New plans to protect treasure

Plans to widen the definition of treasure so that more archaeological finds can be protected for the nation have been outlined by the Heritage Minister, Michael Ellis today.

These proposals will allow more artefacts to be acquired by local and national museums and put on public display. Finds worth more than £10,000 will be considered treasure and be made available for acquisition by museums.

Currently artefacts over 300 years old, made of gold or silver or found with artefacts made of precious metals where an owner cannot be found can be officially designated as treasure.  Treasure will then be offered to museums for display.

Every year dozens of items of national importance are believed to be lost to private sellers because they do not meet he treasure criteria, this includes roman helmets, chariot wheels, weapons and other goods.

With this area being so rich in history, with many people trying their hand at metal detecting, I hope the changes to classification will lead to more people learning about Tamworth and Staffordshire's past.

Buried treasure always captivates imagination, as we know from the famed 'Staffordshire Hoard' and with better technology, more and more people are taking to archaeology and looking after places of historical importance.  These new proposals will help our museums acquire these treasures and make it harder for nationally important finds to be sold off for personal profit.

There is also a consultation on this topic for those interested in contributing just click here.

And if you would like to see the Staffordshire Hoard, found just up the road from Tamworth, you can see it on permanent display at Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery (free entry)