The Treasure Act

Treasure team staff member holding the bowl from the Harrogate hoard

The Treasure Act 1996

On these pages, you can find information about the Treasure Act and its administration. See the menus on the left-hand side of the page for more information.

In England, Wales and Northern Ireland, all finders of gold and silver objects, and groups of coins from the same finds, over 300 years old, have a legal obligation to report such items under the Treasure Act 1996. Prehistoric base-metal assemblages found after 1st January 2003 also qualify as Treasure. What is Treasure in the menu on the left provides more detailed information on the type of artefacts and coins which need to be reported as potential Treasure.

  1. Advice for finders of Treasure
  2. Full code of practice for the administration of Treasure

Finders of potential Treasure in England and Wales should contact their regional Finds Liaison Officers for help in reporting Treasure and for further advice. By law, finds of potential Treasure must be reported to the Coroner in whose district they were found within 14 days of discovery. Queries about Treasure finds from England should be directed to and queries about finds from Wales should be directed to

More information on the operation of the Treasure Act and antiquities law in Northern Ireland or write to:

Department for Communities
Causeway Exchange
1-7 Bedford Street
County Antrim
Tel: 028 9082 9000

The Treasure Act 1996 does not apply in Scotland or the Isle of Man, and the Portable Antiquities Scheme does not operate there.

The laws regarding Portable Antiquities in Scotland are very different than those in England and Wales. Whereas in England and Wales the recording of all non-Treasure finds is voluntary, all archaeological objects found in Scotland should be reported under Treasure Trove.

More information on the law in Scotland or write to:

Treasure Trove Unit
National Museums of Scotland
Chambers Street
Tel: 0131 247 4355


The laws regarding Portable Antiquities in the Isle of Man are also very different. All archaeological objects found in the Isle of Man should be reported to the national heritage agency and no archaeological object may be exported from the Isle of Man without a licence.

For more information on the law in the Isle of Man please contact:

Manx National Heritage
Manx Museum
Kingswood Grove
Isle of Man
Tel: 01624 648000



Property found in the sea or the seashore could be from a ship and is known technically as 'wreck'. Wreck is not treasure. All wreck must be reported to the Receiver of Wreck. This can be done by downloading a form from the Receiver's website. The address of the Receiver of Wreck is:

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency
Bay 1/05,
Spring Place
105 Commercial Road
S015 1EG

Tel: 02380 329474