Page last updated at 08:49 GMT, Wednesday, 19 November 2008

Treasure hunters boost gold finds

The Newark Torc.  The Trustees of the British Museum
The Newark Torc has been valued at 360,000

An increase in the the popularity of metal detectors helped boost the number of treasure finds last year.

A total of 749 objects were reported found in 2007, according to the Treasure Annual Report.

The report also includes all finds which have passed through the Treasure Process in 2005 and 2006.

They include a gold Iron Age choker, valued at 360,000, which was found by a man searching for remains of crashed WWII aircraft in Nottinghamshire.

The choker - the so-called Newark Torc - is the most expensive single piece of treasure found by a member of the public in over a decade.

Roman hoard

Made of a combination of gold and silver, it was was found by Maurice Richardson, a tree surgeon and metal detecting enthusiast, in 2005.

Although torcs have been found in the UK, most particularly in Norfolk, it is the first one to be discovered in the Nottinghamshire area.

Constantine I (the Great) 307-337 Mint of Trier
The hoard found in Snodland, Kent consists of more than 3,600 coins.

Other valuable objects unearthed by the public include a Roman hoard of more than 3,500 coins, while the oldest is a long, cigar-shaped piece of Bronze Age gold unearthed by a man out metal detecting near Winchester.

In total, the number of finds containing gold and silver which were reported by the public rose by more than a tenth last year.

The Treasure and the Portable Antiquities Scheme said it was partly down to the popularity of metal detectors, but also because more people are reporting what they have found.

Finders of treasure are now legally obliged to report discoveries which are over 300 years old.

A number of museums across England and Wales have benefited from the increase in Treasure finds.

Because of funding from organisations like the Art Fund and the National Heritage Memorial Fund, 282 of the finds from last year have been acquired by museums across the country.

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