Two metal-detectorists have been gaoled for the theft of material from a Viking Hoard found buried on a farm in Herefordshire, England. George Powell, 38, of Newport, and Layton Davies, 51, of Pontypridd, discovered the Hoard on private land near Leominster in June 2015, but failed to report the find to either the landowner or the authorities (as required by English law), instead choosing to break the hoard up and sell it privately. For this Powell was given a ten year sentence, and Davies was gaoled for eight-and-a-half years. A third defendent, coin dealer Simon Wicks, 56, was gaoled for five years, while sentencing was defered on a second coin dealer, Paul Wells, 60, who fell ill during the trial.
Recovered material from the Herefordshire Hoard, including jewellery and an ingot dating from the 5th to 9th centuries, including a ring and a small crystal ball held by strips of gold that would have been worn as a pendant. British Museum.
The law in England requires that finds of buried treasure should be reported to the local coroner within fourteen days, and that the coroner should in turn report it to the British Museum, who will arrange for it to be valued by appropriate experts, a process that prevents valuable artifacts and archaeological finds being lost to the country. Payments can be made to both the finder and the landowner, with the finders typically receiving about half the value of the find.
A bracelet with a Dragon's head from the Herefordshire Hoard. PA.
The Hoard is thought to have been buried by a member of the Great Viking Army in either 878 or 879, at which time the army was in retreat from the Saxon forces of King Alfred the Great. The Hoard is thought to have contained about 300 Anglo Saxon coins, included two rare 'Two Emperors', believed to depict King Alfred the Great of Wessex and Ceolwulf II of Mercia, based upon images found upon Davies' mobile phone by West Mercia Police, but only 31 were recovered. A number of items of jewelry were also found, including a ring, a Dragon arm bracelet, a small crystal ball pendant, and a silver ingot.
Coins from the Herefordshire Hoard. West Mercia Police.
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