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7 November 2009
Novice metal detector man discovers treasure hoard in Scotland

A Iron Age treasure hoard has been unearthed by a safari park keeper using a metal detector for the first time. David Booth was 'stunned' when he found several 2000-year-old gold neckbands in a field in Stirlingshire (Scotland). He had driven to the site and parked his car. Then, after taking only seven steps, he found the treasure. The find is thought to be the most important ever made in Scotland. Booth said: It was the first thing I came across. I knew it was jewellery and I knew it was old but I didn't know the age of it."
     The lucky amateur appeared along with the treasure of the National Museum of Scotland ahead of a valuation of the hoard by the Scottish Archaeological Finds Allocation Panel. Under law, the Crown can claim any objects found in Scotland and the people who find the objects have no right of ownership. However, Mr Booth could be set to receive an enormous reward that may be equal to the value of the jewellery. Experts have declared the hoard of international significance, demonstrating the wealth and connnections of people in Scotland at the time. The exact location of the field in which the treasure was found is being kept secret to stop other would-be treasure hunters from mobbing the site.
     The collection consists of two ribbon torcs - a local style of jewellery made from a twisted ribbon of gold - half an ornate torc of southern French origin, and a unique braided gold wire torc which shows strong influences of Mediterranean craftsmanship. both are thought to date from the 1st and 3rd century BCE. Dr Fraser Hunter, Iron Age and Roman curator at the National Museum of Scotland, said he "almost fell off my seat" when he first set eyes on photographs of Mr Booth's discovery. He said: "It's one of the most important hoards from Scotland ever. We haven't found anything of this quality."

Sources: Guardian.co.uk (3 November 2009), The Herald (4 November 2009)

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