Treasure Annual Report 2019

This year marks the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Treasure Act 1996 - a landmark Act of Parliament which, for the past quarter of a century, has helped to preserve significant finds and ensure that they can be enjoyed and admired by the public.

It is therefore a great pleasure to introduce this year's Annual Report on the Treasure Act, which gives an overview of how the Act operated in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland in 2019.

The report can be downloaded here.

An excel spreadsheet of the data in the report can be downloaded here.

The figures show a sustained growth in the number of treasure cases, with a total of 1,303 reported. This is an increase of 67% over the last decade - and a more than fivefold increase since the introduction of the Act.

During the course of 2019, 292 objects were added to museum collections across England, Wales, and Northern Ireland so that they could be seen and admired by people in each of these parts of the UK. A particularly notable find was the Chew Valley Hoard, an astonishing discovery of over two and half thousand coins which provides a fascinating insight into the life and politics of Wales and the west of England just after the Norman Conquest. The hoard is due to be acquired by the Roman Baths museum in Bath, which will add to the understanding of, and interest in, the history of the local area for the many people who visit that excellent museum each year.

Although this report covers the year before the COVID-19 pandemic began, I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has worked so hard during that challenging period to keep the treasure process functioning. This includes the local Finds Liaison Officers, Amgueddfa Cymru / National Museum Wales, and the Department of Agriculture, Environment & Rural Affairs and the Ulster Museum in Northern Ireland, who have all continued to work as the gateway to the treasure process. I thank the Treasure Registry at the British Museum, which organised online valuations and meetings for the Treasure Valuation Committee during the age of social distancing - and the members of the Committee themselves, under their Chairman Roger Bland, who have continued to provide their informed and well-considered recommendations in difficult circumstances.

I would also like to acknowledge the local authority partners who support the treasure process through the Portable Antiquities Scheme, without which it would have been even more difficult to continue this important work. Finders, landowners, and museums alike have shown great patience and understanding in the face of the unavoidable delays since March 2020, and I would like to thank them for that.

I hope everyone interested in treasure will continue to help us build on the successes of the past to make the Treasure Act 1996 even more effective as it embarks on its next quarter-century.

Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State (Minister for Arts)