Treasure Annual Report 2005 - 2006

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The cover of the 2005 - 2006 reportThis is the eighth Annual Report to Parliament on the operation of the Treasure Act 1996. Like its predecessors, it lists all the finds that were reported as potential Treasure to the British Museum, the National Museums & Galleries of Wales, and the Environment and Heritage Service, Northern Ireland. This Report contains details of 592 and 665 new cases reported during two years: 2005 and 2006. Of these cases, 282 new Treasure finds have been, or are being, acquired by museums across the country, while 557 have been disclaimed, 206 were deemed not to be Treasure and
212 cases are still to be determined.

From 2007 there will be a single annual report on Treasure and Portable Antiquities. We feel that it makes sense to bring these two reports together and the combined report will provide a single complete reference for all the most important finds reported in 2007, whether they qualify as Treasure or not. Because the final disposition of some Treasure cases may not be known for a year, next year’s report will contain detailed summaries of the more important cases from 2007 together with a table listing all the Treasure cases from 2006 with a note of their disposition
and valuation.

The number of finds being reported as Treasure continues to increase rapidly: in 1998, the first full year of the Treasure Act, there were 201 cases and by 2002 that number stood at 240 cases, while in 2007 the total stood at 749. This is largely due to the expansion of the Portable Antiquities Scheme in 2003, when 21 new Finds Liaison Officers were appointed across the country. Finds Liaison Officers play a crucial role in the
effective operation of the Treasure Act, encouraging finders to report their finds and guiding them through the Treasure process: 97 per cent of finds of Treasure are reported to the Finds Liaison Officer in the first instance.

I would like to congratulate those finders who promptly report their finds in accordance with the Code of Practice on Responsible Metal Detecting. I am glad to record the results of their actions in this Report and to praise them for their enthusiasm for and commitment to the responsible practice of their hobby. 94 per cent of the finds in this Report were found by metal detector users and I would like to acknowledge the role that the National Council for Metal Detecting has played, not only in disseminating advice and information to its members, but also in communicating
the views and experiences of those members back to my Department.

I would also like to praise the contribution made by the staff of the British Museum and the staff of the National Museum Wales. The Treasure process requires input from their curators, conservators,scientists and a central treasure registry, all of whom continue to achieve high standards of service despite an increased workload.

I am most grateful to the Treasure Valuation Committee for its provision of independent advice on the valuation of Treasure finds. I commend particularly the Chairman, Professor Norman Palmer CBE, for continuing to guide the work of the Committee with such an expert hand. In addition, Dr Jack Ogden, Mr Trevor Austin and Ms May Sinclair have continued to give freely and generously of their time and expertise. Mr Thomas Curtis and Dr Arthur MacGregor retired from the Committee during this period, after having given valuable service, and we now welcome the following new members to the Committee which has expanded from six to eight members: Messrs Peter Clayton and John Cherry, Professor Ian Carradice and Dr Tim Pestell.
The work of the Committee receives vital support from the panel of expert advisers from whom the Committee commissions provisional valuations:
Mr Michael Sharp of Dix Noonan Webb, Mr James Ede of Charles Ede Ltd, Mr Tom Eden of Morton and Eden, Mr James Morton of Morton and Eden, Ms Emily Barber of Bonhams, Ms Chantelle Waddingham of Bonhams, Mr Mark Bowis of Christie’s, Ms Judith Nugee of Christie’s, Mr Peter Clayton of Seaby’s, Ms Joanna van der Lande, Mr Richard Falkiner and Mr Peter Spencer. I would like to express my appreciation of their knowledge and advice.

Funding bodies play an essential role in supporting the acquisition of Treasure finds by museums, particularly the Art Fund, the V&A/MLA Purchase Grant Fund, and the Headley Museums Treasure Acquisition Scheme (www.headleytreasures.org.uk), which operates in conjunction with the Purchase Grant Fund. 

In January 2006, my Department launched a new initiative to encourage finders and landowners to consider donating finds to museums, by giving
certificates to all those who have waived their rights to a reward. It is very encouraging that in this Report interested parties have waived their rights to a reward in 25 cases in 2005 and a further 44 in 2006.

Following a consultation by my Department we transferred the administrative responsibilities for Treasure to the British Museum in March 2007.
The British Museum has recruited two full-time and one part-time post in order to deal with these additional responsibilities and both organisations believe that the delivery and efficiency of the process has improved as a result.

Margaret Hodge Minister for Culture, Creative Industries and Tourism 2008

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