This week’s big news story involves a historic heist of historic proportions, as George Powell and Layton Davies were jailed for the theft of Viking treasure believed to be worth £12m.
But if you’re picturing an Ocean’s 11-style heist, then the truth is rather more pedestrian.
The two men are avid detectorists, and found the treasure in a field in Herefordshire back in 2015, using their metal detectors.
“What’s the fuss then?” you might ask. Well, the law in the UK means that anyone finding historical objects must report it, and anything found to be treasure is technically the property of the Queen.
The two men instead decided to try to sell the collection of around 300 coins and items of jewellery, and so far only a small portion of it has been recovered.
Had they done things correctly, museums would have been able to bid for it at auction, with the finder, landowner and current resident splitting the money.
It’s estimated they would have received around half a million each from this significant find.
This PDF resource includes this article, as well as accompanying activity ideas:
Discuss whether you think the rules of finding historic items are fair? Should it be finders keepers? Should it belong to the landowner? Or do these items belong in places like museums for all to see? Should independent metal detectorists be banned outright? Many historical items can be damaged if not recovered by a skilled archaeological team.
Instructional writing: Detail what someone should do if their metal detector finds something of potential valuable, using sequencing conjunctions and imperative verbs.
If you found a hoard of treasure while out with your metal detector, how would you feel? Write a diary entry about the day this happened, using powerful vocabulary to describe what you found, and your emotions as it happened.
Investigate treasure finds in the UK, listing the three biggest ever, what they were, where they were found.