ITV's heritage series, Britain's Secret Treasures has now finished but the book to accompany the series (written by me!) is available: BUY MY BOOK
It profiles 80 artefacts featured in the series, including the wreck of the HMS Colossus, the Happisburgh Handaxe, the Staffordshire Hoard and the Ringlemere Cup.
You can watch some of my clips from the show at 'VIDEOS' along with clips from Britain's Secret Homes
Hosted by Bettany Hughes and Michael Buerke, Britain's Secret Treasures profiles some of most significant finds made by members of the public in Britain.
15 years ago the government set up a programme called the Portable Antiquities Scheme, the PAS.
If you're a farmer ploughing a field, or a metal detectorist working with the landowner's permission, or someone digging a new flowerbed in the garden and you find a hoard of coins, or gold or silver, or what you think might be an assemblage of prehistoric goods, you are legally required to report your find as TREASURE.
But if you stumble across a clay, glass, bronze, bone, or textile artefact, then you don't have to (in England and Wales)...you can do what you like, legally at least. But if you dig or lift an item out of its archaeological context, and stick that nice copper alloy mask you found in the garage, on the mantelpiece or flog it on eBay, it's historical and archaeological significance is lost, it's as if it never survived.
The rules are different in Scotland and Northern Ireland - more info and links to the correct contacts at the PAS Website
To protect the archaeological and historical information of these unique and interesting finds, the PAS database was set up.
Finders can access help and information from museum experts, county archaeologists and ensure finds are properly recorded, sites are properly excavated or protected, and that legal owners can look after their finds, and get help selling legally to museums or collectors.
THEY WON'T TAKE YOUR FINDS OFF YOU - THEY JUST WANT TO HAVE A LOOK!
The series has been a little bit controversial, as some people think that it might encourage people to go 'treasure-hunting', stealing artefacts, destroying archaeological sites and trespassing to try and make a quick buck. I don't think it does - I think Britain's Secret Treasures profiles passionate people who really care about protecting our heritage, are knowledgeable and careful, and who happened to be lucky enough to stumble across the find of a lifetime!
Check it out and let me know what you think!
See some screen grabs & behind the scenes at 'Images'