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Topical Tuesdays from The Week Junior – Viking Treasure Stolen

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Two men have been jailed for stealing Viking treasure worth as much as £12 million.

The detectorists (people who enjoy searching for objects using a metal detector) found an astonishing hoard of 300 coins and jewellery in a field in Eye, Herefordshire, in 2015.

Under the law, George Powell and Layton Davies should have officially reported their haul, but they decided to sell it instead. Only a small portion of their discovery, which dates back more than 1,100 years, has been recovered.

There are different laws around the UK about what must be done when historical objects are found, but objects thought to be treasure must always be reported to local authorities.

Powell and Davies decided to tell the National Museum of Wales about only two coins and three items of jewellery. They sold the rest of the hoard.

If the two men had been honest about their haul they would have received more than £500,000 each.

Instead they will spend several years in prison.

  • Most detectorists are honest and report their findings, but not all. Debate whether you think it is time to ban metal detectoring unless it is being done as part of a recognised archaeological group. Or do you think detectorist should have the freedom to pursue their hobby independently?
  • Write a set of instructions detailing what you should do if your metal detector has just signalled that it has found something that could be interesting or valuable under the ground.
  • Imagine you are a detectorist who has discovered a hoard of treasure. Write a diary entry describing your day, remembering to use the first person and powerful words to describe both your find and your feelings.
  • What are the top three biggest treasure hoards ever found in the UK? Say where and when each find was made and give an outline of what was discovered.

To find out more about The Week Junior and to download its free resources, please go to schools.theweekjunior.co.uk.