Treasure Annual Report 2011

I am glad to introduce the Treasure Act Annual Report 2011, which provides a report on the operation of the Treasure Act 1996 during the calendar year 2011.

The Treasure Act 1996 is an enduring and thriving success, ensuring that museums are able to acquire the most significant archaeological discoveries for the benefit of all. 2011 saw a record number of potential Treasure finds reported in England and Wales (969), representing a 12.8% increase over the number reported in the previous year. Of these items, 345 have been (or are to be) acquired by museums.

Many museum acquisitions have been made possible only through the kind assistance of funding bodies, particularly the Art Fund, Headley Trust, Heritage Lottery Fund, National Heritage Memorial Fund and the V&A Purchase Grant Fund. We should be thankful to these organisations for their recognition of the importance of archaeological finds and their support of museums' efforts to acquire them. I am also impressed with local fundraising campaigns, and it is heartening to see so many individuals and organisations in local communities supporting the acquisition of Treasure items and investing in their heritage. It is especially satisfying that the number of interested parties waiving their right to a reward for Treasure finds remains high, with individuals waiving their share in 99 cases. These donations have allowed 49 museums to acquire finds that may otherwise have not been available for the public to study and enjoy.

There are many bodies and people who deserve praise for the continued success of the Treasure Act, in particular the Portable Antiquities Scheme and its local network of Finds Liaison Officers (FLOs), to whom most finds of Treasure are reported. The FLOs role is vital in disseminating information about the Act and archaeological best practice to finders of treasure and landowners. They are also indispensable in facilitating the administration of Treasure cases and providing the logistical means for the Act to function. Together with curators, scientists and conservators at the British Museum and National Museum Wales, they also provide expert reports on Treasure finds for Coroners, who, along with their staff, are also owed thanks for their diligence in holding Treasure inquests. The Department of Portable Antiquities and Treasure at the British Museum (now part of the Department of Britain, Europe and Prehistory) supports Coroners in England and serves as the secretariat for the Treasure Valuation Committee and I am grateful for their continued excellent work. In order to ensure the long-term success of the Act, and that it reflects current practice and works as efficiently as possible, the Government will soon begin a Review of the Treasure Act Code of Practice. This will also consider the definition of Treasure, and whether that should be revised.

I would also like to acknowledge the invaluable contribution of the Treasure Valuation Committee, chaired by Lord Renfrew of Kaimsthorn, which considered over 320 treasure cases during 2011. I am thankful for the services of all of the Committee members, who voluntarily provide their time and expertise.

Ed Vaizey Minister for Culture, Communications and the Creative Industries December 2013

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