Great Britain’s busy treasure hunters

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April 24, 2014 – According to the British Museum, almost 1,000 objects classified as treasures were discovered by hobby archaeologists and metal detectorists in 2012. Those private treasure hunters have contributed a lot to our knowledge about history.

Since the introduction of the “Portable Antiquities Scheme” (PAS) in 1997, 800,000 historical objects have been found in Great Britain, many of them with metal detectors. The PAS is a governmental initiative to encourage private citizens to report their finds and have them examined. Many of the more valuable finds end up in public museums later for an adequate compensation. The process of examining the finds can take up to several months, which is why the numbers for 2012 have only been published recently.

Thanks to the active participation of the public, 8,500 archaeological objects have been classified as treasures in the past 15 years, among them coins, rings and brooches.

The Ringlemere Cup, gold, Bronze Age, c. 1700 -1500 BC. It was found in the Ringlemere barrow, Kent, in England by Cliff Bradshaw, a metal detectorist. It was acquired by the British Museum under the Treasure Act 1996. © portableantiquities (Dominic Coyne/

The British Museum observes a growing fascination of the public with archaeology. The popularity of the series “Britain’s Secret Treasures”, that on average attracts almost 3 million viewers, was the best proof for that. “Britain’s Secret Treasures”, in cooperation with the British Museum, presents the 50 most significant finds that were discovered in the framework of the PAS. The 50 objects were selected by a commission according to their historical and cultural relevance as well as their aesthetic appeal.

This article is based on a BBC report. You can find the original article here.

Here you will find all objects presented by the BBC in “Britain’s Secret Treasures”.

You can discover some of the finds presented on “Britain’s Secret Treasures” on this interactive map.