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Diary of our first Treasure process

Here we will follow two treasure processes, blogging events as they happen, so that you too can share in the process as it reveals itself:


The gold mourning ring

 The hack-gold piece

1st August 2010 Recovered from a ploughed field near Harlow in Essex, what was initially thought to be a wedding band, has the inscription

"R.F. 29.9.97"

Experienced detectorists and antiquities dealers on the dig reached the general consensus that the date would be from 1797. As there are no hallmarks, it is unlikely to be 19th/20th Century, and the lettering style was thought to be too late for the ring to be early than 18th century.

Pictures and details sent through to our local FLO in Northamptonshire for comment.

4th August 2010 Reply from our FLO confirms that the details have been sent through to the Brithish Museum, but at this stage it is still thought to be unlikely to be treasure.  
5th August 2010

Reply from the BM:

"Without images of the inscription it is hard to say but the representation of date as two numbers (i.e. ‘97’) on posy and mourning rings is usually 17th Century (‘1697’) but we’d have to see how the date is inscribed on the ring as well as look at the style if lettering. If it is just 22 9 97 the finder may be right and it could be 18th C onwards. If he can send you a clearer image of the inscription I can run it by our ring people…"

It is agreed to take the ring to the next club meeting and let the FLO take it for further examination.

20th August 2010 The ring is handed to our FLO as agreed, for it to be sent to the BM for examination.  
17th September 2010

At our September club meeting, our FLO reports back that no formal reply has been received back as yet, however the latest comment received from the BM was:

“Generally the omission of the first two letters of the year indicates a 17th c date. I’ve never seen it used in the 18th c. “

We agree with the FLO that we should prepare the paperwork just in case the BM decide that the ring is to be declared treasure.

19th September 2010
On a dig with the same Essex team, this 3g piece of hack-gold reveals itself to another of our club members. General consensus from the Essex team is that this is possibly a piece of Viking hack-gold given to warrioirs before battle
20th September 2010 The paperwork is prepared at our FLO's monthly surgery in the council offices.  At the FLO's monthly surgery, the piece is handed over for recording and this time the Treasure forms are filled in for immediate submission as there is very little doubt that this is over 300 years old.
October 2010
 Letter received from the BM, indicating that a local museum is interested in acquiring the artefact.
19th November 2010
Treasure (2010 T555). I believe that Epping Forest Museum are interested in purchasing this Mourning Ring. This means that as soon as the Essex Corner officially declares it Treasure, the ring will go to the next Valuation Committee meeting (in early 2011) Treasure (2010 T554). Unfortunately, this piece was deemed too undiagnostic to be dateable, and so has been declared not treasure. What this means is that, without a proven/dateable Viking (or other) context, they could not be absolutely sure that it was over 300 years old. The next stage is for the coroner to write to the landowner.
 23rd February 2011

 A letter arrived this morning advising of the upcoming Coroner's inquest to be held in Chelmsford on the 25th February. Unfortunately, we wont be there, but we do have a local contact who might be. If he goes, we will report back on the process.