THE Portable Antiquities Scheme has recorded a 36 per cent increase in finds since improving its database in 2010 and making it easier to register discoveries.
A report just published revealed that there were 90,146
archaeological objects recorded through the PAS last year and 859
treasure cases, a rise of ten per cent.
The Headley Trust, which funds treasure acquisitions, and the
Institute for Archaeologists had put up the funds to improve the
database and make it easier to use for recorders and the public, as
well as paying for interns to record finds.
The PAS is a voluntary scheme managed by the British Museum to
record archaeological objects (not necessarily treasure) found by
members of the public in England and Wales.
All finders of gold and silver objects, groups of coins from the
same find, over 300 years old, have a legal obligation to report
such items under the Treasure Act 1996. Prehistoric base-metal
assemblages found after 1 January 2003 also qualify as
Potential treasure finds must be reported by law to the local
coroner, which is normally done through the finders' local PAS
Finds Liaison Officer. If declared treasure, they may be acquired
by a museum at their full market value, normally split 50/50
between finder and landowner.
It is this compensation factor that is thought to have
encouraged increasing responsibility on the part of treasure
hunters since the Treasure Act was updated in 1996 and the PAS
introduced a year later.