On nearly a monthly basis, a metal detectorist or group of adventurous people with metal detectors somewhere in Great Britain uncovers a buried artifact that classifies as treasure under U.K. law.
Any item containing at least 10% gold and dating more than 300 years old qualifies for the “treasure” designation, entitling the finder and land owner (in some cases the state) to a 50-50 split in the value of the discovery. The Treasure Act of 1996 passed by the U.K. Parliament guarantees this arrangement so long as the find is reported to the local coroner’s office within two weeks to ensure the artifacts are properly studied and ethically preserved.
More than a thousand years of disparate history overlap across the landscape of England and Scotland. Its fields and hillsides are rife with the coins, jewelry, and relics—albeit well-hidden—left behind from these various periods of rule and influence in the history of the British Isles.
It’s no wonder so many people spend half a lifetime of their spare time searching for a big score hunting for buried treasure.
Just this Friday, Metro in Britain reported the finding of a medieval hoard of Anglo-Saxon gold coins discovered in Chelmsford, Essex. Chris Kutler, a veteran treasure hunter with a quarter-century of experience, discovered the gold coins after a grueling four-day search.
The total number of coins hasn’t been made public while the British Museum is still evaluating the hoard. However, we do know that they date to approximately 1,400 years ago to 7th-century England.
The British press is suggesting that the hoard could be worth £10,000 (about $13,000) or more. Until the numismatists at the British Museum reveal the full details of their analysis, there’s no telling how accurate this estimate is.
You can find more images of the various Anglo-Saxon gold coins found by Mr. Kutler on the Facebook page of the Archaeological & Historic Sites Index (ARCHI) of the U.K.
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