Tuesday, 26 June 2012

The Law on Archaeological Finds in Jersey

The 1996 Treasure Act does not apply to the Bailiwick of Jersey. Here (as in Scotland and the Isle of Man) the law of Treasure Trove still applies, which allows the Crown to claim an item of value
whose owner cannot be traced. You need a permit to go metal detecting on Crown or common land.  Oxford Archaeological Unit's Nighthawking survey gives the following information:

3.1.8 Jersey’s Treasure law is based on ancient customary law (Article XVIII Grand Coutumier and Article 211 of the Coutume Reformée). Treasure Trove is gold or silver which is found hidden or buried in some place where it has been so long that it has been forgotten. Treasure Trove objects belongs to the Crown. One of the essential elements of Treasure Trove is that it must have been deliberately hidden or buried by the owner. Objects which have been lost or casually abandoned cannot be Treasure Trove though they may be claimed by the Crown as chose gaives (things not been appropriated to the use of man which have been found and are not claimed by anyone). Wreck, flotsam and jetsam also belong to the Crown. These are objects on the beach washed up by the tide or are in the sea so close to shore that they could be ‘touched with the tip of a lance by a man on horseback’. The Land Planning and Development (Special Controls) Ordinance (2006) in Jersey requires that any person who finds an object that:
 • is of archaeological and historical significance at a protected monument or in its vicinity
 • or is made elsewhere and is likely to be material in determining whether any monument, structure, artefact, cave, ruins or remains become a protected monument
 • or any site that is designated as a site of special significance 
- shall inform the Department in writing, within 28 days of making the find, of the nature of the object and the precise place at which it was found and provide all information required. Failure to report such a find is an offence.
So basically in itself affording no protection whatsoever to sites where hoards of valuable archaeological artefacts have already been found from being targeted by reward-seeking treasure hunters.

See also here: Detecting in Jersey

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