Norfolk strikes gold for treasure finds

Norfolk strikes gold for treasure finds
The Snettisham Great Torc - made from just over a kilogram of gold mixed with silver. Picture: The British Museum

Good news for local metal detector enthusiasts as latest figures have revealed that the largest number of treasure finds in 2017 and 2018 were discovered in Norfolk.

Figures released this month by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport have revealed that 9.6 per cent of treasures were found in the county in 2017 and 9.4 per cent in 2018.

Fellow East of England counties Essex (9 per cent) and Lincolnshire (8 per cent) came second behind Norfolk for number of finds in 2017 and 2018 respectively.

Nationally, 1,266 treasure finds were reported in 2017 and 1,070 in 2018, with 96 of finds being discovered thanks to metal detecting, 3 per cent from archaeological finds and 0.5 per cent from field walking.

In 2017, around a third of treasure cases were from the post-medieval period and nearly a quarter were from the medieval period.

The vast majority of reported finds are object cases and with around one fifth being coin cases.

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The Treasure Act (1996) defines treasure as being older than 300 years and includes coins, prehistoric metallic objects and artefacts that are at least 10 per cent precious metals such as gold or silver.

However, think again if you believe you can take unearthed treasure home and keep quiet about it – anyone who thinks they have struck a hidden horde has to notify the coroner within two weeks so that the court can hold an inquest to decide who gets the loot. Consequences of not doing so include an unlimited fine or up to three months behind bars.

Notable Norfolk finds over the years include the Hoxne hoard (worth £1.75 million), the Sedgeford hoard and of course, the Snettisham Treasure – a series of at least a dozen hoards making up the biggest deposit of gold, silver and bronze items ever to be found in Europe, most famously made up of 200 torcs buried between 100 and 60BC.

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