27 treasure discoveries reported to North East Yorkshire Coroner’s Court last year

Treasure finds can include coins, prehistoric metallic objects and artefacts. Photo: PA Images

The British Museum said it was pleasing to see local museums across the country acquiring these “important archaeological objects”, but urged treasure hunters to follow the laws surrounding metal detecting.

In 2019, there were 27 treasure finds reported to North East Yorkshire Coroner’s Court, which is responsible for holding treasure inquests. It means a total of 50 discoveries in the last three years in the area.

The Treasure Act, introduced in 1997, defines treasure as discoveries older than 300 years.

These include coins, prehistoric metallic objects and artefacts that are at least 10% precious metal such as gold or silver.

All potential treasure finds are processed by the British Museum, whose experts advise coroners on whether the find fits the definition of treasure.

Ian Richardson, treasure registrar at the British Museum, said: “The purpose of the Treasure Act is to enable important archaeological objects to be acquired by museums, for the benefit of all.

“It is pleasing to see local museums interested in acquiring a number of these finds if they are declared Treasure.”

Anyone fortunate enough to discover something they think is treasure must report their finding to the coroner within two weeks, so the court can hold an inquest to decide who should get the to keep it. Failure to do so can result in an unlimited fine or up to three months in prison.

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