A CORONER has ruled that a hoard of ancient bronze ingots found on farmland near Dorking are treasure.
Brockham resident Nick Green, who is a member of the East Surrey Search and Recovery group, unearthed the rare find while metal detecting at a farm in Betchworth in January.
Realising the significance, the computer company owner made a note of the location using his handheld GPS and reported it to Surrey County Council’s finds liaison officer, David Williams, who arranged a small excavation of the site.
The eight bronze fragments, which were contained in a pottery vessel, were taken to the British Museum for further analysis and are believed to originate from the late Bronze Age between 1000 and 800BC.
Now a hearing at Woking Coroner’s Court has ruled the items are treasure.
Mr Williams said the find was quite rare.
“This is a unique find for England,” he added. “Although there are a few English antiquarian records of ingots found within a pottery container, this is the first to be recovered in modern times and certainly the first from Surrey.”
Under the Treasure Act 1996, treasure is defined as any item found (not including coins) that is at least 300-years-old and contains at least 10% gold or silver, or a hoard of two or more coins 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.
The act was extended in 2002 to cover groups of two or more artefacts of base-metal and of prehistoric date from the same find.
East Surrey Search and Recovery's general secretary, Roger Mintey, said: “There are only five to six treasure finds made in Surrey each year.
"So, compared with places like Norfolk and Suffolk, where there are more like 60, this is rare.”
He added that it was not general policy to disclose the exact location of a find. Under English law, a landowner has sole title to any archeological artefacts found on his or her property.
However, if it is declared to be treasure, the owner must offer the item for sale to a museum at a price set by an independent board of antiquities experts.
The owner can only retain it if a museum expresses no interest in the item or is unable to purchase it.
It is hoped that Mr Green’s find will be lodged at Guildford Museum.
Full story here.