how can you pilfer somethiung that was lost many years ago or even recent if it was buried forget all the bloody do gooders its yours if you find it and if other people want one let them find there own bunch of grabbers.,
Unfortunately, it's that sort of attitude that's given metal detecting a bad reputation. Many important archaeological sites have been ruined by irresponsible metal detecting. If all you're after are old beer cans or the odd £1 coin then go for it. If, however, you're after valuable stuff, then you should be aware of The Treasure Act 1996.
The Treasure Act is a piece of legislation designed to deal with finds of treasure primarily those made by metal detectorists in England and Wales. It legally obliges finders of objects which constitute a legally defined term of treasure to report their find to their local coroner within fourteen days. An inquiry led by the coroner then determines whether the find constitutes treasure or not. If is declared to be treasure then the owner must offer the item for Sale
to a museum at a price set by an independent board of antiquities experts. Only if no museum expresses an interest in the item or is unable to purchase it can the owner retain it.
'Treasure' is defined as being:
- All coins from the same hoard. A hoard is defined as two or more coins, as long as they are at least 300 years old when found. If they contain less than 10% gold or silver there must be at least 10 in the hoard for it to qualify.
- Two or more prehistoric base metal objects in association with one another
- Any individual (non-coin) find that is at least 300 years old and contains at least 10% gold or silver.
- Associated finds: any object of any material found in the same place as (or which had previously been together with) another object which is deemed treasure.
- Objects substantially made from gold or silver but are less than 300 years old, that have been deliberately hidden with the intention of recovery and whose owners or heirs are unknown.
Under English law a landowner has sole title to any archaeological artefacts found on his or her property. Legitimate metal detectorists come to an agreement the owners of the land they detect on to share any proceeds from treasure sales. Those who detect illegally, either on Scheduled sites or without the landowners' permission cannot benefit from the Treasure Act.
Illegal detectorists have had their loot confiscated and can face fines and prison.