Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Report on medieval finds in Scotland released

The Scottish government has released its fourth annual Treasure Trove Report, which details archaeological finds in the region between April 2008 and March 2009.

According to Scottish law, all discovered items found by chance, metal detecting or by archaeological excavation must be handed over to the Crown. Some of the finds are then handed over to local museums, while others get returned to their finders. If the object is handed to a museum, the person who found the item is given an award.

The report shows that 86 artefacts were claimed by the Crown before being given to museums and 90 were reported but returned to the finder. The total money spent on awards to finders was £10,590 with individual payments ranging from £10 to £1,250.

One of the most notable finds was a medieval gold ring with a blue sapphire found in field in Lamington, South Lanarkshire, by tanker driver Gordon Innes. It is now on display at the Biggar Museum. Mr Innes, a member of the Scottish Artefact Recovery Group in Bonnybridge, Stirlingshire, found the ring just three inches below ground.

It has been identified as a bishop's consecration ring and would have been buried with him, making the find of major historical interest. It is the only complete-shaped and polished ring of its kind found in Scotland.

In an interview with the Scotsman, Tam Ward, archaeologist at Biggar Museum, said: "We are very pleased to have the ring which is so delicate and small, it looks almost as if it could have been made for a woman. It has beautiful detail with chevron-like details engraved on it.

"However, we are a bit annoyed we have not been told the exact spot it was found in as we had hoped to go and excavate there because it could have come from ground ploughed from a grave in a cemetery which would be of great interest to us."

Other items listed in this year's Treasure Trove include:

- A fragment of Pictish symbol stone from Mail, Shetland
- A Pictish penannular brooch from Culross, Fife
- A hoard of medieval silver coins from Dumfries, Dumfries and Galloway
- A medieval pilgrim badge from Crail, Fife
- A 14th century gold florin of Florence, from Jedburgh, Scottish Borders
- A medieval silver gilt finger ring, Inchaffray, Perth and Kinross

Click here to read the Treasure Trove Report