Portable Antiquities: Finds in the News
Regardless of one’s opinions of metal detecting, there is no doubt that detectorists, alongside the Portable Antiquities Scheme, have turned up a number of remarkable finds over the last ten years. This section provides links to finds stories that appeared in British Archaeology and the other National Press.
- The Staffordshire Hoard is to go on display before being sent the the British Museum for valuation. Read the CBA’s full news item, with additional links.
- The ‘wonderful, wonderful’ hoard says Andrew Morrison, curator of archaeology at the York Museums Trust, described a Viking hoard as he started to lay out its display at the city’s Yorkshire Museum. The Vale of York Hoard, dug out of a muddy field near Harrogate in 2007, has returned to Yorkshire – the finest haul of Viking silver discovered since 1840. This has now been saved (BBC News, 27 Aug).
- Roman coin haul found near Shrewsbury. A massive haul of more than 10,000 Roman coins has been unearthed by an amateur metal detecting enthusiast. (PAS, 7 September 2009; Shropshire Star, 7 September 2009; Daily Mail, 9 September 2009).
- Huge Iron Age haul of coins found in Suffolk. 824 ‘staters’ have been found, using a metal detector, in a broken pottery jar buried in a field near Wickham Market. This is one of the largest Iron Age gold coin hoards ever found in the UK (BBC 17 January 2009).
- 700-year-old coins found in field. Three 700-year-old coins which were found in a field have been declared treasure by a coroner at Flint (BBC 10 November 2008).
- ‘Exceptional’ Roman coins hoard. One of the largest deposits of Roman coins ever recorded in Wales, has been declared treasure trove (BBC 30 October 2008).
- Treasure hunter finds 11th century gold ring with rare black diamond in muddy field. A treasure hunter was stunned when he unearthed a beautiful and historic gold ring with a rare black diamond set inside it in a muddy field (Daily Mail, 21 August 2008).
- Neanderthal tools found at dig. We tend not to associate the Neanderthals with sophisticated tools, but archaeologists working at a site in West Sussex, have made some finds which could change our minds about the people who used them. Dr Matthew Pope runs the team from University College, London (BBC 23 June 2008).
- RARE VIKING SWORD FRAGMENTS UNEARTHED ON ISLE OF MAN. Beautifully cast fragments from a Viking sword have been discovered on the Isle of Man by two members of the Manx Detectorists Society (24 Hour Museum 5 June 2008).
- The Harrogate Hoard: St Peter Islam & Thor in the Melting Pot. Early this year a silver gilt cup crammed with 685 pieces of metal, mostly scrap silver and coins, was found near Harrogate. Barry Ager, Amy Cooper and Gareth Williams offer a preliminary description of this extraordinary Viking find, declared treasure on July 19. (British Archaeology, No.97, Nov/Dec, 2007).
- Metal Detector Pair Find Roman Briton Skeleton by Gary Cleland. (Daily Telegraph, Nov 22, 2007).
- Did Comb Dress Celtic Beard or Horse’s Mane? A metal comb is the latest surprising object to have been shown to the Portable Antiquities Scheme. (British Archaeology, No.95, July/August, 2007).
- Treasure Hunters Share £1m Viking Hoard Looted from Round the World. Pot buried in Yorkshire field helps British Museum shed new light on Norsemen, by Maev Kennedy and Martin Wainwright. (Guardian, July 20, 2007).
- Museum Shows off Treasure Buried for 1,000 Years. Maev Kennedy and Martin Wainwright. (Guardian, July 19, 2007).
- Treasures Lost and Found go on Display. A Roman figurine of a dog dating from 350 BC is part of a hoard of treasures uncovered by amateur archaeologists which went on display yesterday at the British Museum, by Roland Hancock. (Daily Telegraph, Jan 19, 2007).
- Sword Finder Takes His Cut of £125,000. The finder of the remains of an exceptional 7th-century gold sword in a Lincolnshire field is “125,000 richer after they were acquired by the British Museum, writes Dalya Alberge (The Times, Jan 5, 2007).
- Rare Buckle on Show. A rare 1,300-year-old Saxon belt buckle unearthed with a metal detector will go on public display for the first time today. (Daily Telegraph, Sept 29, 2006).
- Culture Minister Defers Export of Two Outstanding Anglo-Saxon Finds. Culture Minister, David Lammy, has placed a temporary export bar on two outstanding Anglo-Saxon finds: a gilded mount with interlace decoration and great square-headed brooch. (DCMS, 107/06, July 2006).
- Treasure Hunter gets £84,000 for Royal Ring Found in Ploughed Field. A tiny 650-year-old gold and diamond ring found in a field on the edge of the Delamere Forest fetched £84,000 at auction yesterday, writes Nigel Reynolds. (Daily Telegraph, Jun 16, 2006).
- [Museum Sets Gold Standard with Coin Purchase]http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2006/02/08/ucoin.xml. The British Museum has paid more than £84,000 to acquire a 1,200-year-old Anglo Saxon gold coin. (Daily Telegraph, Feb 8, 2006). See follow up article:
- Anglo-Saxon gold coin leaves British Museum out of pocket by Nigel Reynolds (Daily Telegraph, Feb 9, 2006).
- Papal Seal from 1224 Discovered in a Field. A papal seal from the 13th century has been found in a field in Derbyshire, writes Nick Britten. (Daily Telegraph, Oct 21, 2005).
- Welsh Cauldron Finds Offer Rare Insights Steve McGrory and Anton Jones reported an unusual collection of prehistoric metalwork via the Portable Antiquities Scheme in Wales. (British Archaeology, No.83, July/August, 2005).
- Archaeologists Tackle Chess Puzzle. The little knight on horseback, recently found by an amateur using a metal detector on farmland in north Nottinghamshire, is startlingly similar to chess pieces found hundreds of miles away in 1831, on a beach on the isle of Lewis. (Guardian, Mar 14, 2005). See follow up to this story:
- Culture Minister Defers Export a Medieval Figure of a Bronze Equestrian Knight. (DCMS Press Release, 015/06, Feb 2006)
- Iron Age Necklace Discovered. The 700g (1.5lb) necklace was buried beneath a field which has been ploughed for years on the outskirts of Newark, writes Martin Wainwright. (Guardian, Feb 18, 2005).
- News: First Anglo-Saxon Era Papal Seal Found (and Second). An inscribed lump of lead, found in March by a metal detectorist in the Frome Valley, east Herefordshire, was eventually identified by Tim Pestell (Norwich Castle Museum) as a papal bull seal. (British Archaeology, No.79, Nov, 2004).
- Features: Cumbrian Heritage. A detector find near Cumwhitton, Cumbria, led to the excavation of a complete Viking cemetery, the first of its kind seen in England. Mike Pitts heard the inside story from Peter Adams, Alan Lupton and Faye Simpson. (British Archaeology, No.79, Nov, 2004). See also:
- Viking Burial Ground Dispels Myth of Longship Marauders. Lee Glendinning and Maev Kennedy (Guardian, Sept 7, 2004), and
- Grave reveals the Vikings who rest in peace by Tosin Sulaiman (The Times, Sept 8, 2004).
- Suspected Viking Burial Fills a Hole in English History. Tight security has been put on the site since metal detecting enthusiasts came upon what is thought to be the first known Viking ship burial south of Hadrian’s Wall, writes Martin Wainwright. (Guardian, Feb, 2004).
- Roman Coin Confirms Emperor’s Existence. Metal detector find confirms the existence of an almost unknown Roman emperor, Domitian or Domitianus, who ruled Britain briefly in AD 271, by Nigel Reynolds. (Daily Telegraph, Feb 26, 2004).
- £30,000 Find for Metal Detector Fan. A gold sword belt ornament was found a few inches below the sand at Bembridge on the Isle of Wight. (Daily Telegraph, Nov 2, 2003). See the sequel to this story:
- Treasure Island Faces Loss of Belt Ornament ‘of a King’. A Saxon gold sword belt ornament, declared treasure, may be lost to the island where it was discovered after an initial valuation suggested that it could be worth £50,000, writes Stewart Payne. (Daily Telegraph, Feb 23, 2003).
- Dish Fit for the Gods. The discovery of a unique bronze vessel, hailed as the most significant Roman find yet made under the Portable Antiquities Scheme, is of great artistic, technological and historical importance. Mike Pitts and Sally Worrell, with exclusive photographs by Stuart Laidlaw, provide British Archaeology with the first inside report on this very special object. (British Archaeology, No.73, Nov, 2003). See also:
- British Museum’s Cup Runs Over by Maev Kennedy. (Guardian, Jun 26, 2003).
- Golden Hoard of Winchester Gives up its Secret. Scientists have unlocked the secret of the spectacular Winchester Hoard of Iron Age gold in the British Museum, revealing that it was Roman, not British as previously thought. By Dalya Alberge. (The Times, Sept 8, 2003).
- Senua, Britain’s unknown goddess unearthed, by Maev Kennedy. She is faceless and armless, but she has a name: Senuna. After much study, a previously unknown Romano-British goddess has been resurrected at the British Museum, patiently prised from soil-encrusted clumps of gold and corroded silver which have buried her identity for more than 1,600 years. Her name is published for the first time today. (Guardian 1 September 2003). See also:
- New Roman goddess found, from BBC News
- Treasure Found…’somewhere to the north of Baldock’, from local media. (Baldock Mail, #153, April/May 2003)
- A new goddess for Roman Britain. Portable Antiquities Scheme news story by Ralph Jackson; and Treasure Record
- DCMS Treasure Report 2002 pp38–43 relate to this find.
- Iron Age coin hoard found - Coins found inside cattle bone. BBC News. See also:
- Favourite Finds: The Chair of the Man who became a Roman. Ros Niblett recalls how a metal detectorist’s find led to the remarkable story of a Briton who had been persuaded to adopt Roman ways. (British Archaeology, No.70, May, 2003).
- Coins and Helmet Unearthed. A treasure hidden under the rolling fields of Leicestershire for 2,000 years had to remain secret for a further three years, with an agonised group of amateur archaeologists all the while bursting to report one of the most important finds in decades, writes Maev Kennedy. (Guardian, Apr 8, 2003).
- Gold Necklace from 20BC Found in Field. Two solid gold necklaces, possibly owned by the king and queen of an early British tribe, have been discovered in Hampshire, by Nigel Reynolds. (Telegraph, Jun 28, 2001).
- Iron Age Hoard of Jewels Found. A man using a metal detector has found a hoard of spectacular Iron Age jewellery, scattered across a ploughed field on a farm near Winchester. (Guardian, Mar 22, 2001).
- Barley Field Find Breaks Record for Roman Coin Haul. Minutes after picking up a metal detector for the first time a Somerset farmer had to get a bucket when he unearthed the largest hoard of Roman silver coins found in Britain. (Guardian, Nov 10, 1999).
- Vikings and the New East Anglian Towns. Metal detector finds aid our understanding of culture and society in 9th–11th century East Anglia. Article by Andrew Rogerson. (British Archaeology, No.35, Jun 1998).
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