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?
ebooksA celebration of British elections
Arts and Entertainment
Billie Piper as Brona in Penny Dreadful
tvReview: It’s business as usual in Victorian London. Let’s hope that changes as we get further into the new series spoiler alert
Life and Style
A nurse tends to a recovering patient on a general ward at The Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham
Arts and Entertainment
No Offence
tvReview: No Offence has characters who are larger than life and yet somehow completely true to life at the same time spoiler alert
Chuck Norris pictured in 1996
Arts and Entertainment
Sarah Lucas, I SCREAM DADDIO, Installation View, British Pavilion 2015
artWhy Sarah Lucas is the perfect choice to represent British art at the Venice Biennale
A voter placing a ballot paper in the box at a polling station
Arts and Entertainment
The Queen (Kristin Scott Thomas) in The Audience
theatreReview: Stephen Daldry's direction is crisp in perfectly-timed revival
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Dublin

£13676.46 - £16411.61 per annum + OTE: SThree: SThree Trainee Recruitment Cons...

Ashdown Group: Marketing or Business Graduate Opportunity - Norwich - £22,000

£18000 - £22000 per annum + training: Ashdown Group: Business and Marketing Gr...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Are you great at building rela...

Ashdown Group: Database Analyst - Birmingham - £22,000 plus benefits

£20000 - £22000 per annum + excellent benefits: Ashdown Group: Application Sup...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

Flesh in Venice

Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
11 best anti-ageing day creams

11 best anti-ageing day creams

Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1: Five things we learnt, including Iker Casillas is past it and Carlos Tevez remains effective

Juventus vs Real Madrid

Five things we learnt from the Italian's Champions League first leg win over the Spanish giants
Ashes 2015: Test series looks a lost cause for England... whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket

Ashes series looks a lost cause for England...

Whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket, says Stephen Brenkley
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power