Eighteen treasure discoveries made in Portsmouth last year - here's how to get started as a treasure hunter

SECRETS of years gone by are still lying dormant across the city, just waiting to be discovered.

Friday, 5th June 2020, 12:55 pm
Updated Sunday, 7th June 2020, 3:38 pm

Statistics released by Radar AI show that 18 treasure finds were made in the Portsmouth area last year, among more than 1,000 discoveries across England and Wales.

Treasure – defined as discoveries that are more than 300 years old, such as coins or artefacts – are presented to the Portsmouth and South East Hampshire Coroner’s Court, which holds treasure inquests.

If the court deems it to be a treasure, local and national museums are given an opportunity to acquire the discovery, with financial reimbursement for the finder.

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Waterlooville treasure hunters, Lee McGowan (left) and Peter Beasley with one of their discoveries. Picture: Malcolm Wells

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Over the past three years, 47 discoveries have been made in the region.

There were 380 inquests concluded last year, with more than 90 per cent returning a verdict of treasure.

Ian Richardson, treasure registrar at the British Museum, said: ‘The purpose of the Treasure Act is to enable important archaeological objects to be acquired by museums, for the benefit of all.

‘It is pleasing to see local museums interested in acquiring a number of these finds if they are declared treasure.’

Last year, three Waterlooville residents Lee McGowan, Michael Poole and Peter Beasley claimed to have discovered Roman and Celtic remains at Old Down in the East Meon Valley.

Mr Beasley has a history of archaeological discoveries. In 2010 he sold a solid gold Roman pendant for £30,000 and in 1996 he uncovered a collection of Roman coins which were sold to the British Museum for £103,000. More recently, on March 13, 2016, Mr Beasley discovered a coin depicting two horses which the British Museum dated as between 50BC to 30BC.

If you discover something that could be treasure, there are set procedures to follow.

You must report your finding to the coroner within two weeks, so the court can hold an inquest to decide who should get the to keep it.

Failure to do so can result in an unlimited fine or up to three months in prison.

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