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Prince Charles moves forward with plans to charge £120 for beach metal detecting permit.

With the new full Tory government in place, Teresa May has given the nod for the delighted Prince Charles to move forward with his long desired scheme of charging metal detectorists to search any land in the United Kingdom that he holds a duchy.
For Decades, the heir to the throne of England has relentlessly pushed his idea of charging detectorists to try and rapaciously scrape more money from his duchies in Cornwall, Wales and any other beaches owned by the crown estate, and he allegedly believes that £120 a month is a fair price to pay for a hobby that regularly gives financial return. After a special secret meeting at the house of lords attended by all seat holders, Teresa May, and Prince Charles, a decision was passed with immediate effect, that a metal detecting license is now required by law to search crown estate beaches and all beaches in Cornwall and Wales. Detectorists should apply online at http://www. at once to avoid prosecution. Teresa May was also heard discussing plans to build on and extend Charles’s ideas :

“Why should we stop in Cornwall and Wales Charles, and why couldn’t we be charging detectorists to search inland areas as well ? If we could be cynically profiteering from these plebs around the rest of the country, clawing away desperately in sand and mud for loose change and benefiting from the misfortune of others. All too often I hear harrowing tales of precious items being lost at the beach, be it by newly weds on a honeymoon love romp, or people in mourning that have lost items of sentimental value belonging to passed loved ones, each case results in a happy metal detectorist, and a victim of theft by finding, I say we charge these bastards to the hilt.”

Plans are now afoot to roll out the scheme over the rest of the UK by 2019, with trials in Dorset and Somerset starting early next year. Prince Charles has made it publicly known that he also wishes to make it an offence against the crown to detect on his duchy’s without a permit, as well as claiming personal ownership of any incoming valuables he chooses found anywhere he currently holds a duchy, and wants to personally oversee them all and choose at his own leisure.

Prince Charles is also under attack from the NCMD (National council of metal detecting) which has stepped in with a petition signed by amateur and professional detectorists from around the globe, including all major distributors, manufacturers, magazines and media sources including the Daily Detectorist, and every major Facebook group excluding “Dig this!” which pulled out of the petition , and also made it a ”group kick-able offence” to sign the petition, following a dispute with the NCMD over them not being interested in being an affiliate sponsor of the group. A desperate bid was also made via ritual ceremonies performed by the Druidic Council of Cornwall because the lands on which Prince Charles holds his duchy’s are heavily Celtic in history and they expressed the opinion that ‘Prince Charles has no business claiming ownership rights of Celtic grave goods,ritual items and votive offerings of any nature because he is a Christian and his ancestors were of Pagan Anglo Saxon descent anyway’.


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
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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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Missing treasure hunter’s remains found in New Mexico


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    • 27 July 2016


Randy Bilyeu and his dog, pictured in June 2015Image copyrightCOURTESY OF LINDA BILYEU VIA AP
Image captionRandy Bilyeu, 54, went missing in January

The remains of a 54-year-old man who disappeared hunting for a hidden stash of gold and jewels in New Mexico have been discovered, local authorities say.

Police in New Mexico’s capital Santa Fe confirmed the remains as those of Randy Bilyeu from Colorado.

He went missing in January this year hunting for a $2m (£1.5m) trove hidden by art dealer and author Forrest Fenn.

Thousands have searched for the hoard left by Mr Fenn, who gave clues about the treasure’s location in a 2011 book.

Bilyeu set out for the Rocky Mountains in northern New Mexico with a raft and his pet dog on 5 January.

His wife reported him missing on 14 January, and the raft and dog were found the next day. The remains were discovered along a stretch of the Rio Grande river.

Mr Fenn has urged people not to search for the treasure during winter and joined in search efforts to find Bilyeu.

The writer says hunters should not look in “any place where an 80-year-old man couldn’t put it”.

A Texan woman got lost searching for the treasure three years ago but was found by rescuers.

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