The Treasure Act
The Treasure Act, 1996 is a piece of legislation
designed to deal with finds of treasure primarily those made
by metal detectorists in England and Wales. It legally
obliges finders of objects which constitute a legally
defined term of treasure to report their find to their local
coroner within fourteen days. An inquiry led by the coroner
then determines whether the find constitutes treasure or
not. If is declared to be treasure then the owner must offer
the item for sale to a museum at a price set by an
independent board of antiquities experts. Only if no museum
expresses an interest in the item or is unable to purchase
it can the owner retain it.
'Treasure' is defined as
- All coins from the same hoard. A hoard is defined as
two or more coins, as long as they are at least 300
years old when found. If they contain less than 10% gold
or silver there must be at least 10 in the hoard for it
- Two or more prehistoric base metal objects in
association with one another
- Any individual (non-coin) find that is at least 300
years old and contains at least 10% gold or silver.
- Associated finds: any object of any material found
in the same place as (or which had previously been
together with) another object which is deemed treasure.
- Objects substantially made from gold or silver but
are less than 300 years old, that have been deliberately
hidden with the intention of recovery and whose owners
or heirs are unknown.
Under English law a landowner has sole title to any
archaeological artefacts found on his or her property.
Legitimate metal detectorists come to an agreement the
owners of the land they detect on to share any proceeds from
treasure sales. Those who detect illegally, either on
Scheduled sites or without the landowners' permission cannot
benefit from the Treasure Act. Illegal detectorists have had
their loot confiscated and can face fines and prison.
Successful cases involving the Treasure Act include that
of the Ringlemere gold cup. Non treasure finds are the remit
Portable Antiquities Scheme.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia