Information

Detectorist Finds Bronze Age Treasure Cache With Sword In Scotland


In fiction, treasure hunters cut through dense jungles, dive down to dangerous shipwrecks, and search the Holy Land looking for buried artifacts with high market value in an industry fueled by rare antiquities. But in the real world, on June 21, 2020, an amateur metal detectorist uncovered an exceptionally rare Bronze Age treasure hoard in a field near the village of Peebles, about 22 miles (36 kilometers) south of Edinburgh. The prize of this Bronze Age treasure cache was a rare and priceless 3,000-year-old sword. While the sword was not jewel encrusted , it will provide gems of archaeological data pertaining to a time in Scottish history from which only a few artifacts have ever been recovered.

What the Bronze Age treasure hoard looked like when it was first found in the ground. #7 in the center is the sword with scabbard. ( SketchFab)

Bronze Age Treasure Finder Reported and Guarded the Find

A PHYS article about the metal detectorist Mariusz Stepien, 44, says he “shook” with happiness when he realized his find might be something “spectacular,” and potentially “a big part of Scottish history .” And following UK law to the letter, Stepien and his friends immediately contacted the Scottish government's Treasure Trove who sent a team of archaeologists to the site.

But there was no way Mr Stepien was taking his eyes off the loot and he set up a camp site and slept rough in the treasure field for 22 nights while archaeologists excavated the Bronze Age treasure hoard which included “a horse harness, buckles, rings, ornaments, a sword still in its scabbard and axle caps from a chariot.” These finds are now being studied in Edinburgh at the National Museums Collection Center .

Key items from the Bronze Age treasure find in Scotland, thought to be pieces of a Bronze Age horse harness, found by amateur metal detectorist, Mariusz Stepien in June 2020. Source: Treasure Trove Scotland

Scottish Bronze Age Treasure: A Nationally Significant Find

In a Southern Reporter article Mr Stepien said he will never forget those 22 days spent in the field where every day “there were new objects coming out which changed the context of the find,” and he expressed how delighted he was to have helped unearth artifacts dating more than 3,000 years old. The archaeologists recovered decorated straps, buckles, rings, ornaments and chariot wheel axle caps, along with evidence of a decorative rattle pendant, but the jewel in the crown of this hoard was a sword still in its scabbard. This exceptionally rare sword represents “the first” of its type ever discovered in Scotland, and only the third found anywhere in the UK to date.

Because the soil had preserved the organic elements of the hoard the archaeologists were able to trace the leather straps that once connected the Bronze rings, discs and buckles together to form a horse’s harness. Emily Freeman, the head of the Scottish Treasure Trove unit, said that because so few Bronze Age treasure hoards have been excavated in Scotland it was an amazing opportunity for her team not only to recover bronze artifacts, but to study rare organic material as well. She described the collection as “a nationally significant find.”

And this sentiment was supported by the Queen ’s and Lord Treasurer ’s remembrancer David Harvie who said the Bronze Age treasure hoard is “highly significant and promises to give us a new insight into Scotland ’s history” and he thanked the finder for his quick actions in contacting the treasure trove unit.

An Early Bronze Age flat axe head found not far from where the recent treasure trove was found in Peeblesshire, Scotland ( Treasure Trove Scotland )

Peebles County: A Known Bronze Age Treasure Chest

Peeblesshire, the County of Peebles, or Tweeddale, is a historic county in southern Scotland bordering Midlothian to the north, Selkirkshire to the east, Dumfriesshire to the south, and Lanarkshire to the west. The only comparable collection of Late Bronze Age objects ever discovered in Scotland was also discovered in Peebleshire in 1864 by Mr Linton of Glenrath beneath a large field stone among the scree of Horsehope Craiin in Manor parish.

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Known as the Horse Hope Craig Hoard the bulk of this collection of Bronze Age treasures has been kept preserved in the Museum of the Chambers Institute in Peebles since its discovery and includes twenty eight pieces, with one of two “socketed axes” on exhibition at the National Museum of Antiquities of Scotland . Dated to the 7th and 6th centuries BC, as is the newly discovered treasure hoard, the Horse Hope Craig Hoard included classic bronze elements like horse-harnesses and mountings from a cart.


Detectorist 'shaking with happiness' after Bronze Age find

A complete horse harness and sword was uncovered by Mariusz Stepien at the site near Peebles in June.

Experts said the discovery was of "national significance".

The soil had preserved the leather and wood, allowing experts to trace the straps that connected the rings and buckles.

This allowed the experts to see for the first time how Bronze Age horse harnesses were assembled.

Mr Stepien was searching the field with friends when he found a bronze object buried half a metre underground.

He said: "I thought 'I've never seen anything like this before' and felt from the very beginning that this might be something spectacular and I've just discovered a big part of Scottish history.

"I was over the moon, actually shaking with happiness."

Mr Stepien and his friends camped in the field as archaeologists spent 22 days investigating the site.

He said: "Every day there were new objects coming out which changed the context of the find, every day we learned something new.

"I'm so pleased that the earth revealed to me something that was hidden for more than 3,000 years. I still can't believe it happened."

Archaeologists found a sword still in its scabbard, decorated straps, buckles, rings, ornaments and chariot wheel axle caps.

There is also evidence of a decorative "rattle pendant" that would have hung from the harness, the first to be found in Scotland, and only the third in the UK.

Emily Freeman, head of the Crown Office's Treasure Trove Unit, said it was "a nationally-significant find".

She said: "So few Bronze Age hoards have been excavated in Scotland, it was an amazing opportunity for us to not only recover bronze artefacts, but organic material as well.

"There is still a lot of work to be done to assess the artefacts and understand why they were deposited."


Treasure-hunter finds 3,000-year-old hoard in Scotland

This undated photo issued by Crown Office Communications shows objects found by metal detectorist Mariusz Stepien in the Scottish Borders. An amateur treasure-hunter has uncovered one of the most significant Bronze Age hoards ever found in Scotland, authorities said Monday Aug. 10, 2020, including jewelry and a 3,000-year-old sword. Metal detectorist Mariusz Stepien said he was "shaking with happiness" when he made the discovery in a field in June. (Crown Office Communications via AP)

An amateur treasure-hunter has uncovered one of the most significant Bronze Age hoards ever found in Scotland, including jewelry and a 3,000-year-old sword, authorities said Monday.

Metal detectorist Mariusz Stepien said he was "shaking with happiness" when he made the discovery in June, in a field near the village of Peebles, about 22 miles (36 kilometers) south of Edinburgh.

"I thought I've never seen anything like this before and felt from the very beginning that this might be something spectacular and I've just discovered a big part of Scottish history," he said.

Stepien and his friends contacted the Scottish government's Treasure Trove unit and camped in the field for 22 days as archaeologists uncovered the assemblage of artifacts. These included a complete horse harness, buckles, rings, ornaments, a sword still in its scabbard and axle caps from a chariot.

They, and the dirt around them, are now at the National Museums Collection Center in Edinburgh.

Emily Freeman, head of the Treasure Trove Unit, said it was a "nationally significant find." It is only the second Bronze Age hoard ever excavated in Scotland.

"It was an amazing opportunity for us to not only recover bronze artifacts, but organic material as well," she said. "There is still a lot of work to be done to assess the artifacts and understand why they were deposited."

  • This undated photo issued by Crown Office Communications shows a sword in its scabbard found during a dig near Peebles, after metal detectorist Mariusz Stepien found objects believed to be from the Bronze Age. An amateur treasure-hunter has uncovered one of the most significant Bronze Age hoards ever found in Scotland, authorities said Monday Aug. 10, 2020, including jewelry and a 3,000-year-old sword. Metal detectorist Mariusz Stepien said he was "shaking with happiness" when he made the discovery in a field in June. (Crown Office Communications via AP)
  • This undated photo issued by Crown Office Communications shows metal detectorist Mariusz Stepien at the excavation site near Peebles, Scotland, after he found objects believed to be from the Bronze Age objects. An amateur treasure-hunter has uncovered one of the most significant Bronze Age hoards ever found in Scotland, authorities said Monday Aug. 10, 2020, including jewelry and a 3,000-year-old sword. Metal detectorist Mariusz Stepien said he was "shaking with happiness" when he made the discovery in a field in June. (Crown Office Communications via AP)

© 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.


Treasure-hunter finds 3,000-year-old hoard in Scotland

This undated photo issued by Crown Office Communications shows a sword in its scabbard found during a dig near Peebles, after Mariusz Stepien found objects believed to be from the Bronze Age. Crown Office Communications/Associated Press

LONDON (AP) — An amateur treasure-hunter has uncovered one of the most significant Bronze Age hoards ever found in Scotland, including jewelry and a 3,000-year-old sword, authorities said Monday.

Metal detectorist Mariusz Stepien said he was “shaking with happiness” when he made the discovery in June, in a field near the village of Peebles, about 22 miles (36 kilometers) south of Edinburgh.

“I thought I’ve never seen anything like this before and felt from the very beginning that this might be something spectacular and I’ve just discovered a big part of Scottish history,” he said.

Stepien and his friends contacted the Scottish government’s Treasure Trove unit and camped in the field for 22 days as archaeologists uncovered the assemblage of artifacts. These included a complete horse harness, buckles, rings, ornaments, a sword still in its scabbard and axle caps from a chariot.

They, and the dirt around them, are now at the National Museums Collection Center in Edinburgh.

Emily Freeman, head of the Treasure Trove Unit, said it was a ”nationally significant find.” It is only the second Bronze Age hoard ever excavated in Scotland.

“It was an amazing opportunity for us to not only recover bronze artifacts, but organic material as well,” she said. “There is still a lot of work to be done to assess the artifacts and understand why they were deposited.”


Metal Detectorist Finds Bronze Age Artefacts Less Than A Metre Underground

A metal detectorist has unearthed a rare hoard of 'nationally significant' Bronze Age artefacts in Scotland.

Mariusz Stepien was out detecting with his pals in a near field near Peebles when he came across a bronze item buried just half a metre below the ground.

Archaeologists then spent 22 days investigating the items in situ, even setting up a little shelter to protect the haul from the weather.

Credit: Treasure Trove Unit/@TTUScotland

They discovered a complete horse harness, which had been preserved by the soil, and a sword that dates back to 1,000 to 900 BC. They also found numerous other items including buckles, rings and decorated straps.

Stepien and his mates also camped out in the area to keep up to date with developments.

He told the BBC: "I will never forget those 22 days spent in the field. Every day there were new objects coming out which changed the context of the find, every day we learned something new.

"I'm so pleased that the earth revealed to me something that was hidden for 3,000 years. I still can't believe it happened."


Metal detectorist finds hoard of Bronze Age artefects in 'significant' discovery

A metal detectorist has uncovered a hoard of Bronze Age artefacts which experts have described as “nationally significant”.

Mariusz Stepien, 44, was investigating a field near Peebles in the Scottish Borders with friends on June 21 when he found a bronze object buried underground.

The group camped in the field and built a shelter to protect the find from the elements while archaeologists spent 22 days investigating.

Among the items found were a complete horse harness – preserved by the soil – and a sword estimated to date back from 1000 to 900 BC.

Mr Stepien said: “I thought I’ve never seen anything like this before and felt from the very beginning that this might be something spectacular and I’ve just discovered a big part of Scottish history.

“I was over the moon, actually shaking with happiness. We wanted to be a part of the excavation from the beginning to the end.

“I will never forget those 22 days spent in the field. Every day there were new objects coming out which changed the context of the find, every day we learned something new.

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“I’m so pleased that the earth revealed to me something that was hidden for more than 3000 years. I still can’t believe it happened.”

Decorated straps, buckles, rings, ornaments and chariot wheel axle caps were also discovered.

The collection of artefacts has been moved from the site in a large block of soil and taken to the National Museums Collection Centre in Edinburgh.

Emily Freeman, head of the Treasure Trove Unit overseeing the recovery and assessment of the find, said: “This is a nationally significant find – so few Bronze Age hoards have been excavated in Scotland.

“It was an amazing opportunity for us to not only recover bronze artefacts, but organic material as well. There is still a lot of work to be done to assess the artefacts and understand why they were deposited.

“We could not have achieved this without the responsible actions of the finder or the support of the landowners.

“The finder was quick to action when they realised that they had found an in-situ hoard, which resulted in the Treasure Trove Unit and National Museums Scotland being on site within days of discovery.”


Amateur Treasure Hunter Finds Bronze Age Hoard in Scotland

Items from a Bronze Age hoard unearthed in June near Peebles, Scotland. Photo: Crown Office Communications

Metal detectorist Mariusz Stepien made the discovery of a lifetime recently in the Scottish Borders, near the village of Peebles, just south of Edinburgh, after he heard pings indicating that there might be a large amount of metal in the ground under his feet.

The amateur detectorist told interviewers that he was “shaking with happiness” as he unearthed the Bronze Age treasure trove, dating back 3,000 years before the present. Consisting of a 3,000 year-old sword still in its scabbard, jewelry, buckles and even a chariot wheel hub, the find has been declared one of the most significant Bronze Age finds ever unearthed in Scotland.

The earth around the Bronze Age hoard in Scotland was transported as a whole to Scotland’s National Museums Collection Center. Photo: Crown Office Communications

On Monday, authorities in the United Kingdom disclosed the contents of the amazing discovery and showed photographs of their unearthing to the public for the first time.

Mariusz Stepien at the site of his Bronze Age find, just 22 miles south of Edinburgh, Scotland. Photo: Crown Office Communications

The Associated Press reported how Stepien described his feelings that day. “I thought ‘I’ve never seen anything like this before,’ and felt from the very beginning that this might be something spectacular and I’ve just discovered a big part of Scottish history.”

Just as called for in the regulations followed by all metal detectorists in the UK, Stepien and his buddies made contact immediately with the “Treasure Trove Unit” of the Scottish government. They then camped out in the fields surrounding the site for the next 22 days as they patiently awaited the methodical excavation of the treasure.

Other bronze items in the hoard included a “complete” horse harness as well as rings.

The archaeologists used extreme care in extricating the items, and some of the dirt in which they were buried was transported to the National Museums Collection Center in Edinburgh.

Emily Freeman, the head of Scotland’s Treasure Trove Unit, was quoted by the AP as saying that Stepien’s June discovery was a “nationally significant find,” in part because it was only the second Bronze Age hoard ever found in the country.

“It was an amazing opportunity for us to not only recover bronze artifacts, but organic material as well,” she added. “There is still a lot of work to be done to assess the artifacts and understand why they were deposited.”


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The period marks a time when bronze gradually replaced stone as the main material for making tools.

Communities in Late Bronze Age Scotland (1000-800 BC) often buried hoards of metalwork.

'This is a nationally significant find – so few Bronze Age hoards have been excavated in Scotland,' said Emily Freeman, head of the Treasure Trove Unit (TTU) overseeing the recovery and assessment of the find.

'It was an amazing opportunity for us to not only recover bronze artefacts, but organic material as well.'

'There is still a lot of work to be done to assess the artefacts and understand why they were deposited.'

The Crown Office, which runs the TTU, told MailOnline it can’t provide a more specific location of the discoveries than 'near Peebles' because of the 'security and privacy concerns of the landowner’.

The ancient sword seen here still in its scabbard, built into the rock, as found during the dig near Peebles

Archaeologists were called to the site near Peebles before the artefacts were taken to Edinburgh. The Crown Office, which runs TTU, told MailOnline it can’t provide a more specific location of the discoveries ‘due to security and privacy concerns of the landowner’

The collection was promptly reported to TTU and excavated by archaeologists from National Museums Scotland.

The metal objects are believed to be decorative and functional pieces of a Bronze Age horse harness, while the sword is still in its scabbard and encrusted within the chunk of rock.

The complete horse harness – preserved by the soil – and the sword have been dated as being from 1000 to 900 BC.

'These are rare objects, some of which are unique in Scotland,' said National Museums Scotland.

'They have affinities with objects across Europe and were likely deposited by a well-connected community.

'The organic preservation in the hoard is remarkable and includes leather and wood that is three thousand years old.

'This allows archaeologists to see how the horse harness was assembled – this has never been seen before in Britain.'

The team also found decorated straps, buckles, rings, ornaments and chariot wheel axle caps

Mariusz Stepien was searching a field near Peebles with friends on June 21 when he found a bronze object buried half a metre underground

The hoard was uncovered by Mariusz Stepien, 44, who was searching a field near Peebles with friends on June 21 this year when he found a bronze object buried about a foot and a half underground.

The group camped in the field and built a shelter to protect the find from the elements while archaeologists spent 22 days investigating.

'I thought I've never seen anything like this before and felt from the very beginning that this might be something spectacular and I've just discovered a big part of Scottish history,' said Stepien.

'I was over the moon, actually shaking with happiness.

'We wanted to be a part of the excavation from the beginning to the end.

The objects after being discovered by the metal detectorist. They've been described as 'nationally significant'

'I will never forget those 22 days spent in the field. Every day there were new objects coming out which changed the context of the find, every day we learned something new.

'I'm so pleased that the earth revealed to me something that was hidden for more than 3,000 years. I still can't believe it happened.'

As he was getting strong signals from the earth around the initial object, Stepien contacted the TTU to report his find.

Mariusz Stepien stands next to the hoard ready for transport back to Edinburgh for further examination. They've been moved to the National Museums Collection Centre in Edinburgh

An archaeologist working at the site near Peebles, after metal detectorist Mariusz Stepien found objects, in the Scottish Borders

Scotland's TTU is 'the first port of call' for new discoveries and carries out investigations and object assessments of new objects.

All ancient objects newly discovered in Scotland need to be reported to the TTU, as they belong to the Crown, whether or not they're precious metal.

'We could not have achieved this without the responsible actions of the finder or the support of the landowners,' said Freeman.

'The finder was quick to action when they realised that they had found an in-situ hoard, which resulted in the TTU and National Museums Scotland being on site within days of discovery.'

BRONZE AGE BRITAIN: A PERIOD OF TOOLS, POTS AND WEAPONS LASTING NEARLY 1,500 YEARS

The Bronze Age in Britain began around 2,000 BC and lasted for nearly 1,500 years.

It was a time when sophisticated bronze tools, pots and weapons were brought over from continental Europe.

Skulls uncovered from this period are vastly different from Stone Age skulls, which suggests this period of migration brought new ideas and new blood from overseas.

Bronze is made from 10 per cent tin and 90 per cent copper, both of which were in abundance at the time.

Crete appears to be a centre of expansion for the bronze trade in Europe and weapons first came over from the Mycenaeans in southern Russia.

It is widely believed bronze first came to Britain with the Beaker people who lived about 4,500 years ago in the temperate zones of Europe.

They received their name from their distinctive bell-shaped beakers, decorated in horizontal zones by finely toothed stamps.

The decorated pots are almost ubiquitous across Europe, and could have been used as drinking vessels or ceremonious urns.

Believed to be originally from Spain, the Beaker folk soon spread into central and western Europe in their search for metals.

Textile production was also under way at the time and people wore wrap-around skirts, tunics and cloaks. Men were generally clean-shaven and had long hair.

The dead were cremated or buried in small cemeteries near settlements.

This period was followed by the Iron Age which started around 650 BC and finished around 43 AD.


Metal detectorist unearths 'nationally significant' Bronze Age hoard in Scotland

A “nationally significant” hoard of Bronze Age artefacts have been found by a metal detectorist.

Mariusz Stepien, 44, came across a bronze object buried about half a metre underground in June and protected it from the elements while archaeologists spent 22 days investigating the area.

They found a complete horse harness, preserved by soil, and a sword dated to between 1000 and 900 BC in the field, near Peebles in the Scottish Borders.

Decorated straps, buckles, rings, ornaments and chariot wheel axle caps were among the items, as was a “rattle pendant” from the harness.

It is the first such pendant to be found in Scotland and only the third in the UK.

Emily Freeman, head of the Treasure Trove Unit, which oversaw the recovery of the artefacts, said: “This is a nationally significant find – so few Bronze Age hoards have been excavated in Scotland.

“It was an amazing opportunity for us to not only recover bronze artefacts, but organic material as well.

“There is still a lot of work to be done to assess the artefacts and understand why they were deposited.”

Stepien contacted the unit after he found the items, and the trove has been moved from the site in a large block of soil and taken to the National Museums Collection Centre in Edinburgh.

He said: “I thought ‘I’ve never seen anything like this before’ and felt from the very beginning that this might be something spectacular and I’ve just discovered a big part of Scottish history.

“I was over the moon, actually shaking with happiness.

“We wanted to be a part of the excavation from the beginning to the end.

“I will never forget those 22 days spent in the field. Every day there were new objects coming out which changed the context of the find, every day we learned something new.

“I’m so pleased that the earth revealed to me something that was hidden for more than 3,000 years. I still can’t believe it happened.”

Freeman added: “We could not have achieved this without the responsible actions of the finder or the support of the landowners.

“The finder was quick to action when they realised that they had found an in-situ hoard, which resulted in the Treasure Trove Unit and National Museums Scotland being on site within days of discovery.”

Treasure hunting has risen in popularity in recent years, a shift some put down to the success of shows such as BBC comedy The Detectorists, starring Mackenzie Crook and Toby Jones.

More significant treasure discoveries in Britain

The Staffordshire Hoard

This is the largest collection of Anglo-Saxon gold and silver ever to be discovered, the trove’s own website states.

It is made up of fine objects that required a “very high level of craft skills” to make, the site says.

The hoard’s items would have belonged to Anglo-Saxon kings and princes, their households and warrior retinues.

Religious and animal artefacts, weapon parts and decorative items are among the almost 4,600 individual items and fragments discovered.

They were found near Hammerwich, a village near Lichfield in Staffordshire, in July 2009 by detectorist Terry Herbert.

The amount contains a combined 4g of gold, more than 1.5kg kilos of silver and thousands of garnets.

“There is nothing comparable in terms of content and quantity in the UK or Europe,” the website adds.

The Vale of York Hoard

Valued at £1m, this was found by David and Andrew Whelan, two metal detectorists, in North Yorkshire in 2007.

The Yorkshire Museum describes the find as “remarkable” due to its size and quality, “making it the most important find of its type in Britain for over 150 years”.

The Viking Age treasure contains 67 objects including ornaments, ingots and fragments called hack silver, as well as 617 coins.

Some of the objects come from as far as Afghanistan, as well as Europe.

Among the items is a silver coin, a dirham that was struck at Samarkand in what is now Uzbekistan, a city that sat on the Silk Road trading route.

The coin was traded up the rivers into Russia, then Scandinavia, until it made its way to Yorkshire, the museum added.

The Hoxne Hoard

The Hoxne Hoard is the richest Roman treasure find in Britain, according to the British Museum.

Several precious objects were found in Suffolk in 1992, alongside about 15,000 coins.

It was found by Eric Lawes, reportedly after he went looking for a lost hammer.

Among its treasures is a silver pepper pot that depicts a woman and dates to between 300 and 400 AD.


Metal detectorist unearths 'nationally significant' Bronze Age hoard in Scotland

A “nationally significant” hoard of Bronze Age artefacts have been found by a metal detectorist.

Mariusz Stepien, 44, came across a bronze object buried about half a metre underground in June and protected it from the elements while archaeologists spent 22 days investigating the area.

They found a complete horse harness, preserved by soil, and a sword dated to between 1000 and 900 BC in the field, near Peebles in the Scottish Borders.

Decorated straps, buckles, rings, ornaments and chariot wheel axle caps were among the items, as was a “rattle pendant” from the harness.

It is the first such pendant to be found in Scotland and only the third in the UK.

Emily Freeman, head of the Treasure Trove Unit, which oversaw the recovery of the artefacts, said: “This is a nationally significant find – so few Bronze Age hoards have been excavated in Scotland.

“It was an amazing opportunity for us to not only recover bronze artefacts, but organic material as well.

“There is still a lot of work to be done to assess the artefacts and understand why they were deposited.”

Stepien contacted the unit after he found the items, and the trove has been moved from the site in a large block of soil and taken to the National Museums Collection Centre in Edinburgh.

He said: “I thought ‘I’ve never seen anything like this before’ and felt from the very beginning that this might be something spectacular and I’ve just discovered a big part of Scottish history.

“I was over the moon, actually shaking with happiness.

“We wanted to be a part of the excavation from the beginning to the end.

“I will never forget those 22 days spent in the field. Every day there were new objects coming out which changed the context of the find, every day we learned something new.

“I’m so pleased that the earth revealed to me something that was hidden for more than 3,000 years. I still can’t believe it happened.”

Freeman added: “We could not have achieved this without the responsible actions of the finder or the support of the landowners.

“The finder was quick to action when they realised that they had found an in-situ hoard, which resulted in the Treasure Trove Unit and National Museums Scotland being on site within days of discovery.”

Treasure hunting has risen in popularity in recent years, a shift some put down to the success of shows such as BBC comedy The Detectorists, starring Mackenzie Crook and Toby Jones.

More significant treasure discoveries in Britain

The Staffordshire Hoard

This is the largest collection of Anglo-Saxon gold and silver ever to be discovered, the trove’s own website states.

It is made up of fine objects that required a “very high level of craft skills” to make, the site says.

The hoard’s items would have belonged to Anglo-Saxon kings and princes, their households and warrior retinues.

Religious and animal artefacts, weapon parts and decorative items are among the almost 4,600 individual items and fragments discovered.

They were found near Hammerwich, a village near Lichfield in Staffordshire, in July 2009 by detectorist Terry Herbert.

The amount contains a combined 4g of gold, more than 1.5kg kilos of silver and thousands of garnets.

“There is nothing comparable in terms of content and quantity in the UK or Europe,” the website adds.

The Vale of York Hoard

Valued at £1m, this was found by David and Andrew Whelan, two metal detectorists, in North Yorkshire in 2007.

The Yorkshire Museum describes the find as “remarkable” due to its size and quality, “making it the most important find of its type in Britain for over 150 years”.

The Viking Age treasure contains 67 objects including ornaments, ingots and fragments called hack silver, as well as 617 coins.

Some of the objects come from as far as Afghanistan, as well as Europe.

Among the items is a silver coin, a dirham that was struck at Samarkand in what is now Uzbekistan, a city that sat on the Silk Road trading route.

The coin was traded up the rivers into Russia, then Scandinavia, until it made its way to Yorkshire, the museum added.

The Hoxne Hoard

The Hoxne Hoard is the richest Roman treasure find in Britain, according to the British Museum.

Several precious objects were found in Suffolk in 1992, alongside about 15,000 coins.

It was found by Eric Lawes, reportedly after he went looking for a lost hammer.

Among its treasures is a silver pepper pot that depicts a woman and dates to between 300 and 400 AD.