Scotland

Scots finds by treasure hunters revealed

  • 16 February 2011
  • From the section Scotland
Artefacts (clockwise left to right): Neolithic stone axe head; Bronze Age penannular gold ring; post-Medieval seal matrix; Pictish carved stone from Strath of Kildonan
There were nearly 330 claimed or unclaimed treasure trove cases in 2009/10

A 6,000-year-old axe head and a Bronze Age gold ring were among hundreds of rare artefacts unearthed by treasure hunters last year.

They were found by archaeologists or enthusiasts and handed to the Crown Office as part of Scotland's annual Treasure Trove.

The Crown Office reported nearly 330 claimed or unclaimed treasure trove cases in 2009/10.

Many of them have now been allocated to museums across the country.

One of the most significant finds was a Neolithic polished, greenstone axe head discovered in Perth, which is thought to date back to between 4,000 and 2,200 BC.

Historians say axe heads were often traded or exchanged as gifts.

'Magical properties'

In later periods they were used as amulets as they were believed to have magical properties.

A sword pommel - a counterweight ball at the top of the weapon's handle - was found in Abington, South Lanarkshire. Made from hollow cast copper alloy, it dates back to the 9th or 10th Century.

A medieval ring was unearthed on the Isle of Mull, where similar jewellery has previously been located, and an engraved pendant from the same era was found in Dunstaffnage, Argyll and Bute.

A Bronze Age penannular gold ring was also found at Burghead, Moray. Although commonly referred to as "ring money", these rings were more likely to have been a form of personal adornment.

A medieval copper alloy seal matrix was unearthed in Coupar Angus, Perth and Kinross, while a Viking lead weight fitted with a reused gilded mount was found in Gallaberry, Dumfries and Galloway.

Another significant find was a Pictish carved stone at Strath of Kildonan in Sutherland.

Although missing the top right hand side, this stone retains the hindquarters of a stag above the Pictish "crescent and v-rod" symbol.

It is only one of two Pictish symbol stones in Sutherland situated inland rather than on the coast.

Crown rights

Under Scottish law, the Crown has the right to all lost and abandoned property which is not otherwise owned.

Finders have no ownership rights and must report any objects to the treasure trove unit.

The Queen's and Lord Treasurer's Remembrancer (QLTR) is responsible for claiming objects, placing them with museums and paying rewards to finders.

Catherine Dyer, who was appointed QLTR last year, said the report highlighted "the hundreds of members of the public who report their finds and in doing so assist in preserving the history of our great nation for all of us to enjoy in museum collections."

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