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16 December 2014
Rare gold strap unearthed in Cornwall

A treasure hunter who found a rare piece of Bronze Age gold strap in a farmer's field in Roche (Cornwall, England) thought he'd initially unearthed a worthless piece of brass.
     Shane Swanson uncovered the jewellery in a gully in gravelly clay in a field, around 8in below the surface. Mr Swanson found it in March 2013 but an inquest to decide whether it was indeed treasure was only held at Truro Coroners' Court.
     He said he had been scanning the field for around two and a half hours when he came across the gold strap: "I thought it was a piece of brass," he said. "I put it in my pocket and carried on. I took it home later and washed it and wondered exactly what it could be." He then contacted Anna Tyacke, finds liaison officer at the Royal Cornwall Museum, who confirmed that it was gold and it was then sent off to the British Museum for further analysis.
     The strap is around 95mm in length and around 10mm wide. It is 86 to 88 per cent gold and weighs just over 5g. The inquest heard the British Museum was interested in acquiring it, although it has yet to be valued. The owner of the land is entitled to 50 per cent of any money received by Mr Swanson once a price is agreed. However, Mr Swanson said the money was not important and he would rather have kept it for his collection. "If it just gets put away in a drawer and is never seen then that would be a shame," he said.
     Dr Emma Carlyon, coroner for Cornwall, concluded that the item should be classified as treasure.

Edited from Cornish Guardian (14 December 2014>)

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