Treasure-hunting in Scotland

This article, prompted by recent discoveries both in England and Scotland, is a synopsis of the current legislation is in Scotland and a personal view of some of the challenges. Suggesting what may help to improve the current situation to try to deal with the rogue detectorists and reward those who are doing a sterling job reporting and recording their finds.

I use the term treasure hunting as I believe it is the concept of treasure rather than the historical significance of the Prehistoric gold from Stirling or the Anglo Saxon artefacts recovered in Staffordshire which motivates hobby metal detectorists. This is reinforced by the fact that a mainstream metal detecting magazines is called Treasure Hunting.

The Treasure Act (1996) does not apply in Scotland, under Scottish Treasure Trove law the Crown can claim, on behalf of the nation, any object or coin found in Scotland under the laws of bona vacantia.  These laws apply to all newly discovered finds and to all old finds which have not been reported, whether they have been found by metal detecting, by chance, by field-walking or by archaeological excavation. Finders have no ownership rights to any find they make in Scotland and all finds, with the exception of Victorian and 20th century coins, must be reported to the Treasure Trove Unit at the National Museums of Scotland for assessment.

Ed Archer,  RESCUE Scottish Correspondent

The full article is available in Rescue News 109.