Items found in Norfolk declared treasure trove at Norwich inquest

Objects found by metal detectorists in Norfolk that date back thousands of years were among the items declared treasure trove at inquests yesterday.

A rare Anglo-Saxon gold object that was discovered in East Ruston, near North Walsham, was among the items and was said to be an unusual find, the Norwich inquest heard.

Norfolk coroner William Armstrong read out a report by Erica Darch from the British Museum, who dated the object to the mid-Anglo-Saxon period, between the 7th and 8th centuries.

The report said: 'The gold tongue-shaped front or back plate would be from a strap-end, buckle plate or a similar object, and dates from the mid-Anglo Saxon period.

'Whatever the precise history of the object, it was clearly of very high status, as gold was relatively uncommon in that period. For it to be used as a strap-end on a back plate is remarkable in any date.'

A Bronze Age hoard of 191 objects – dating back to the period from about 2300 BC to 700 BC – which was found in a village near Attleborough was also declared treasure.

Dr Ben Roberts from the British Museum said in a report read out by Mr Armstrong that the items were found on three separate occasions between April and June last year.

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A post-medieval copper alloy gilded brooch was also declared treasure. The brooch with silver pin and catch plate was found in Deopham, near Wymondham, on September 1, 2010. Erica Darch said the elaborate gilded brooch had some patches of silvering and she dated it to the 16th century.

None of the detectorists who found the items attended the Norwich treasure inquests, but Mr Armstrong said they all had permission to be on the land where they found the items.

The hearing was told the British Museum had confirmed the find qualified as treasure on account of its age and metal content.

Museums have first refusal on treasure and the finder may receive a reward.

Have you made a rare find in Norfolk ? Call reporter David Bale on 01603 772427 or email