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Over 82,000 archaeological finds made by members of public in UK

Thousands of archaeological finds, including a huge Bronze Age gold "torc" and a hoard of 17th century silver coin clippings, were made by members of the public last year, a report reveals.

Over 82,000 archaeological finds made by members of public in UK
The torc is much larger than usual examples and is regarded as the best found in England in more than a century 
[Credit: Dominic Lipinski/PA]
The 82,272 discoveries were made mostly by people who were metal-detecting, according to the Portable Antiquities Scheme annual report launched at the British Museum.

More than a thousand discoveries of "treasure" - such as gold or silver ornaments or coin collections and prehistoric metalwork - were made in England, Wales and Northern Ireland last year, the report reveals.

The 1,008 finds included a Roman grave in Hertfordshire and a hoard of Viking Age objects and Anglo-Saxon coins in a field near Watlington, Oxfordshire.

Archaeological items, the majority of which were found on cultivated land where items can be at risk of damage from ploughing and corrosion, ranged from thousands of stone flints to a rare Bronze Age shield in Suffolk.

A Bronze Age gold torc found in Cambridgeshire, dating from 1100 to 1300 BC, is one of the largest and most spectacular to be found, experts said.

Over 82,000 archaeological finds made by members of public in UK
Part of a hoard of 463 silver coin clippings dating from around the 1640s, which were found in Gloucestershire 
[Credit: Dominic Lipinski/PA]
Torcs were normally worn around the neck, but this one, weighing 732g, is too large to fit a person's waist and may have been designed to be worn over thick winter clothing, as a sash, or by a prized animal in the course of a sacrifice.

An Anglo-Saxon hanging bowl mount was discovered in West Sussex and dates from 600 to 725 AD. It is decorated with swirling motifs set against bright red enamel and glass inlay and the hook at the top is moulded into an animal's head.

A large rare hoard of 463 silver coin clippings and fragments from Gloucestershire are thought to have been buried around the time of the "great recoinage" in 1696, when all pre-1662 hand-struck coinage was recalled and turned into machine-struck coins.

The move produced a bout of "clipping" - removing silver from the edge - of the old money, a criminal activity for which perpetrators faced the death penalty.

The clippings found in Gloucestershire show the complete removal of the inscription from the coins, which include half-crowns, shillings and sixpences dating from 1554 to 1662.

Over 82,000 archaeological finds made by members of public in UK
A looped mount for an Anglo-Saxon hanging bowl, found in a field in West Sussex 
[Credit: Dominic Lipinski/PA]
Finds reported through the Portable Antiquities Scheme revealed new archaeological sites including an English Civil War siege in Shropshire and a Roman villa in Wiltshire.

Tracey Crouch, Minister for Heritage, said: "The Portable Antiquities Scheme enables us to learn more about our nation's history and preserve and safeguard treasure for generations to come.

"New discoveries keep getting made every year through the scheme that then find their way into our wonderful museums across the country."

More than 1.2 million finds have been recorded by the Portable Antiquities Scheme, managed by the British Museum with local and national partners, since 1997.

Source: BTCom [November 28, 2016]

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