Saturday, 13 October 2018

Treasure Trickery Allegations [Updated]

Tricky Treasure Hunters?
Interesting piece of gossip from the horse's mouth (that is, allegedly from a metal detectorist) , can anyone shed any light on this? An FLO perhaps? From some recent correspondence (author's name withheld):
"On an unrelated matter, one of my tame detectorists mentioned a case where PAS are involved with a case of 'hoard salting', ie they have discovered a 'finder' has found a hoard that had [objects in it that had] apparently been cleaned prior to finding. It's not one I've seen, but then as a rule I don't use facebook. He could not give me details and I don't remember noticing you refer to it. I presume an FOI request to PAS may be the best way to find out what they are up to in this respect. It would be interesting in seeing just how many 'prosecutions' they get involved with. Sadly I suspect few or one".
Actually PAS cannot get involved in any prosecutions for false reporting of Treasure finds for the very simple reason that they are not supposed (according to the current wording of the 1996 Treasure Act) to be involved at all, the finder reports potential Treasure to the Coroner.  There was a Treasure inquest some years back when - as I remember it - two UK finders appeared in a Coroner's inquest to describe how they'd found a ring in a field, and then it was revealed that the ring had been sold on Austrian eBay a few weeks earlier, but this seems to have been a prank played on them. Then we had the brooch David Williams discovered was a Danubian type found on a UK rally. Then there was an Anglo-Saxon coin which some guy came to the PAS with, saying he'd found it on a rally, but in fact it had been stolen from a museum showcase just days earlier. Also readers might remember the metal detectorist who was turning out fake Anglo-Saxon gold coins and claiming he'd found them with his detector (that one did jail time).   I am sure there are a lot of these 'out of place' artefacts being laundered through the PAS and other online recording schemes (CCI, EMC, UKDFD).   How many Treasure finds have been embellished by the addition of objects (or some items found not reported and handed over)? 

UPDATE 14th October

I have just received this from a correspondent:
hi Paul i have also heard this story in the past few days. According to the bloke what told me its an hoard of prehistoric metal objects reportedly from a field somewhere in the middle of England. I heard it was apparently offered to at least one dealer who refused to touch it. It was then 'rediscovered' and the bloke made a video showing it coming out of the ground and gave the stuff to PAS. I havn't any reason not to believe the person what told me this. It seems the objects were nice and clean when they were shown to the dealer and then 'uncleaned' for the video. Thanks Paul - would prefer not to be named if you use it. By for now [...]
So, is this in-hobby jealousy, or have the PAS been handed with a dodgy group of finds?  and if they have, will they simply record it to avoid making waves and arouse distrust among the artefact hunting community (which will affect those all-important recording figures) or will they be alerting the police to the possibility of the landowner making a false claim? 

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