Friday, 3 August 2007

'Unsung heroes of heritage' extolled for unearthing hoard of treasure

A missing gold finial from the Sedgeford torc, excavated almost in its entirety more than 40 years ago, and a stash of Viking silver bracelets that may have helped finance an attack on Dublin were among a glittering hoard of treasure disclosed yesterday, the discovery of amateurs and their metal detectors.
The culture minister, David Lammy, yesterday called metal detectorists "the unsung heroes of the UK's heritage", a phrase that will cause a sharp intake of breath among some archaeologists who still regard them as little better than legalised looters.

However, in most parts of the country a truce is in place, with archaeologists and hobbyists working together, a code of conduct agreed by both sides. The amateurs, in fact, are often called in to help at excavation sites, valued for their equipment and expertise at telling a buried coin from a can ring-pull.

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