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Man Finds Roman Gold Coin Hoard Worth £100,000 With Metal Detector

samzenpus posted about 2 years ago | from the I'm-the-inspector-over-the-mine dept.

The Almighty Buck 249

An anonymous reader writes "A novice metal detector has found one of the largest roman gold coin hoards ever unearthed in the UK. From the article: 'National newspapers reported on Wednesday that the man, from Berkhamsted, had been sold a beginner’s metal detector from the town’s High Street-based Hidden History for £135. He is reported to have gone back with 40 of the “solidi” coins, dating to the last days of Roman rule in Britain, and asked: “What do I do with this?”'"

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249 comments

Spend 'Em!!! (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41690537)

What else are you supposed to do with money? Of course, they may not be selling spears, shields and trebuches any longer.....

Re:Spend 'Em!!! (3, Funny)

91degrees (207121) | about 2 years ago | (#41690825)

Learn Latin and Anglo Saxon. Find a time machine. Become extremely wealthy.

The second part may be a little tricky but look for a strangely dressed eccentric and you might have some joy.

Re:Spend 'Em!!! (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41690849)

Learn Latin and Anglo Saxon. Find a time machine. Become extremely wealthy.

Don't forget to burry your treasures when you die in the past in order to close the loop.

Re:Spend 'Em!!! (5, Funny)

hawkinspeter (831501) | about 2 years ago | (#41690967)

Remember to bury your treasure BEFORE you die in the past.

Re:Spend 'Em!!! (1)

TuringCheck (1989202) | about 2 years ago | (#41691013)

Learn Latin and Anglo Saxon. Find a time machine. Become extremely wealthy. The second part may be a little tricky but look for a strangely dressed eccentric and you might have some joy.

Filthy rich or rather filthy and rich in that order...
Do anyone think it's worth it?

Re:Spend 'Em!!! (2)

91degrees (207121) | about 2 years ago | (#41691103)

Well, this would be Roman era, so it's one of the cleaner civilisations of history. You'd have access to useful things such as baths, and not be seen as odd for washing regularly

Re:Spend 'Em!!! (1)

rednip (186217) | about 2 years ago | (#41691431)

Considering that soap hadn't been invented yet, ancient Rome wasn't as 'fresh smelling' as you'd seem to expect.

Re:Spend 'Em!!! (5, Funny)

StoneyMahoney (1488261) | about 2 years ago | (#41690871)

Money not going as far as it did? Pay not stretching to the end of the month? Well why not send your Roman treasure to http://www.cashforyourgold.co.uk/ [cashforyourgold.co.uk] for a free valuation! Just pop all your treasure in the freepost envelope with our address written plainly on the outside so any light-fingered postman can pinch it and drop it in the bin*ahem*post box! It couldn't be simpler! Even if*ahem*when your gold arrives at our foundry, we'll only quote you 10% of it's scrap value, so don't forget to argue on the phone and we'll double it instantly! We'll still bel ripping you off, but hey, we've got a great advert with lots of exclamation marks in it!!!

Good that he reported it (2)

tudza (842161) | about 2 years ago | (#41690573)

Isn't it against the law to dig up such things in the UK and not report them? If so, reporting them was a good thing. He should get some amount of value from the find. Hope he didn't tear up the place digging them up or the archaeologists will be pissed. These things would have been used for paying taxes usually. Wonder what sort of place they came out of.

Re:Good that he reported it (5, Informative)

Dave Whiteside (2055370) | about 2 years ago | (#41690611)

as long as he has the landowners permission he can dig ,
he cannot sell them though
if it goes as treasure trove then him and the landowner get to share the value

Re:Good that he reported it (5, Informative)

Chrisq (894406) | about 2 years ago | (#41690745)

as long as he has the landowners permission he can dig

With the obvious exception of land which covers scheduled monuments or Archaeological Priority Areas, where permission form English Heritage is needed (and rarely granted to individuals with metal detectors)

Re:Good that he reported it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41690963)

Not in the UK. All finds of value belong to the crown, i.e. the Queen. At best you get a 50/50 deal if your find is good and you get enough national press coverage.

Re:Good that he reported it (3, Informative)

slimdave (710334) | about 2 years ago | (#41691143)

Only if the circumstances are strongly suggestive that the hoard was deliberately hidden with the expectation of later recovery by the owner -- treasure buried as part of the internment of a body are an obvious case where there is no intent to recover, hence the Sutton Hoo treasure was not treasure trove.

Re:Good that he reported it (5, Informative)

ciderbrew (1860166) | about 2 years ago | (#41690627)

The search was on private land. So they person that owns the land owns the stuff. Normally a farmer give permission for you to piss about in their land with a detector and if you find anything they'll give a 50/50 split.

http://www.archaeologyuk.org/ba/ba114/feat2.shtml [archaeologyuk.org]
The Property Act 1925, and subsequent judicial rulings, state that a person owns everything which is in their land. This has been understood to mean, as Lord Renfrew put it when writing about an iron age hoard (in Loot, Legitimacy and Ownership, Duckworth 2000), that "the original owner of the land where the finds were made [is...] their rightful owner". This assumption is correct – so long as the artefacts were not removed from the land by a person authorised to do so.

Re:Good that he reported it (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41690725)

in Italy, if you find something on your own land, the owner of archaeological stuff is Italy, moreover the country can temporarily occupy the piece of land interested and the owner is entitled to indemnification.

This is why in Italy people does not find historical stuff on the owned lands...

Re:Good that he reported it (4, Interesting)

ciderbrew (1860166) | about 2 years ago | (#41690835)

I think in Italy you've got a much better chance of finding a roman coin in the soil than in the UK. :)
Regarding the owner, can you get back payment for rent from the government? They kept their property stored on your land for 2000 years.

Re:Good that he reported it (2)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | about 2 years ago | (#41691017)

They kept their property stored on your land for 2000 years.

I don't have time to learn the entire history of land ownership of ancient Rome, but I doubt you owned the land 2000 years ago when the stuff was left there.

Re:Good that he reported it (2)

MindlessAutomata (1282944) | about 2 years ago | (#41691211)

Curiously enough, I doubt anyone else today did either! Thank you for bringing this highly salient point to our attention!

Re:Good that he reported it (3, Informative)

flyneye (84093) | about 2 years ago | (#41690851)

If you find something in the U.S., keep your mouth shut or the Government takes the "historical" find, declares the site a national park and prevents anyone but scientists from studying/looting the treasure. Maybe not bad as all that, but you gotta be careful about showing what you found. If it's not worth all that much, you can "salvage" the site, just for the love of God, don't show them any gold or jewels. www.melfisher.com for an example of a successful salvage operator, who has incidentally, had trouble salvaging gold coin from shipwrecks in the past.

Re:Good that he reported it (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41690911)

You couldn't get two bits for an arrowhead back in the 60s. Now you can't legally pick one up.
Fucking politicians.

Re:Good that he reported it (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41691331)

This depends on what is found.
The first thing to consider is if you own just the land, or if you also own the Mineral Rights. In most cases as long as you own the mineral rights you can pretty much do what you want.
However, if you live within a city, you have to think about laws which might restrict digging or excavation of any sort (at least, without a permit). You might find that, for example, you're too close to a protected wetland or waterway to come in with a bulldozer, but might be ok using hand-tools. And any type of commercial use of the land might also have some restrictions on it.

Now, there is one major exception to the "pretty much do what you want" rule of thumb:
If you find Native American artifacts, burial grounds, or settlement remains, there are special rules which can apply. Certain artifacts cannot legally be owned by non-Natives without certain permits (like feathers from a Bald Eagle).

There's usually some kind of "treasure hunters" association who can give you details specific to your area.

Same in Egypt ... (4, Interesting)

kbahey (102895) | about 2 years ago | (#41691245)

The same principle holds in Egypt: if you discover anything interesting while digging, you have to report it to the Department of Antiquities. They may take over the site and do a dig, or whatever they see fit.

This is why I know people, from Alexandria, who found Roman era amphorae while digging the foundation of their apartment building just take them home and never tell the authorities.

I myself have seen Roman earthenware come out on a government owned building when digging for a data center power cable. The managers just said keep quiet, otherwise it will delay our own project.

The stuff is not even sold or goes on the black market, it sits in storage at someone's balcony or dumped as rubbish.

Re:Good that he reported it (4, Informative)

Neil_Brown (1568845) | about 2 years ago | (#41690827)

The search was on private land. So they person that owns the land owns the stuff

My feeling is that, in the UK, there is a reasonably large exception to this, which is where the find constitutes "treasure" for the purposes of the Treasure Act 1996 [legislation.gov.uk] (which has been extended by the Treasure (Designation) Order 2002 [legislation.gov.uk] ).

Where a find is classified as treasure, it belongs to the Crown (or its franchisee, where there is one), "subject to prior interests and rights." (s4). Ownership of the *land* is not necessarily a sufficient prior interest or right here — to override the Crown's ownership, one would need to establish a right coming from the original owner of the treasure, such as being an heir to the treasure. (Paragraph 19 to The Treasure Act 1996 Code of Practice [finds.org.uk] .)

The Act includes a duty to notify, within 14 days (s8).

Re:Good that he reported it (2)

ciderbrew (1860166) | about 2 years ago | (#41690945)

Treasure (Designation) Order 2002 Does the title deed not establish a right? I guess if the dead person wanted their property back then they should have registered the lost property with the police :) I'd mod you up; but cannot. thank you for the links.

Re:Good that he reported it (2)

Neil_Brown (1568845) | about 2 years ago | (#41691023)

Does the title deed not establish a right?

It's a good question, and I do not know the answer — my gut feeling would be that the title deed establishes title to the land and that, if ownership of the land on which an item was found is sufficient, I would have expected (perhaps too much to expect) that the code of practice would make it clear that ownership of land constituted a relevant prior interest. Similarly, since property must always have an owner under English law (it reverts to the Crown if no other owner is traceable, via bona vacantia, from memory), if ownership of the land did count as a prior interest, treasure would never go to the Crown as it would always be owned by the landowner, making the provisions redundant?

However, some of the material in the document you cited suggested that ownership of the land is indeed relevant, so it sounds as if further research is needed!

Re: Title deed establishing right (1)

girlinatrainingbra (2738457) | about 2 years ago | (#41691029)

I'd bet it's more like nobility and royalty and other magical beliefs in the superiority of one class over others: buying the land owned by a nobleman does not confer upon one the title of nobility, whereas having a duly recorded ancestry that proves one's linkage to pre-existing nobility establishes the connection to give you a "title" of nobility also.

.

In other words, you can't buy your way into the club of nobles by buying their land; you remain a serf vs landed gentry. [warning, opinions only, not even a wikipedia link for this.]

Re:Good that he reported it (0, Troll)

Lumpy (12016) | about 2 years ago | (#41690829)

Wow! here in the USA you dont own anything, not even any LAND you claim to own. you have a Ownership title and a Occupancy permit, but those can be revoked by the local, state, or federal government at any time. Very VERY few people hold a real deed to their property here. The government does not like allowing people to actually own what they buy.

Re:Good that he reported it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41690937)

you have a Ownership title and a Occupancy permit, but those can be revoked by the local, state, or federal government at any time. Very VERY few people hold a real deed to their property here.

You've been listening to too many Sovereign Citizen seminars. A deed is used to transfer a title, and a title is the strongest form of "ownership" for things you can't hold in your hand.

Re:Good that he reported it (0, Troll)

some old guy (674482) | about 2 years ago | (#41690939)

Quite right. The ability of almost any government agency to attach private property, often without fair-value compensation, is one of the better reasons to rent one's domicile rather than "buy". The unscrupulous use of "eminent domain" by local government to attach property for commercial re-use by anyone from utility companies to land developers is an on-going story.

Even if one does acquire a deed, it often excludes certain so-called "rights" to everything from water to mineral deposits.

Private property is a worse than a myth, it's a sham. Rather than argue and litigate about it, it's simpler to just accept the fact and not get involved in real estate at all.

Property "owners" are merely renting their parcels from the government, with taxes being the rent.

Re:Good that he reported it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41690975)

No, the taxes cover the government services that one requires to make use of their property. Things like roads and storm sewers. Police and fire protection. Not to mention the costs associated with ensuring that nobody steals your land from you.

Contrary to popular belief all that isn't free, somebody has to pay for it, and attaching it to the land as a property tax is the fairest way I can think of to handle it.

Re:Good that he reported it (1)

ciderbrew (1860166) | about 2 years ago | (#41691015)

Would you be paying them to protect their own land, whilst you make use of it in that case? Its fair until they make it unfair and take it away.

Re:Good that he reported it (1)

some old guy (674482) | about 2 years ago | (#41691021)

No, the taxes cover the government services that one requires to make use of their property. Things like roads and storm sewers. Police and fire protection. Not to mention the costs associated with ensuring that nobody steals your land from you.

Contrary to popular belief all that isn't free, somebody has to pay for it, and attaching it to the land as a property tax is the fairest way I can think of to handle it.

Malarkey. Even unimproved remote rural property that benefits from none of these so-called services is taxed.

Roads, sewers, and other public works are generally financed via other taxes, levies and districts, often by user fees fees, which are much fairer. Property taxes are usually paid into "general fund" or public schools accounts, where they are squandered as government sees fit.

The point here is that you either pay or lose the land. Rent by any other name.

Re:Good that he reported it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41691185)

And if you rent a house, you might reasonably expect the landlord to fix potholes in the driveway as part of what your rent is paying for. The fact that services are provided doesn't contradict the original comment.

Re:Good that he reported it (3, Insightful)

Skater (41976) | about 2 years ago | (#41691215)

Then I pay a lot less in rent than I would actually renting, so I'm still coming out ahead. And I have an asset I can sell. And if the gov't decides they want to rezone my neighborhood, they have to pay me fair market value for it. But go ahead and keep claiming owning land is just like paying rent. It's not, but you can claim that.

Re:Good that he reported it (2)

RabidReindeer (2625839) | about 2 years ago | (#41691385)

I've been making the case that you can't really "own" anything that can be confiscated for taxes either, but let's not run off a clockwork-driven ideological recording.

If you "own" the property, you can apply the taxes on it against other tax liabilities. You can often apply depreciation. Stuff you can't do when someone else "owns" it.

Eminent domain is another matter, but my observations have been that it's the government that's more often taken to the cleaners when they buy up property, not the owners. The real stink of Eminent Domain is more often that "My Grandad and I built this house" or "We're a community. We've all lived here for 30 years". Those thing are intangible and have no absolute monetary value, even when they're more important to the inhabitants than simple cash compensation. And actually, some or even all of the inhabitants may be renters, not "owners", especially in old historical impoverished districts.

Re:Good that he reported it (1)

jabuzz (182671) | about 2 years ago | (#41691113)

Not much different in the U.K., well at least England and Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland might be different.

People who own land own the "freehold" which means they hold it free of rent to the Crown, which actually owns all the land. Thus the Crown can "confiscate" the land should it choose to do so, because it is there's in the first place. Though these days you do get compensated when they do so. One of the points of the Magna Carta was to stop the Crown arbitrarily seizing land from the Baron's.

Re:Good that he reported it (1)

dkleinsc (563838) | about 2 years ago | (#41691087)

So the real question is what the equivalent rules are for Roman treasure finds here in the United States!

(No, I'm not being serious)

Illegal in Ireland (4, Informative)

Intrepid imaginaut (1970940) | about 2 years ago | (#41690587)

Using metal detectors without prior permission and a degree in archaeology is illegal here in Ireland, punishable by stiff fines and prison, as is wandering around the countryside with archaeological tools. Well technically the latter isn't illegal as such, but you'd better have a good reason for carrying them. Its understandable really given the quality and rarity of some of the treasures that have already been turned up I suppose, the government doesn't want looters making off with priceless artifacts to adorn their mantelpiece.

Re:Illegal in Ireland (4, Insightful)

Kokuyo (549451) | about 2 years ago | (#41690629)

So basically, not finding items of historical value is better than finding them and destroying a bit of historically valuable surroundings?

Isn't the worth of historically relevant findings in the knowledge they provide rather than their existence? If that was the case, any dude coming up with this without totally destroying everything around the coins provides a net gain to our understanding of history. I can't help but think that would be better than never finding anything at all (which is very probable).

Also, NOW they know where to go look for another archaeological site, right?

Re:Illegal in Ireland (3, Insightful)

petsounds (593538) | about 2 years ago | (#41690697)

So basically, not finding items of historical value is better than finding them and destroying a bit of historically valuable surroundings?

Yes. They will still be there for a proper archaeologist to discover at some future time. Given how many artifacts were damaged or ruined by bungling explorers in the 1800's and early 1900's, I'd say it is prudent to leave the task to experts.

Re:Illegal in Ireland (5, Insightful)

realxmp (518717) | about 2 years ago | (#41690859)

So basically, not finding items of historical value is better than finding them and destroying a bit of historically valuable surroundings?

Yes. They will still be there for a proper archaeologist to discover at some future time. Given how many artifacts were damaged or ruined by bungling explorers in the 1800's and early 1900's, I'd say it is prudent to leave the task to experts.

Amusingly many of those bungling explorers were the "experts" of the time. Also in order for archeologists to know there's anything worth digging up, someone has to make a chance discovery. Proper archeology takes a lot of time and resources, and thus sites are only excavated if there's reason to suspect there's something to look for in the first place.

Re:Illegal in Ireland (0)

HungryHobo (1314109) | about 2 years ago | (#41690991)

yes and doctors of the past didn't wash their hands between autopsies and surgery.

yet a modern doctor knows better and could be jailed for criminal negligence for doing the same now.

same deal.

The explorers of the past were mostly just treasure hunters looking for gold rather than information about the past.

indeed many sites which are known about but which aren't in peril are intentionally left as they are because they know very well that in 50 years we'll probably be able to pull info from a site that we wouldn't now.

Re:Illegal in Ireland (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41691313)

yet a modern doctor knows better and could be jailed for criminal negligence for doing the same now.

Or more likely here in the UK first they'll get 12 of their colleagues to swear that it never happened, after all the British hippocratic oath is "first do no harm to your peers."

Re:Illegal in Ireland (5, Insightful)

the_other_chewey (1119125) | about 2 years ago | (#41690717)

So basically, not finding items of historical value is better than finding them and destroying a bit of historically valuable surroundings?

Yes, in most cases.

Isn't the worth of historically relevant findings in the knowledge they provide rather than their existence?

No, because in archaeology, the context of a find is everything. Of course, valuable and beautiful objects make for
great exhibitions, but context is really the main part of what is interesting. You'll see an archaologist become much
more excited over an unusual and unexpected piece of wood than over "another roman gold coin. meh."

We have tens of thousands of roman gold coins already, and I doubt any of the coins this guy found are of
an unkown kind.

However, an amateur will not know to care for some fibres around the gold coins that may have been a
uniquely crafted bag, thereby proving trade contacts with $faraway_place. Of will discard a couple of shovels
full of dirt with bone fragments or plant seeds in them which would make this a unique and invaluable find.

If you find something, don't touch it and report it, but don't dig around yourself - you'll do way more
harm than good, and may even commit a crime.

Re:Illegal in Ireland (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41690819)

no wonder all your kids turn to drinking. what a shite rule. fuck history. "Oh my GOD they traded with those other guys and this proves it!" How is that getting us closer to a space colony. Where is the adventure in life. I ought to come over there and dig the fuck out of your little island.

Re:Illegal in Ireland (1)

Lumpy (12016) | about 2 years ago | (#41690845)

" I ought to come over there and dig the fuck out of your little island."

The Brits beat you to that.

Re:Illegal in Ireland (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41690909)

hope you enjoy digging your way the fuck out of prison then, ya racist prick.

Re:Illegal in Ireland (2)

usuallylost (2468686) | about 2 years ago | (#41691347)

What I wonder about with all of these restrictions how many finds are simply ignored or destroyed because people don't want to lose the use of their land? Farmer X plows up a roman era treasure and is faced with the prospect of having his whole farm disrupted for who knows how long, perhaps permanently. You have to think that perhaps he isn't so thrilled with this. Makes you wonder just how many farmer X's go get a sledge hammer smash whatever it is up and put it out in with the trash. I guess it would depend upon the compensation rates for locating things and cooperating with archeological preservation vs. the penalties for destruction. Though my guess is as long as you didn't try to sell it you could throw out king tuts treasure in your trash without people noticing. Especially if you say burned it all before you did it.

Re:Illegal in Ireland (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41690869)

Here in China they know where the Tomb of Qin Shi Huang is located, but they won't be actually excavating the site until such a time as they can figure out how to do so without destroying everything in there. Assuming that it's properly preserved.

It's the responsible thing to do. Once something is damaged or destroyed, that's it. You can sometimes repair it, but it's never the same as if it weren't damaged or destroyed in the first place.

As much as I'd love to see the tomb opened, it's more important that it not be destroyed before the technology is there to open it safely. There's been way too many archeological sites damaged over the years by people that didn't know or didn't care about how to do it correctly.

Re:Illegal in Ireland (1)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about 2 years ago | (#41690665)

Using metal detectors without ... a degree in archaeology is illegal here in Ireland

Seriously? I can sort of understand the rest of it, but there are other uses for metal detectors besides digging up treasure. Or did you just mean to imply "Using metal detectors to find loot"?

Re:Illegal in Ireland (2)

Intrepid imaginaut (1970940) | about 2 years ago | (#41690715)

I think you can go beachcombing on some beaches, but there's an exclusion zone around areas of interest, which in Ireland where you trip over someone's cairn every half mile basically means the whole island.

As I understand it you require an individual Detection Device License to be issued for each and every time you plan to go metal detecting with the intention of finding any kind of historical object - and the law assumes that that is what you are doing whenever you are using a metal detector. Archaeologists do use metal detectors in field work but they also have to apply for and be granted a licence each time - in addition to the licence they require for each an every dig they do. A consent to use a detection device does not include permission to dig for archaeological objects. If digging or the recovery of archaeological objects is envisaged, a separate excavation licence must be applied for.

Re:Illegal in Ireland (2)

HungryHobo (1314109) | about 2 years ago | (#41690719)

He wasn't quite accurate.

It is illegal to dig for archeological objects and to use metal detectors for such a purpose without a special licence.

You can use a metal detector to find bottle caps in your lawn or to locate pipes.

but too many amature treasure hunters have fucked up sites.

Re:Illegal in Ireland (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41690699)

That's so insane I'm inclined to think your understanding is incorrect.

I just kicked around on the web a little, and among forums for metal detecting clubs and such in Ireland, and I haven't seen anything like what you're saying. Just the usual stuff about asking permission and the like. Could you clarify?

Re:Illegal in Ireland (4, Informative)

Intrepid imaginaut (1970940) | about 2 years ago | (#41690731)

PDF warning:

http://www.archaeology.ie/media/archeologyie/PDFS/Irish%20Field%20Monuments.pdf [archaeology.ie]

Page 23 there, "The National Monuments Acts, makes it
unlawful to excavate for archaeological
purposes without a licence from the
Department of the Environment, Heritage &
Local Government. Their consent is also
required to use a metal detector for the
purpose of searching for archaeological
objects. Such consents are normally issued
to qualified and experience archaeologists"

Re:Illegal in Ireland (1)

nospam007 (722110) | about 2 years ago | (#41691145)

" Their consent is also
required to use a metal detector for the
purpose of searching for archaeological
objects."

That's why people never 'search' for archaeological objects, they just 'find' them while searching for rare bottlecaps.

Re:Illegal in Ireland (1)

Intrepid imaginaut (1970940) | about 2 years ago | (#41691257)

That's why the police and judiciary tend to just arrest and prosecute people wandering around with a metal detector and a shovel. Its a bit like having a boxcutter in your pocket in a nightclub, you may think you can come up with a good excuse for it but you can't where it matters. You can jig around with not carrying a shovel or having a photo of a missing watch or something, but its not fooling anyone, least of all a judge.

The land of the free (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41691323)

Oh my, you're a free man, as long as the government decides if it okay.

Yikes.

Re:The land of the free (1)

Intrepid imaginaut (1970940) | about 2 years ago | (#41691393)

You mean a government that actively protects the national heritage, associated treasures and history from nimrods foreign and domestic? Thats one use I'm quite happy to see my taxes being put towards.

Re:Illegal in Ireland (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41690863)

Insert obligatory joke about there being any money in Ireland to find or finding alcohol with a metal detector.

I'm glad I'm in America! (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41690919)

We don't have such silly laws! So, it will be a big help when I'm using a metal detector to find those ancient Roman and Gaylick treasures - especially in the South East US! And I'll have the means too. See, I took ALL engineering and math classes in college - none of that nonsense liberal arts stuff like history and art! Nope!

Re:Illegal in Ireland (1)

Bayoudegradeable (1003768) | about 2 years ago | (#41690959)

the government doesn't want looters making off with priceless artifacts.

And that's the REAL reason Guinness was invented; to prevent unauthorized archaeological activity.Otherwise, the Irish would have categorized the the entire subterranean contents of the Emerald Isle by now...

British local press at their best (not) (1, Interesting)

Tim Ward (514198) | about 2 years ago | (#41690589)

"Are you the man who found the coins? Do you know who he is? Contact reporter David O’Neill on 01442 898451."

Duh! - one might have expected the journo to get the name, or even an interview!

Re:British local press at their best (not) (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41691007)

What was Mr. O'Neill supposed to do? I mean, it's not like he can hack the guys metal detector and listen to his voice mail.

Re:British local press at their best (not) (1)

Tim Ward (514198) | about 2 years ago | (#41691107)

His job. It's a reporter's job to find out stuff. Some of them are better at their job than others.

not the largest find (4, Interesting)

rapiddescent (572442) | about 2 years ago | (#41690605)

TFA is way out. The was a more valuable Roman find of Roman Torcs [wikipedia.org] 3 miles to the west of Stirling in Scotland which netted around £4m which he had a share of £500k [thesun.co.uk]

What's interesting is that the Romans didn't last long in Scotland but there are still visible signs of our italian pals from 2000 years ago, such as the Fendoch fort in the Sma Glen [scran.ac.uk] north of Crieff and the fort at Braco some 5 miles south of Crieff.

We found some tunic broaches with a metal detector in my parents field a few miles away. Still looking for the pot of Roman gold. There are legends that Fendoch had a large stash of gold but there just legends and no one has ever found them plus metal detecting is illegal on recognised Roman forts which is a bit of a set back!

Re:not the largest find (2)

MarkKB (845289) | about 2 years ago | (#41690659)

"One of the" != "the".

Re:not the largest find (1)

jabuzz (182671) | about 2 years ago | (#41691081)

Since when where Torc's coins?

In the year 4012... (5, Funny)

Razgorov Prikazka (1699498) | about 2 years ago | (#41690607)

Man unearths 2000 year old bit-coin with metal-detector

An anonymous reader writes
"A novice metal detector has found one of the largest bit coin servers ever unearthed in the UK. From the article: 'National newspapers reported on Wednesday that the man, from Berkhamsted, had been sold a beginner’s metal detector from the town’s High Street-based Hidden History for £135. He is reported to have gone back with 40 of the bit coins, dating to the last days of 'Cameron' rule in Britain, and asked: “What do I do with this?”'"

Read all comments.

Re:In the year 4012... (1)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | about 2 years ago | (#41691415)

Not only is that bad Data Protection policy (Not wiping a drive before disposal? The lunatic!) but I bet it wasn't disposed of in compliance with the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive (WEEE Directive).

Some people just want to watch the world burn.

The risks of fame (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41690619)

It was an interesting way to launder stollen gold coins, too bad he is an internet sensation now

Expedted title (3, Funny)

psholty2 (2696677) | about 2 years ago | (#41690657)

Man Finds Roman Gold Coin Hoard Worth £100,000 With Metal Detector, Plans To Exchange Them For BitCoins - Slashdot

Not a good idea (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41690667)

As an archaeologist, promoting such stories in the media is generally a bad idea. It encourages people to go and loot archaeological sites, and when they ask themselves 'What do I do with this', the answer is often 'sell it on ebay'. The archaeological context is lost, and potential dating evidence for a site is not recorded.

That said, responsible metal detecting where finds are reported to the local Finds Liason Officer (in the UK) are a good thing, as they can reveal new sites. I have done a geophysics survey on a site found in this way.

“What do I do with this?”'" (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41690679)

Give half of it to the parasitical German inbreds who rule us, as the law obliges you to, of course.

Re:“What do I do with this?”'" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41690857)

You are just up-set that you are not a part of ze Superior Race!. Quick scurry away to ze fatherland!

And yes I can say that, I'm german... well 88.7% german. Dad was 100% mom was mostly around 85%
Time for sauerbraten!

Sure he "found" them (1, Interesting)

Quick Reply (688867) | about 2 years ago | (#41690709)

It sounds like he came across a fortune through illegal means, bought a beginner metal detector someplace (really who spends 135 quid on a beginner item, he must have been certain he would find something worth at least that value) and then played dumb when he says that he "found" it.

He reports it in, nobody will claim, and he will get to keep it legally. Easy way to "legalise" something you shouldn't have. Works for bags of money some people "dig up" in their backyard too (which is really their drug money they need to bring off the black market to make a legitimate purchase). Just hope that nobody else can make a plausible enough claim for it.

Re:Sure he "found" them (1)

Xest (935314) | about 2 years ago | (#41691037)

"He reports it in, nobody will claim, and he will get to keep it legally."

AFAIK that's not how it works in the UK, I believe it defaults to museum or council ownership or something unless they explicitly state they don't want it.

Re:Sure he "found" them (1)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about 2 years ago | (#41691465)

And whoever had it stolen won't wonder and look into it.

That's a pretty amateurish thief. And anyone who liberated it from a national museum would sell to a private collector.

Not stolen by the banks (1)

zaax (637433) | about 2 years ago | (#41690711)

They had a much better system of banking in Roman times - They didn't have banks!
Which bank could you give your money to and still the bank will still have it in 2,000 years. Put our money in the a whole in the ground it will still be there in a couple of millenniumâ(TM)s later.

Re:Not stolen by the banks (3, Interesting)

nomad-9 (1423689) | about 2 years ago | (#41691025)

Actually, Romans had a "light" version of it, mostly in the form of money lending activities. Apart from loans, they were deposits, checks and currency exchange.

The early bankers, were already looked upon with contempt...We can now see why, by looking at what can happen when they are given too much power....

Re:Not stolen by the banks (1)

mooingyak (720677) | about 2 years ago | (#41691239)

They had a much better system of banking in Roman times - They didn't have banks!

They didn't have politicians either.

Let me get my Roman gold coin hoard expert... (1)

louzer (1006689) | about 2 years ago | (#41690713)

The best I can do is 10 dollars.

I smell a rat (3, Interesting)

GoodnaGuy (1861652) | about 2 years ago | (#41690753)

am I the only one smells a rat here? Gold roman coins are worth a lot more than gold alone, therefore a tidy profit is to be made by printing you are own fake roman coins and then claiming to have dug them up.

Re:I smell a rat (2)

Lumpy (12016) | about 2 years ago | (#41690865)

Mostly because roman gold coins were almost as thin as paper. There is no real weight in Gold in a Roman coin.

Re:I smell a rat (4, Informative)

Simon Brooke (45012) | about 2 years ago | (#41690917)

Mostly because roman gold coins were almost as thin as paper. There is no real weight in Gold in a Roman coin.

Yes, only 4.5 grams in a solidus, or only about £150 worth of gold in each... paper thin, indeed. For some value of paper thin.

Re:I smell a rat (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41690891)

And your basis for this is precisely what? 40 coins aren't just going to go missing without being noticed and anybody interested in buying the coins is going to hire somebody to authenticate them. It's surprisingly hard to fake the kind of wear and tear that you get from use and having something buried in the ground for centuries.

As unlikely as it is, I'm sure there are plenty of other sites where there are hidden troves of coins that were lost over the centuries.

Re:I smell a rat (1)

sFurbo (1361249) | about 2 years ago | (#41691091)

It is quite hard to plausibly fake archaeological gold artifacts. We are much better at making gold today, so there is less silver in modern gold, which is pretty easy detect.

Next Hoard (2)

hcs_$reboot (1536101) | about 2 years ago | (#41690781)

Run buy a bunch of those metal detector makers shares, quick!

Romans (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41690833)

I didn't even know the Romans had metal detectors!

It makes sense that if a roman has a metal detector, he'd probably also have a lot of money, so it's not unusual that the two would be found together.

Leave it in the ground... (4, Informative)

Simon Brooke (45012) | about 2 years ago | (#41690905)

The sad thing is that by digging it up he's destroyed the archaeological context which might have shown why it was buried, when, and, to some extent, who by. The end of the Roman period in Britain is a very interesting period of history, but one about which we have far too little information. Yes, it's great that these things get found, but when you've found something, for heaven's sake leave it in the ground and alert the county archaeologists (or, technically, the coroner who will in turn alert the archaeologists, but...). You'll still get the 'treasure trove' value as the finder, and the context will get recorded.

Sounds suspicious - or am I too cynical? (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41690915)

The Roman empire was a big place. A lot of Eastern European museums must be short of cash. If some coins leaked out of a museum, and found their way to London, what would the new owner do? Maybe go out and buy a metal detector and say "look what I found"

Just a possibility. But I suppose the "lucky first timer" scenario could be true as well.

bombs (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41691039)

Most finds you hear about here, Belgium, are leftover bombs from two world wars.
Some entity called DOVO comes in, evacuates the area and blows up your shiny new find.

There, no hassle about who owns what and should earn which finders fees.

Doesn't the Queen own everything? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41691049)

You can't just dig it up out of the ground and cash it out -- all these treasures rightfully belong to the Queen. Now get your dirty pauper hands off her gold!

Re:Doesn't the Queen own everything? (1)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about 2 years ago | (#41691419)

Or "The People", for that matter. Using the exact same argument you did, but for some reason because it's a mass of people doing the arrogation, some feel it seems OK.

What odd phrasing (1)

ThatsNotPudding (1045640) | about 2 years ago | (#41691055)

...had been sold a beginners metal detector from the towns High Street-based Hidden History for £135.

That reads like he had no choice in the transaction. I half-expected the sentence to end with 'at gunpoint'.

Re:What odd phrasing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41691263)

It's subtle, but makes him sound like a scrounger rather than taking an affirmative action. Sets the tone for the rest of the article, presumably to generate the opinion that he doesn't deserve any money from his find.

40 Roman Coins? (1)

ryzvonusef (1151717) | about 2 years ago | (#41691149)

Judas, that you?

Re:40 Roman Coins? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41691489)

No, Judas got silver coins.

Not £100,000 (4, Informative)

Danious (202113) | about 2 years ago | (#41691201)

I seriously doubt it's worth £100,000, these stories always go over the top on the value quoting the price for mint coins in perfect condition in the existing market trading volumes. There was a recent very large hoard valued in the press at tens of millions of pounds, but the coins were so degraded they were worth only a fraction of their individual mint value, and there were so many coins in the hoard it would have depressed the market value if they had been sold.

The real worry here is the guy apparently didn't know what to do once he had found the coins, there are legal requirements to be met, and archaeological best practice to be followed. No-one should be sold a detector without first having to take a one-hour training course in their legal and moral obligations. That said, I work with responsible detectorists all the time, many are very good, but there are also many like this guy who do terrible damage.

In the US he might have been arrested (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41691387)

In the United States, it is a federal crime to even possess (let alone use) a metal detector on Federal Park property. This includes all national parks, historic sites, and some other locations owned by the government.

Several states also ban the possession and use of metal detectors on State-owned property.

Had he found this kind of stash in the US, it most certainly would have been confiscated by government in the name of national treasure or other such nonsense.

Don't forget the government donation tax. (1)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about 2 years ago | (#41691403)

I'm surprised the UK government hasn't stolen it from him, er, uhh, Reclaimed a National Treasuer That Is The Birthright Of Every British British Citizen See What I "Acquired' For You Using Not Money But A Meme As Payment Vote For Me!

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