Metal detecting has been going a long time. Is there anything left to find?
A staggering amount of treasure has been found by metal detectorists but it looks like this is just the tip of the iceberg. Last year, more metal detector finds were recorded than ever, 45% up on the year before. About 58,000 valuable finds were actually reported giving a lot of satisfaction to those hobbyists and adding significantly to archaeological knowledge. Minister for Culture, David Lammy, reported to the Commons recently that ďmetal detectorists are the unsung heroes of the UKís heritageĒ.
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What happens if I make a valuable find?
Metal detectorists are obliged to report any item which appears to have historical significance. In practice most items are handed back to the finder but if the museum wishes to retain the object, the finder should receive a reward equivalent to the open market value. Because of the unique nature of many metal detector finds there have been some enormous payouts. A rare gold ĎLeopardí coin found last year by one fortunate detectorist sold at Sothebyís recently for a record £450,000.
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Where can I go detecting?
On private land you should always ask permission first. Thatís for your benefit as much as anything else. You need to agree with the landowner how valuable finds will be divided. Cliff Bradshaw, finder of a Bronze Age gold cup, near to Sandwich in Kent shared a reward of £270,000 50/50 with the farmer on whose land he was detecting. Public land is usually OK provided you donít cause damage and beaches are great for mainly modern objects like coins and jewellery. There are some excellent metal detector clubs around the country which are a great way to get out and about with other enthusiasts and pick up some tips. Good site research and an eye for the lie of the land provide clues to the most likely treasure locations. Then you just need a professional standard metal detector to zero in on the treasure. My Bill Wyman Signature Detector will do just fine.
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Metal detectors are quite expensive, arenít they?
You can pay £1000 and more for a metal detector, but take my advice, theyíre not worth it. An expensive metal detector does not increase your chances of treasure hunting success. Some of the best finds have been made with modestly priced metal detectors. It is much more important that the metal detector is easy to use because that boosts your confidence enormously. The Bill Wyman Signature detector has got just the right performance characteristics based on Billís real detecting experience. The price is right. You just canít go wrong.
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