halfpenny of Edward the Confessor (c.AD1062-65), found in Gloucester.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager - B2B, Corporate - City, London

£45000 - £50000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...

Recruitment Genius: Head of Content and PR

£35000 - £37000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We are 'Changemakers in retail'...

Recruitment Genius: PHP Developer - Mid / Senior

£25000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing digital agenc...

Recruitment Genius: E-commerce Partnerships Manager

£50000 - £100000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a newly-created partne...

Day In a Page

No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor