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Turns out there IS buried treasure in Cornwall

Turns out there IS buried treasure in Cornwall

Turns out there IS buried treasure in Cornwall

Published by Emma Carton at 7:34am 17th November 2019. (Updated at 7:36am 17th November 2019)

Fortune hunters and hobbyists have found dozens of buried treasure troves in Cornwall since records began seven years ago.

Yes, this is for real and no, we have not been watching too much Poldark!

Figures from the British Museum and government show gold diggers, metal detectorists and mudlarks made 19 discoveries in Cornwall last year.

That is the largest haul since 2012, the earliest year with data available.

Overall, 69 discoveries were reported over the six-year period .

The Treasure Act defines treasure as finds older than 300 years.

These include coins, prehistoric metallic objects and artefacts that are at least 10% precious metals such as gold or silver.

Buried Treasure


What do the figures show?

The British Museum says the scale of artefacts unearthed across the country exceeds expectations, with reported finds showing "little sign of dipping anytime soon".

Last year, 1,096 treasure troves were reported across England, Wales and Northern Ireland – 191 of which came from the south-west.

Metal detecting was the best way to unearth lost treasure, according to the figures.

The devices tracked down 96% of finds in 2017, the most recent year with details on how the objects were discovered.

A further 3% – 33 cases – were archaeological finds and seven from field walking or scouring streams and shores.

In 2018-19, a survey of 770 adults in the South West found 2.7% had taken part in metal detecting at least once in the previous year.

This compares to an estimated 1.6% of adults across England.

Treasure Map


What do I do if I find buried treasure?

Anyone who thinks they have struck a hidden horde has to tell the coroner within two weeks, so the court can hold an inquest to decide who gets the loot.

If they do not, they face an unlimited fine or up to three months behind bars.

Local and national museums are given the chance to purchase any pieces a coroner rules as treasure.

But the finder does not leave empty-handed. They will be paid a sum depending on the haul's value.

"Given the variety of the objects being reported, from pre-historic hoards to post-medieval buttons, what they tell us about the past varies significantly.

"But there is no doubt that some of the most famous treasure finds, such as the Staffordshire Hoard, have completely transformed how we understand Britain's past, all the more remarkable as most of these finds are found by interested amateurs, not professional archaeologists.

"The main purpose of the Act is to ensure that the most important finds end up in museum collections for all to enjoy, and to that end over 200 museums across England, Wales and Northern Ireland have benefitted from the acquisition of treasure".

Professor Michael Lewis, British Museum

You can check the full figures here, including the finds presented to the Royal Cornwall Museum in Truro.