Aliens may have sent a ‘strong message’ from deep in space, scientists claim | Science | News | The Independent


A new signal has been found deep in space that could come from alien life. The community of astronomers and scientists who scan the skies with telescopes in an attempt to find extraterrestrial life is abuzz with excitement over a “strong signal” detected deep in space that could come from an alien civilisation. Scientists are cautioning people not to get quite too excited – at least not yet. The evidence remains preliminary and more work will need to be done to establish if it is not just a mistake, let alone whether it’s actually an extraterrestrial communication.

 

The message appears to have come from a nearby star, HD164595, in the constellation Hercules. That star is 95 light years away – relatively close at the scale of the universe – and almost exactly the same size as Earth.

What’s more, that same star has at least one planet, HD164595b, which is roughly the size of Neptune and has a 40-day year. It’s this planet that has people excited, since it appears that it could have the right conditions for supporting life.

The signal came to public attention after it had been noted by science fiction author Paul Gilster, who maintains a blog that looks at deep space exploration and alien life. Until then it had gone unremarked – the signal was actually detected in May last year, and was only brought to light after a presentation by the scientists who found it.

Claudio Maccone of Turin University in Italy attended a talk by the two scientists, who work at Russia’s Ratan-600 telescope. He passed that data on to Mr Gilster, who then wrote up his blog describing what had been found.

Possible second Earth discovered

“No one is claiming that this is the work of an extraterrestrial civilisation, but it is certainly worth further study,” wrote Mr Gilster on his site Centauri Dreams.

He wrote that the strength of the signal might suggest that it came from a Kardashev Type II civilisation. The Kardeshev scale indicates how advanced an alien civilisation might be: a Type I civilisation can use and store energy from a nearby star as we can, whereas a Type II civilisation can harness the energy of the entire star and would be far more advanced than mankind.

“Working out the strength of the signal, the researchers say that if it came from an isotropic beacon, it would be of a power possible only for a Kardashev Type II civilisation. If it were a narrow beam signal focused on our solar system, it would be of a power available to a Kardashev Type I civilisation,” Mr Gilster said.

He did acknowledge that the signal might have been noise rather than an actual signal.

‘Wow!’ Again? SETI Mystery Signal Could Long Puzzle Astronomers

‘Wow!’ Again? SETI Mystery Signal Could Long Puzzle Astronomers

'Wow!' Again? SETI Mystery Signal Could Long Puzzle Astronomers

The Allen Telescope Array at the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) Institute has been listening for signals that may indicate that sophisticated alien civilizations are trying to communicate.

Credit: SETI Institute

recently detected SETI signal could end up being this generation’s version of the famous “Wow!” signal of 1977: an intriguing mystery that keeps astronomers guessing for decades.

In May 2015, a team of researchers using a Russian radio telescope spotted a strong radio signal coming from the vicinity of the sunlike star HD 164595, which lies 94 light-years away from Earth.

The signal is consistent with something an alien civilization might send out, astronomers have said. But that’s just one scenario, and not the most likely one, researchers cautioned; the signal may also have resulted from a natural celestial event or terrestrial interference of some sort. [Stephen Colbert’s WOW! Alien Signal Response (Video)]

Without a follow-up detection or confirmation, humanity may never know the signal’s true origin, said Seth Shostak, a senior astronomer at the SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) Institute in Mountain View, California. (Shostak was not part of the detection team.)

“If they can’t find it again, and if we [at SETI] can’t find it, all we can say is, ‘Gosh, I wonder what it was,'” Shostak told Space.com.

That’s pretty much all that astronomers can say about the Wow! signal, a 72-second-long event picked up by the Big Ear radio observatory at The Ohio State University in August 1977.

The 1977 signal received its name after a volunteer astronomer named Jerry Ehman wrote “Wow!” on a computer printout of the signal’s transmission record. Ehman made the comment after finding the radio signal was 30 times stronger than background emissions.

Astronomers never discovered any evidence linking the Wow! signal to an alien civilization, and, despite recent efforts from the SETI Institute, a repeat detection of that signal has not been made. Researchers did conclude the signal was coming from the direction of the constellation Sagittarius.

When volunteer astronomer Jerry Ehman found that a signal detected in 1977 was 30 times more powerful than the average radiation from deep space, he wrote "Wow!" on the computer printout, as photographed here.
When volunteer astronomer Jerry Ehman found that a signal detected in 1977 was 30 times more powerful than the average radiation from deep space, he wrote “Wow!” on the computer printout, as photographed here.

Credit: The Ohio State University Radio Observatory and the North American AstroPhysical Observatory (NAAPO)

 

“There are going to be signals that you see once and don’t see again,” Shostak added. “It’s like people who see ghosts. If you see it once, but when you go back, with a camera and all that, it’s not there, what do you conclude from that?”

The May 2015 and Wow! signals are analogous in another way, Shostak said: Both seemed to appear and then disappear quite quickly. This doesn’t seem consistent with a signal from an orbiting satellite, which would be in range of the radio telescope for longer stretches, he said.

“The thought is: Well, that wouldn’t be a satellite. A satellite would be on, and maybe it’d be on for a minute or something like that. It wouldn’t just go up and down right away,” Shostak said.

Astronomers know that HD 164595 houses a roughly Neptune-mass world, but this close-orbiting planet is likely far too hot to host life as it exists on Earth. But it’s possible that other planets lie undiscovered in the system, Shostak said.

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The team of astronomers who spotted the May 2015 signal apparently studied the HD 164595  system 39 different times but made just the one detection, Shostak said. The detection team has not yet published a study of its findings. Instead, the researchers plan to discuss the signal next month at the 67th International Astronautical Congress (IAC) in Guadalajara, Mexico.

The detection of the May 2015 signal was made public on Aug. 27 by Centauri Dreams’ Paul Gilster, who wrote that one of the astronomers on the detection team forwarded him the IAC presentation.

In hopes of learning more about this possible extraterrestrial signal, astronomers from the SETI Institute focused the Allen Telescope Array in California at HD 164595 Sunday night (Aug. 28) and Monday night (Aug. 29), Shostak said.

Follow Samantha Mathewson @Sam_Ashley13. Follow us @Spacedotcom, Facebook and Google+. Original article on Space.com.

“The possibility of noise of one form or another cannot be ruled out, and researchers in Paris led by Jean Schneider are considering the possible microlensing of a background source by HD164595. But the signal is provocative enough that the RATAN-600 researchers are calling for permanent monitoring of this target.”

The Russian scientists who first found the signal wrote in their presentation that the probability of it being noise was low. As such, it should be permanently monitored by Seti scientists to see whether more can be learned about the star and its planet, they said.

Some at Seti – the search for extraterrestrial intelligence, which is a collective of scientists looking to find transmissions from alien life – have already squashed the possibility of alien communications.

“I was unimpressed,” wrote Eric Korpela, an astronomer who works closely on the Seti project. “Because the receivers used were making broad band measurements, there’s really nothing about this ‘signal’ that would distinguish it from a natural radio transient”, he wrote, pointing to the fact that it could equally have been caused by a stellar flare, active galactic nucleus, microlensing of a background source, or something else entirely.

“There’s also nothing that could distinguish it from a satellite passing through the telescope field of view,” he wrote in a post aimed at trying to temper the excitement . “All in all, it’s relatively uninteresting from a Seti standpoint.”

Hawking launches alien search

Mr Korpela said that SETI@home – the project that lets people volunteer their computers to search for life elsewhere in the universe – picks up “millions of potential signals with similar characteristics, but it takes more than that to make a good candidate”. The new potential star didn’t even satisfy the minimum criterion – that it should be detected multiple times.

If it isn’t heard again then it might be something like the “WOW” signal, received in 1977. That was a powerful radio signal that came from a group of stars called Chi Sagittarii. The astronomer who discovered it, Jerry Ehman, circled it and wrote WOW next to it to mark it for future study, but the message was never detected again.

Seti scientists hope to hear more from the star by using the Allen Telescope Array, a huge system that can be used to look for messages that indicate alien intelligence. It was pointed towards the star over the weekend but has not as yet found any signal.

“However, we have not yet covered the full range of frequencies in which the signal could be located, if it’s of far narrower bandwidth than the Russian 1 GHz receiver,” Seti wrote. “We intend to completely cover this big swath of the radio dial in the next day or two. A detection, of course, would immediately spur the Seti and radio astronomy communities to do more follow-up observations.”

Seti hopes that those observations can be enough to learn more about the star system that the signal is supposedly coming from.

“So what’s the bottom line?” asked Seth Shostak, senior astronomer at Seti. “Could it be another society sending a signal our way?  Of course, that’s possible.

“However, there are many other plausible explanations for this claimed transmission, including terrestrial interference. Without a confirmation of this signal, we can only say that it’s ‘interesting’.”

Source: Aliens may have sent a ‘strong message’ from deep in space, scientists claim | Science | News | The Independent

 

 

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Easy Jet, volo per Londra, polizia dà giusta lezione a italians


Easy Jet, volo per Londra, polizia dà giusta lezione a Italians

 ROMA – Easy Jet, volo per Londra. E’ luglio, l’aeromobile è pieno di passeggeri. Parte da Roma, decolla dall’Italia ed è quindi pieno di italiani. Tra di loro, tra gli italiani, anche alcuni purtroppo immancabili “italians”. Cioè quei tipi umani purtroppo tipicamente italiani evolutisi ed adattatasi nel particolarissimo habitat dell’Italia contemporanea. Habitat dove la fauna sopravvenuta e sopravveniente è indocile e insofferente a qualsiasi regola che non sia il comodo proprio. Fauna che fa del bullismo sociale la propria cifra identitaria.

air-rage

Dunque si sta per decollare, anzi si decolla e un “italians” sta ovviamente dialogando con il suo smartphone con chi gli pare, dove e come e quando gli pare. In più sta armeggiando con il bagaglio a mano, con l’altra mano. In una mano lo smartphone, con l’altra litiga e si fa spazio nei cassetti sopra i sedili. Insomma dà fastidio a chi ha la sfortuna di stargli a fianco, crea potenziale pericolo spostando bagagli mentre si decolla, non spegno lo smartphone. Si avvicina ovviamente una hostess e lo prega di sedersi e di smetterla con entrambe le operazioni, quella con il bagaglio e quella con lo smartphone. Non riceve risposta verbale, l’italians sta parlando con un suo simile a terra. In compenso la hostess riceve come risposta energico gesto del braccio dello italians che la allontana, la sposta, la scosta con imperioso fastidio.

 

La hostess, che italians non è e neanche italiana, non fa una piega. Non si innervosisce, non alza la voce, non fa sponda alla sceneggiata “macha” dell’italians. Si capirà poi che ha riferito dell’accaduto al pilota, al capitano. Il quale, che italians non è e neanche italiano, si capirà poi che ha fatto comunicazione dell’accaduto all’aeroporto di destinazione. Si atterra Londra, tutti si preparano a sbarcare. l’italians compreso, con il suo bagaglio che ha messo dove voleva e come voleva e con il suo smartphone che ha spento solo se e quando voleva lui.
Stanno tutti per scendere ma un paio sono invece saliti, sono in divisa, vanno dallo italians e gli comunicano che lui scenderà per ultimo e come prima destinazione in terra britannica avrà l’ufficio di un funzionario di polizia dove renderà conto del suo bullismo a bordo. Ovviamente, come è nella natura profonda e reale degli italians, il nostro bullo volante a questo punto sbianca in volto. Per una rarissima volta nella sua vita, in Italia non gli capita mai, è chiamato, obbligato a prendersi la responsabilità dei suoi gesti e azioni. Non può gridare che “ben altri sono i problemi” (l’italians tipo tra l’altro sa poco l’inglese) e neanche che “la colpa è dei politici e che lo Stato lo ha lasciato solo”.

Un po’ piagnucola che non capisce, non ha fatto nulla, molto ritratta, chiede scusa, implora perdono. Una pena, fa pena a guardarlo. Ma la platea non è italica (quella tipica che passa dal galera per tutti al ma che, davvero?). La scena è britannica e Dio salvi la Regina e Viva, Viva, Viva la Gran Bretagna la polizia a Londra dà la giusta lezione al cafone arrogante prepotente italians. La lezione che non ha avuto in famiglia, nè a scuola, né sul luogo di lavoro, che non vede in tv, che nessuno impartisce nell’urna elettorale, né votando né essendo votato. La lezione del rispetto delle regole e del prossimo. La lezione della convivenza. Non o arrestano, lo ammoniscono e lo multano. L’italians esce spaventato e scosso dalla lezione ma, state sicuri, la racconterà come un sopruso e tornerà appena in patria ad esercitare il suo “diritto” ad essere incivile, orgogliosamente incivile. Lui lo chiama addirittura libertà del farsi i c…suoi.

Source: Easy Jet, volo per Londra, polizia dà giusta lezione a italians

 

 

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Nun in iconic Italy earthquake photo shares her story of survival


ASCOLI PICENO, Italy — She became the face of Italy’s earthquake: Sister Marjana Lleshi, blood staining her veil as she texted her family and friends in her native Albania that she was alive.

cbs news italy heartquake – Google Search

 

In an interview Thursday at the mother house of her religious order, the 35-year-old nun recounted how she thought she would die when her convent walls collapsed. She texted her friends asking that they pray for her soul, only to be rescued by a man she has called her “angel.”

Now safe, Lleshi says she wants nothing more than to go to next week’s Rome canonization of Mother Teresa, the ethnic Albanian nun “who gave hope to those who didn’t have any.”

Lleshi was sleeping in the Don Minozzi convent beside the Church of the Most Holy Crucifix in Amatrice when the quake struck at 3:36 a.m. Wednesday. She had been there, with six other sisters, caring for five elderly women. Her order, the Sisters of the Handmaidens of the Lord, runs nurseries and homes for the aged.

She woke up covered in dust and bleeding. Realizing what had happened, she immediately tried to summon help outside her room.

No one responded. And she couldn’t get out.

“When I started losing all hope of being saved, I resigned myself to it and started sending messages to friends saying to pray for me and to pray for my soul and I said goodbye to them forever,” she said outside the order’s headquarters in Ascoli Piceno.

“I couldn’t send a message like this to my family because I was afraid that my father would have an emotional collapse and die hearing something like that.”

She said she eventually was rescued by a young man who cared for one of the elderly women at the home. “In that moment, I heard a voice who called me: ‘Sister Marjana, Sister Marjana.’”

He pulled her out. With the ground still shaking, she sat on the side of the road and began texting her friends and sisters that she had survived.

That moment was immortalized in an image taken by a photographer for the ANSA news agency reprinted worldwide.

Lleshi spent much of Thursday getting medical checks for dust inhalation and her head wound, which required stitches. Once back home, she wept as she thought of her family.

She still hopes to travel to Rome for the Sept. 4 canonization of Mother Teresa, the Macedonian-born ethnic Albanian nun who ministered to the poor of India. But the chaos and horror of the moment may be too much. Her order lost three sisters and four of the elderly women they cared for, alongside incalculable losses in the wider community.

“For me she’s the symbol of Albania, of a strong woman,” she said of Teresa. “I would have liked to go, but after this I don’t think I can.”

She can relish the simple fact of still being alive.

“I had said ‘adieu,’” she said, “and in the end it wasn’t an adieu.”

Italy’s civil protection service says the provisional death toll for the earthquake in central Italy has risen to 250 people.

The number of people in these mountain villages swell during the summer, as they are a popular vacation destination. In the remote village of Accumoli, the population nearly doubled, which means the death toll is also higher, CBS News correspondent Seth Doane reported.

In Accumoli Thursday, some were allowed to return home to salvage what they could. One woman told CBS News she was sad and with so many aftershocks, also scared.

Those who lost homes or could not return to them camped out. People are half nervous and half desperate but they have lost everything — the work of an entire life — one volunteer said.

Overnight, the search for survivors continued, though hopes dimmed as four bodies were removed from the rubble. Rescue workers tried to resuscitate a newborn, but were unsuccessful.

But there were the moments that keep the rescue workers going. One elderly woman was saved from under debris.

Drone footage from above showed the random nature of the quake — some towns were flattened while others were spared.The ancient architecture in places like Amatrice drew tourists. The bell of the clock tower was obscured by buildings, but those structures that stood for centuries were reduced to rubble in seconds. The clock tower now stands alone, with tourists now replaced by rescue workers.

Many of these villages have become ghost towns. Aftershocks continue to rattle the region, so even where homes are still standing, many are deemed too dangerous to return to.

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The 9 common email and social scam. Be aware!


We’ve all heard about the Nigerian Prince who needs to transfer money out of the country and has selected us to send it to. Haven’t we? Phone and internet scams are all around us, in fact, they’re so common that the ACCC recorded more than 105,000 scams a year, which resulted in losses of more than $84 million. That’s only the ones that were reported: many more went unreported, often because the victim was too embarrassed to do so.

So to help you be on the lookout for, and hopefully avoid falling into their blackening pit of online deceit, we’ve put together a list of 9 most common scams.

  1. The urgent transfer

What it looks like: You receive an email from a friend, family member or senior staff member telling you they need urgent access to funds. The story adds up (they’re probably overseas and short on time). Besides, it comes from their email address and looks authentic.

What’s really happening: Their email account has been compromised and you’re transferring your money straight into the scammer’s bank account.

What can you do to avoid it: Do not reply to that email. Create a new email to that friend and ask them if they are ok, or if you can, privately message them on social media to confirm their status.

  1. The mail that never came

What it looks like: That credit card you applied for never seemed to arrive.

What’s really happening: Scammers accessed your letterbox and intercepted the card before you had a chance to receive it. They’ve changed the PIN and are now using it for themselves. In the process, they’re racking up a significant debt in your name. And its not just your credit card mail they will take.

What can you do to avoid it: Put a lock on your letterbox, or use a PO Box, or at least check your mailbox regularly.

  1. The parcel pickup

What it looks like: A postal delivery company sends you an email telling you that you have a parcel that can’t be delivered. If you can’t collect it within 7 days it will be destroyed. But first, you need to print off a label to redeem your package.

What’s really happening: Rather than printing a label, you’re actually downloading dangerous ransomware. Once it’s installed, scammers can use it to lock files and even destroy them. The only way you can take back control is to pay them. Making sure your computer is regularly backed up can also help counter-effect the impact of ransomware.

What can you do to avoid it: This one is really scary as all you can do to get back control of your computer, and files, is to pay them. Think before you click on anything you aren’t sure of: Are you expecting a parcel? Why would it not have been delivered? Pick up the phone and call before clicking.

  1. The tax refund

What it looks like: You receive an email from a government agency advising you of a tax refund. To receive it, all you need to do is follow the link to your bank and enter your account details.

What’s really happening: The link takes you to a fake site set up by the scammers. Instead of giving your account details – and internet banking password – to your bank, you’re actually delivering this vital information straight into the scammer’s hands.

What can you do to avoid it: Unless you are instigating a transfer, never put your bank account details into any site you are not sure of.

  1. The ‘free’ wifi

What it looks like: You’re at the airport or hotel and need to connect your laptop or mobile to the internet. When you search for a connection, you’re in luck. There’s a free hotspot right nearby.

What’s really happening: You’ve actually just connected to a fake network. This allows a scammer to intercept all network traffic and steal your personal information. And the pain doesn’t stop there. From now on, every time you turn on your device, you could be transmitting the same ‘free’ wifi to other unsuspecting users.

What can you do to avoid it: You should only connect to wifi that you know is legitimate and, if in doubt, pay to access a secure network. You should also make sure your anti-virus software is up to date and your firewall is turned on.

  1. The unrealistic job offer

What it looks like: You respond to an advertisement that promises you’ll earn good money from the comfort of your home as an ‘accounts processor’. All you need to do is set up a bank account and forward any money that comes into it, onto another account. You even get a cut of each transaction for your troubles.

What’s really happening: You’re being used by fraudsters as a “money mule”: an everyday person with no criminal history through whose bank account they’ll move the proceeds of crime.

What can you do to avoid it: This is money laundering, done by organized crime, and you can be implicated and go to jail. Easy money doesn’t exist. Check, research, and qualify before you go the easy route.

  1. The speeding fine

What it looks like:  A government body/law enforcement agency, emails you to tell you that your vehicle has been caught speeding. You need to download the photo they’ve taken to confirm you were driving.

What’s really happening: The link you click on downloads ransomware to your computer. You’ll have to pay the scammers to get back the files they encrypt.

What can you do to avoid it: Same as #3, this is hard to back out of and will end up costing you a lot of money. Do your research before you click on things you are not sure of.

  1. The computer problem

What it looks like: You receive a call from your internet service provider. They’ve detected a virus on your computer and it’s sending error messages. The good news is that they can fix it, so long as you give them remote access.

What’s really happening:  You’ve handed control of your computer to a scammer. They’ll probably try to steal your personal data or hold your computer to ransom until you pay.

What can you do to avoid it: Never hand over remote access to anyone! If it’s that bad, take it to the service providers storefront and ask them about it.

  1. The store voucher

What it looks like:  A well-known brand uses its social media account to post that it’s giving away gift vouchers or free flights or another very attractive perk. To claim your prize, all you need to do is like the post. Like this photo, or share it if it tugs on your heartstrings, or type Amen then share, or type the solution then like.

What’s really happening: You’ve fallen victim to a ‘like farming’ scam. The page isn’t authentic but has been set up by a scammer who’s trying to get as many likes as possible. They’ll on-sell these likes – and your profile – to other fraudsters, who will start pushing spam posts in an effort to get hold of your credit card data.

What can you do to avoid it: Oh this is so common! If it’s not a friends post or a known source, stay away, don’t get sucked in by emotions or because you think you are clever enough to know the answer.

AND THAT”S JUST THE BEGINNING . . .

As the world becomes alert to the prevalence of scams, scammers are responding by becoming more creative. So, as these 9 scams start to become less effective, it’s likely that newer and more sophisticated ones will take their place.

RULE OF THUMB

Email: Don’t open or download any links or attachments that you are unsure of. Research them prior to doing so. Get on the phone and check the source. Some emails may seem to come from a reputable name YourFriend, but when you click on that from name, you will find the real source: YourFriend <dodgysource@evendodgiercompany.com>

Social Media: Only respond to known posts – friends and businesses that are familiar to you.

This list was prepared by Your Wealth Vault, an online financial education program where you’ll learn how to take control of your finances, step-by-step, identifying financial goals you want to achieve, and planning a path to your financial security.

 

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The best places in England for unearthing lost treasure


  • 17 January 2016
Stuart Elton, metal detectoristImage copyright Laurence Cawley
Image caption Metal detectorist Stuart Elton says nearly every field in Essex hides some kind of Roman artefact

Data shows Norfolk is the best spot for treasure hunters. But is everything as it seems?

Of all the treasures found in the ground, fewer than 5% are discovered by professional archaeologists. More than 90% are unearthed by amateur treasure hunters armed with metal detectors – devices originally devised for hunting down landmines.

Recent finds include a hoard of Roman coins in Herefordshire, a collection of Norman and Anglo-Saxon coins in Buckinghamshire and collection of Viking jewellery in North Yorkshire.

But one county in England boasts more treasure finds each year than Herefordshire, Buckinghamshire and North Yorkshire combined: Norfolk.

Coroner figures (treasure is declared such by coroners) for the past three years reveal the county has on average 116 treasure finds a year, followed by Essex with 71, Suffolk with 65 and Lincolnshire with 59.

Coventry, Bristol and the City of York, on the other hand, have not had a single treasure declaration in three years.

So why is the east of the country such a treasure hotspot?

Treasure mapImage copyright Tableau

Archaeologist Ben Robinson believes the answer lies in a mix of land use and history.

“There’s a rich tapestry of habitation in East Anglia and that history has left its legacy in the soil.

“And then comes the plough, turning that soil over each year, bringing new finds towards the surface.”

Because finds must be at least 300 years old to be classified as treasure, artefacts from the industrial revolution in major cities such as Manchester, Leeds and Birmingham do not figure.

Similarly, because of the precious metal criteria surrounding treasure, the metallic artefacts of the steel city of Sheffield do not register either.

“You don’t get much from the modern major cities,” said Michael Lewis, head of portable antiquities and treasure at the Portable Antiquities Scheme (PAS). “In London, most of the finds come from mudlarks on the foreshore of the Thames.”

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Treasure is…

Any object that is at least 300 years old when found and:

  • is one of at least two coins in the same find with a precious metal content of at least 10%
  • if the precious metal content is less than 10%, is one of at least 10 coins in the same find
  • is not a coin but has precious metal content of at least 10%
  • is any object of any material found in the same place as another object that is deemed treasure
  • any group of two or more metallic objects of any composition of prehistoric date that come from the same find
  • is an object substantially made from gold or silver but is less than 300 years old
line break

The BBC’s map of treasure does seem to reflect the sites of the much older major cities such as Norwich, Lincoln, York, Bristol, Ipswich and Winchester.

But while finds might reflect historical areas of settlement, far more important, says Dr Lewis, are the activities of the people who make the finds.

East Anglia – an area of arable farmland – and the flats of Lincolnshire are simply easier to metal detect on than hilly farmland in, say, Cumbria or the Pennines.

Metal detectorists cannot detect in built-up urban environments, meaning town centre finds – such as the Fenwick Treasure in Colchester – are nearly always made by archaeologists brought in as part of a redevelopment.

In the 1980s, archaeologists and metal detectorists were at war over the nation’s subterranean heritage.

But in the 20 years since the PAS set out clear guidance for the reporting of finds by the public, the relationship between responsible detectorists and archaeologists has thawed.

Treasure from the Staffordshire HoardImage copyright Getty Images
Image caption Treasure from the Staffordshire hoard, the largest collection of Anglo-Saxon gold and silver metalwork ever found. It was discovered in 2009 by metal detectorist Terry Herbert
FLO Ben PaitesImage copyright Laurence Cawley
Image caption Ben Paites is the lone finds liaison officer for Essex, one of the country’s treasure hunting hotspots

All finds should be reported to one of the country’s 37 finds liaison officers (FLO). Between them, they have collated details of more than one million finds since the scheme started.

Dr Lewis said of the 80,000 finds reported each year only 1,000 or so were treasure.

The location of treasure finds also reflects the regional vibrancy of a metal detecting as a hobby and – in some instances – the talent of the detectorist.

“Some people seem to find lots of stuff while others hardly ever find anything,” he said. “The fact is some people are better at metal detecting than others.”

Ben Paites, the FLO for Essex, says some areas have a “culture of reporting” finds.

“Before the Treasure Act came into effect and before the PAS was established, only a few museums really interacted with metal detectorists who were finding these things,” he said.

PC Andy Long has found illegal treasure hunters digging up the ground of scheduled ancient monuments such as the site of St Peter's Chapel at Bradwell in EssexImage copyright Laurence Cawley
Image caption PC Andy Long has found illegal treasure hunters digging up the ground of scheduled ancient monuments such as the site of St Peter’s Chapel at Bradwell in Essex

The first areas to have FLOs were Kent, Norfolk, the West Midlands, North Lincolnshire, north-west England and Yorkshire. Four of these regions feature towards the top of the treasure finds list.

But sadly some treasure finds – the exact number will never be known – pass under the radar.

While some might not be reported out of ignorance of the rules, others are the result of people, known as night hawks, deliberately metal detecting without permission.

PC Andy Long, Essex Police’s wildlife and heritage crime officer and the national intelligence lead for the anti-night hawking effort Operation Chronos, says treasure thieves are not just stealing artefacts, they are stealing history.

“Beneath the ground there’s an enormous amount of history and in time it will be recovered – but we need to know the historical context in which things are found.

“Once it is gone, it’s gone forever.”

Sites such as the Roman fort and early Christian church site at Bradwell on Sea have been left pockmarked with hundreds of holes.

St Peter's Church at Bradwell on SeaImage copyright Laurence Cawley
Image caption St Peter’s Church at Bradwell on Sea was built on the site of a Roman fort

Badgers were the first suspects. But PC Long is in no doubt it was the result of night hawks (who, he points out, often dig during the day).

“Animals don’t dig using a flat-sided object, Nor do they pat the ground back on top of the hole or take out a ring-pull and leave it by the side of the hole.

“We don’t know what has been taken, if anything.”

Do metal detectorists treading the fields of a treasure hotspot actually expect near-instant riches?

“Some people do it to get rich,” says Essex detectorist Stuart Elton, “though they are usually the people who have just bought a detector.

“I do it for the history,” he says. “I think that is why most of us do it.”

His preferred term for what he does is “dry land fishing”. Or walking with a purpose.

An Inside Out East feature on treasure hunting will be broadcast on BBC One in the east of England at 19:30 GMT and available on iPlayer afterwards

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