Monday 26 August 2019

Metal-detecting couple find one of Britain's biggest ever treasure hoards as they discover almost 2,600 ancient coins worth around £5m in an unploughed field

A spokesman for the British Museum has confirmed that a large hoard (2,571 silver coins ) of late Anglo-Saxon and Norman date was discovered in January (James Gant, 'Metal-detecting couple find one of Britain's biggest ever treasure hoards as they discover almost 2,600ancient coins worth around £5m in an unploughed field' Mail online 25th August 2019). The PAS has issued a strongly-worded statement condemning this case of irresponsible pilfering of archaeological material from pasture, totally against the Code of Best Practice for Metal Detecting in England and Wales. The NCMD is believed to be also considering ejecting the couple from the organization, and several archaeological bodies are weighing up making representations that the Treasure ransom is heavily reduced for both finder and permitting landowner.
Adam Staples and partner Lisa Grace unearthed the 'once in a lifetime' find of almost 2,600 ancient coins that date back 1,000 years. Although the find is smaller than the famous Staffordshire Hoard - the biggest collection of buried coins and artefacts discovered in Britain - it is thought to be at least £1million more valuable. [...] Mr Staples and [Ms] Grace, [...], made the astonishing find with their metal detectors while searching an unploughed field on a farm in the north east Somerset area in January.  [...] The couple notified [...] the county's local finds liaison officer as they were obliged to by law 
Well, actually section 8 of the law says they are obliged to report it to the Coroner. The couple live in Derby, a 200-km drive down the M5 to North Somerset [Chew Valley - update PMB]. And once again, absolutely no sign that there has been a PAS working away for the last two decades (at great public expense)  trying to explain to the whole British public what responsible metal detecting is and what archaeological significance is. Here they are failing, the Mail is chasing another storyline:
Nigel Mills, a coin expert and consultant for London auctioneers Dix Noonan Webb, said: 'I am told the coins are absolutely stunning. 'Each coin will have the moneyers name on and the mint of where it was issued. 'In the case of the Harold II coins, some will be from moneyers that we have not seen before. 'Harold II coins are rarer than William coins and could be worth between £2,000 to £4,000 each. 'The William I coins will be between £1,000 and £1,500. This hoard could be worth between £3m and £5m. 'Museums have been buying up all of the hoards found, but in this case the hoard may be too great for them. It maybe that an appeal for sponsors is launched to try and acquire them.' 
Alternatively we could just record them properly like all the other millions of artefacts that artefact hunters dig out of their archaeological context, and release them onto the voracious market. It's where the other stuff goes. What's the difference (really)?  And a museum can display a 3-printout of a scan of the pile of them for the cor-blimey effect.

Oh, by the way.... the lilly-livered PAS said no such thing, might upset the 'partners', the NCMD couldn't give a tinkers about the Code, they've got their own ('shut the gates'), and you cannot count on any of the British archaeological bodies to raise their heads above the parapet. So it goes on, the newspapers are not even aware of what they are writing....

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