Found: 50,000 treasures unearthed by Britain's amateur archaeologists

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CVX
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Joined: Wed Aug 04, 2004 12:00 pm

Found: 50,000 treasures unearthed by Britain's amateur archaeologists

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By Arifa Akbar

27 October 2004



When Peter and Christine Johnson decided on a whim to shut their fitness shop early one day last year to try their luck at treasure-hunting, their metal detectors had hardly been used.

Armed with a plastic bag for any swag, they expected to come back ruddy-cheeked and empty-handed after their first trek out into the fields of Kent.

Twenty minutes later, they had uncovered a precious hoard of 360 coins dating back to the Iron Age - two of them of a kind never previously found in Britain. The extraordinary collection has since been classified as an official treasure. The British Museum is also keen to acquire it.

Their beginner's luck in unearthing the "Celtic Potins" in a field in Thurnham has earned them a place among Britain's most ardent treasure hunters, whose discoveries span 500,000 years and include 47,000 archaeological curiosities.

They form part of this year's discoveries archived by the Portable Antiquities Scheme (PAS), the nation's largest community archaeological project, which published a report of finds yesterday. PAS was created two years ago with a £4m grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund and the Government, which will be revised in 2006.

The itemsrange from prehistoric axes to a Roman gold lamella plaque bearing a magical inscription, and a precious coin which the Roman emperor Nero had inscribed with Jupiter's name after surviving an assassination attempt.

Estelle Morris, the Arts minister, paid tribute to the growing tribe of amateur treasure- seekers. "I would like to say thank you to all those people who go out in inclement weather to look for treasure. I hope many of the objects will join years of heritage in our museums and continue to tell the stories of our civilisation," she said.

While treasure items account for less than 1 per cent of the total number of objects found, Mark Wood, chairman of the Museums, Libraries and Archives council which manages the PAS, said the hobby provided great emotional dividends for those who got lucky.

"We've all dreamt of uncovering hidden history, from ancient deeds in our attic to Saxon coin stashes in our garden ... With nearly 50,000 items logged last year, it provides an amazing record of some extraordinary discoveries," he said.

The Treasure Annual Report 2002, published yesterday by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport, lists objects reported under the Treasure Act, which requires a finder to report a potentially valuable discovery.

More: http://news.independent.co.uk/uk/this_b ... ory=576428
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Bill Sikes
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Joined: Fri Aug 20, 2004 2:21 am

Found: 50,000 treasures unearthed by Britain's amateur archaeologists

Post by Bill Sikes »

CVX wrote: Estelle Morris, the Arts minister, paid tribute to the growing tribe of amateur treasure- seekers. "I would like to say thank you to all those people who go out in inclement weather to look for treasure. I hope many of the objects will join years of heritage in our museums and continue to tell the stories of our civilisation," she said.


Estelle Morris unfortunately has her head stuffed way up where the sun don't

shine. Her opinion is quite the reverse of many in the archaological field (NPI).

Some of these people are a real menace to archaelogy, and their practice needs

to be stamped on hard. One reason that they are a menace is mentioned

by the Telegraph, here:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jh ... ebay12.xml

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