Treasure finds on the rise in Oxfordshire in 2015

The county council’s Museum Service has so far this year recorded 41 cases of treasure being discovered in Oxfordshire – up 46 per cent on the 2014 total.

Earlier in December the service recorded the 25,000th artefact from Oxfordshire found by members of the public – a very rare Roman coin found at the Hanneys in the south of the county. It is only the third of its kind ever discovered.

Items declared “treasure” under the 1996 Treasure Act are usually acquired by Oxfordshire County Council’s Museum’s Service through grant applications and fundraising. This means that the objects can then remain in public ownership and be available for research and study for the public.

The Oxfordshire County Council Museums Service are the main guardians of the county’s archaeological and social history with more than 100,000 objects in its collection – all of which are available for study and research.

Anni Byard, Finds Liaison Officer at Oxfordshire County Council, said: “There’s always excitement when new treasure is found. Oxfordshire has been a treasure trove over the years and there is no sign that this trend is going to dry up any time soon.

“However it’s not only items of ‘treasure’ that are rewriting the county’s history, thousands of other ancient Oxfordshire artefacts are recorded by the Portable Antiquities Scheme each year, dating from earliest prehistory through to more modern times.

“By working closely with metal detector users and others who offer their finds for recording, we really are rewriting our county’s history.”

Fascinating places to visit

Councillor Lorraine Lindsay Gale is Oxfordshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Cultural and Community Services and is herself an archaeologist. She said: “Television programmes have encouraged a wider public interest in archaeology as evidenced by the huge number of people of all ages who turned up to view the excavations at the Westgate.

“People often associate museums and Oxfordshire with the wonderful city based museums and the University. The County Council’s Oxfordshire Museum at Woodstock and the County Museum Store at Standlake are also fascinating places to visit. I would encourage people to visit them if they are interested in our local heritage and how we preserve it for future generations.”

Other finds in Oxfordshire this year

Important non-treasure Oxfordshire finds recorded this year include a Lower Palaeolithic Acheulean flint handaxe from Abingdon dating to c.340,000-190,000 BC, a ritually broken Middle Bronze Age (1400-1100 BC) rapier from Clanfield, a Roman knife from Ardley and a silver penny of Henry III, found in Wolvercote and minted in Wallingford between AD 1248-1250.