06 August 1997
Farmers to get their share of the treasure

By Boyd Champness

LANDOWNERS and farmers will be in line for monetary rewards if “treasure” is found on their property, following the publication of the new Treasure Act Code of Practice.

Previously, the farmer has had little recourse when an archaeologist or someone using a metal detector found something of value on his or her property – but thats all about to change.

Under the new rules, if someone finds something of value on the farmers property but does not have permission to be there, then that person can expect a reduced reward or nothing at all.

In the event that the finder has permission to search the farmers land, then the reward will be paid in full to the finder. However, if the finder makes a prior agreement with the owner of the land to share the reward, then the Secretary of State will honour that agreement.

The Code of Practice is the definitive guide to the Treasure Act 1996, which comes into force on September 24. The Act and Code together replace common-law precedents and practices dating back more than 750 years, and will greatly improve the protection afforded to the nations heritage of archaeological finds, according to the government.

A spokeswoman for the Department of Culture, Media and Sport said the new rules would encourage metal detectorists to seek advice from archaeologists as soon as they find something of value. The rules now stipulate that detectorists wont lose out by reporting the find, she said. Likewise, archaeologists will be encouraged to involve finders in any archaeological investigations resulting from their finds.