Brooch deemed treasure trove

A Roman brooch that sat in an archaeologist's drawer for seven years has been declared treasure by a coroner's court.

Metal detecting enthusiast David Scott, 64, found the trumpet brooch, dating back to AD200, in 2000 on one of his hunts on a friend's farm in Seaham.

In 2001 he realised that it was silver and could be classed as treasure, so he took it to the County Durham archaeologist's office to be looked at.

But for some reason it was forgotten about, and laid untouched in a drawer for seven years.

David, who has been metal detecting for 32 years and meets most Sundays with the Dunelm Metal Detecting Club, said: "I knew what it was, I knew the age of it. I didn't know it was silver, it's the first silver one I've found. It's exceptional."

Over the years, David, who regularly travels to East Yorkshire on metal detecting expeditions, has discovered all sorts of relics – from a Bronze Age knife to various coins and artefacts dating back to 1500BC.

He's given the majority of them away to local and national museums – saying he prefers the hunt for the artefacts rather than collecting.

The 4cm-long brooch, which is about three quarters intact, was found alongside a broken silver coin.

David, who is from Seaton and works as a hyrdaulics fitter, said: "It's not worth a lot in money value, but it is in terms of history."

He added: "Whoever owned this brooch was very wealthy and important.

"They might have been buried with the brooch, and if they were they probably lived there. I can't say those things for sure."

At an inquest earlier this week, Graham Hunsley, assistant deputy coroner, ruled that the brooch is legally classed as treasure.

He said: "To fall within the treasure legislation and to be deemed treasure in its legal sense an item has got to be at least 300 years old and made of precious metal.

"This clearly being the second century it is well beyond the 300 years old requirement and as Mr Scott realised, this is substantially of silver and therefore qualifies as precious metal."

The brooch was examined by an expert at the British Museum, who confirmed it dated back to AD200 and that something similar had been found in the past.

It is believed that the brooch will now go to a local museum.