National Buried Treasures Revealed

Published: 16 years ago Author:

The PAS, which is run by the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council (MLA), is the country's largest community archaeology project and its annual report (2004/5) contains information about finds reported by amateur archaeologists, metal detectorists, gardeners, farmers, builders and walkers.

The DCMS Treasure Annual Report includes details of objects reported under the Treasure Act 1996. Finders have a legal obligation to report potential treasure finds over 300 years old, generally gold and silver objects, and the Act ensures that, where possible, such items become available to the public in our museums.

Items discovered go back to the Prehistoric period and range from a first century nail cleaner to one of the most remarkable examples of ornate Roman Oil lamp found in Britain; a mystery seventh century head, beautiful jewellery, and a stunning coin which proves the existence of a little known Roman Emperor Domitian II.

A selection of the objects will be on view at today's launch at the Museum of London, including:

  • Eighteenth century apple or cheese scoops from London (c.1700) - three apple or cheese scoops made from the metapodial bones of sheep which were found on the Thames foreshore, City of London and are in excellent condition of preservation.
  • Roman copper-alloy figurine (50-100 AD) - Roman copper-alloy fitting from a table leg in the form of the deity Attys, found in Reigate, Surrey. The object appears to be unique in Roman Britain. The only known parallel comes from Pompeii.
  • Roman silver coin (c.271 AD) - a base silver Roman coin known as a radiate of the emperor Domitian II was discovered in Chalgrove, Oxfordshire - 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.
  • Iron Age electrum torc (c.200-50 BC) - a fine example of a beautifully manufactured late Iron Age necklace. Found in South West Norfolk.
  • Iron Age scabbard mount (100 BC - 100AD) - a beautiful example of Late Iron Age copper-alloy scabbard mount.
  • Anglo-Saxon skillet (c.675 - 800 AD) - an important early Christian grave object, this find is made of sheet copper-alloy skillet, with a riveted mount in the form of a cross. Found in Shalfleet Parish, Isle of Wight. Anglo-Saxon jewellery (c.625-675 AD) - two gold pendants with polychrome glass settings, a gold spacer bead and a number of copper-alloy girdle accessories, were unearthed from a female burial site in Thurnham, Kent.
  • A silver coin (c.1062 - 1065) - unique silver cut halfpenny of Edward the Confessor found in Gloucester. Coins of this date are very rare.

Culture Minister David Lammy, who is announcing the launch of both reports today, says:

"Treasure and PAS are remarkable success stories. 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. This is largely thanks to the Finds Liaison Officers who are the experts on your doorstep - there to advise finders on their discoveries. It is encouraging that so many people, no matter what their background, are learning more about the history of their area through archaeology."

Mark Wood, Chair of the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council, which manages PAS says:

"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 Portable Antiquities Scheme is inspiring more and more people. 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."

Contact: Michael Lewis

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