It is a great pleasure to introduce this year's Treasure Act 1996 Annual Report, which gives an overview of how the Treasure Act operated in England, Wales and Northern Ireland in the year 2017.
Once again there has been an increase in the number of finds reported under the Act, by 150 to 1,266. The Act aims to preserve important and significant finds for the benefit of the public, so I was pleased to see this has resulted in 399 objects found in 2017 entering our museum collections.
I would like to thank the finders and landowners who waived their claim to a reward in 112 cases, therefore allowing museums to acquire objects and coins and enabling our shared heritage to be preserved. These include an important hoard of Iron Age coins from Riseholme that was acquired by The Collection in Lincoln. It is now available to be seen by the public and studied by experts, stimulating interest in history and transforming our knowledge of the past people of these islands.
I am equally grateful to those bodies who provide funding for the payment of rewards, including the Art Fund, Headley Trust, National Lottery Heritage Fund, National Heritage Memorial Fund, and the Arts Council England/V&A Purchase Grant Fund. These bodies ensure that the most significant finds can be acquired by museums, for example the Arts Council England/V&A Purchase Grant Fund enabled Petersfield Museum to acquire a medieval gold reliquary pendant found in East Hampshire.
A huge number of people across England, Wales and Northern Ireland work to ensure the success of the treasure process. These include the Finds Liaison Officers (FLOs), their colleagues and volunteers working under the auspices of the Portable Antiquities Scheme. They are tireless in recording the finds, and providing advice and guidance to finders and landowners. There are also the curators, scientists and conservators at the British Museum, Amgueddfa Cymru/National Museum of Wales and the Ulster Museum who, in addition to the FLOs, provide the reports which coroners rely upon when deciding if a find meets the definition of treasure in the Act, and of course the coroners and their staff themselves. And finally the dedicated treasure teams at the British Museum and Amgueddfa Cymru/National Museum of Wales who ensure the smooth running of the whole process. I recognise the contributions and dedication of each of these groups and I thank them for their hard work.
Alongside these people I am grateful for the national and local partners (some 100 bodies) who host and fund the Portable Antiquities scheme alongside the British Museum and Amgueddfa Cymru/National Museum of Wales. I also thank the Historic Environment Division of the Department for Communities who oversee the treasure process in Northern Ireland.
I would also like to express my gratitude to the members of the Treasure Valuation Committee for their work in considering the value of finds and their precise and knowledgeable recommendations. This year the chair, Lord Renfrew, will be stepping down after 10 years, and I would like to thank him for his guidance and leadership of the committee. The committee relies on the Treasure Secretariat at the British Museum; without them the treasure process would not function, so I would like to thank them and everyone associated with the treasure process for their continued work in supporting the Act.
Caroline Dinenage MP
Minister of State for Digital and Culture