Wednesday, 16 December 2020

More on the "Gingelom Hoard"

    Constantinian 'grots' (Agentschap Onroerend Erfgoed)

"A French national, who came forward as the finder of a hoard of Roman coins on Flemish soil, doesn’t appear to be the honest Joe many thought he was. An investigation by the Flemish Agency for Immovable Heritage revealed that the Frenchman had hidden the treasure on his own land in Flanders after it was first dug up illegally in France" (Colin Clapson. 'French treasure trove finder was no honest Joe', NWS, Wed 16 Dec).

It was in October of last year that the man revealed he had found an enormous amount of Roman coins on his land in Gingelom (Limburg). The agency investigated the find, but was puzzled by the fact that a foreigner had made such a gigantic find on own land that he had purchased abroad. Moreover, all the coins were now in two buckets in the boot of his car. Nothing had been left in the hole in the ground. An examination of the soil revealed that the coins could never have been dug up here. What initially looked like the largest historical Roman find on Flemish soil soon appeared more like a deception. The French authorities were brought in. They interviewed the finder and he admitted that the coins were dug up illegally in France and he had simply purchased them.
Part of the hoard

The reported findspot was a lie. This is why anyone trying to create a database of reports of such finds should make every effort to verify reported findspots. There have been enough cases of finds "laundered" by being reported from one place when they came from somewhere else. Experts at the Royal Library in Brussels examined them and believe all coins come from one and the same find. For this collector however things got worse, as the "purchased them online" story also began to be questioned:

Further investigation revealed that the finder had 13,000 archaeological finds in his possession that had all been acquired illegally. The suspicion is that the Frenchman had hoped to sidestep French legislation and benefit from the more relaxed Belgian regime. Under Belgian law finders become the owners of all archaeological finds on their land. By reporting a find in Flanders the Frenchman thought he could become the legal owner.
It is the same with finds made in Scotland or Northern Ireland beiong reported as found in England.

See also : 'French treasure hunter discovers mega treasure, hides it and is now accused of looting abroad' NewsBeezer December 17, 2020  

1 comment:

Brian Mattick said...

Paul, you do know that it is totally impossible to verify ANY reported findspot? Well I know you do, being rational.

Wouldn't making every effort to verify findspots merely add a further false crutch for the wicked fiction that metal detecting can be legitimised by setting up a PAS? Thank goodness most countries know such claims are foolish and irrational.

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