ON behalf of the Members of the Pembrokeshire Prospectors Society, I refer to the article “Are you standing on a priceless hoard” in last week’ edition regarding treasure and metal detecting in Pembrokeshire.
Although it is quite interesting and informative, I would like to express our concerns over some of the statements made.
With reference to finds declared “treasure” it stated that “a reward goes to the lucky swine that found it, and sometimes to the owner of the land where the treasure was found” although the finder may take offence at being labelled a swine lucky or otherwise, the Treasure Act Code of Practice states that “It is normal practice to divide rewards equally between the finder and landowner on a 50:50 basis unless another form of agreement has been reached between them”.
It is important that the detectorist makes a verbal, or preferably a written agreement with the landowner before he starts searching.
You do hear of vast finds that are valued at thousands even hundreds of thousands of pounds but these are few and far between, the majority of finds reported under the Treasure Act have greater value in their historical context, which our members are more interested in, rather than pounds in the pocket.
You say at the end of your article that budding treasure hunters should buy themselves a metal detector if only it was as simple as that.
Detectors vary a great deal in price and performance, so best to get advice first, preferably from a local club, and also it is quite usual to spend many hours without finding anything.
Most detectorists spend time reading local history, gaining knowledge of where village fairs had been held or medieval footpaths that had crossed fields to long forgotten villages, all this, with the consent of the landowner of course, well that bit goes without saying.
Permission should always be gained before searching any land, it is also recommended that you are covered by public liability insurance which can be gained by joining a local metal detecting club.
Chairman Pembrokeshire Prospectors Society.