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Metal detecting tourists from the US are paying thousands of pounds to join treasure hunting tours in Britain in the search for ancient artefacts.

Hundreds of detectorists are flocking the UK every year to take part in organised group trips led by specialist operators in an industry fuelled by Instagram.

Posts on social media of Roman coins and medieval artefacts attract hundreds of likes on social media and have helped provide a surge in visitor numbers scouring the country's muddy fields and beaches.

Britain's ancient gold rush! Instagram is fuelling flood of US tourists paying thousands to trudge UK fields in a bid to find Roman coins or lost artefacts


Tourists from the US pay thousands of pounds to join treasure hunting tours

Hundreds flock to the UK every year in an industry fuelled by Instagram

Treasure hunters post finds on social media which receive thousands of likes

Metal Detecting Holidays, based in Shropshire, organise eight tours a year

By Ed Riley For Mailonline
3 January 2019

Metal detecting tourists from the US are paying thousands of pounds to join treasure hunting tours in Britain in the search for ancient artefacts.

Hundreds of detectorists are flocking the UK every year to take part in organised group trips led by specialist operators in an industry fuelled by Instagram.

Posts on social media of Roman coins and medieval artefacts attract hundreds of likes on social media and have helped provide a surge in visitor numbers scouring the country's muddy fields and beaches.

The BBC comedy series Detectorists, starring Mackenzie Crook and Toby Jones, and reports of huge finds like the 14,865 coin Hoxne Hoard have also helped drive the popularity of metal detecting.


Chris Langston (centre, alongside two clients) launched Metal Detecting Holidays in 2017 that operates in Shropshire


An 1841 Queen Victoria Silver Groat (left) and Queen Mary Silver Hammered Groat from 1553 to 1554. (right). Both posts received hundreds of likes on Instagram

Chris Langston, 45, launched Metal Detecting Holidays in 2017 that operates in Shropshire.

Guests pay 1,499, excluding flights, for a 12 day tour. They stay in a house in the village of Whittington, near Shrewsbury, and scour 500 acres of land that lies close to a 12th century castle and a Roman road.

He told The Times: 'I've been detecting for six or seven years and realised I wanted to make a business out of it give Americans their bucket-list holiday of a lifetime.

'My business partner has the accommodation and land that could make it happen.'


Mr Langston holds a Roman silver coin, dating from 77 to 78AD (left) and a carved stone owl (right) that were discovered during a trip



An English medieval copper badge, depicting St George slaying the dragon and dating to around 1400 to 1550


He told the paper that 60 per cent of Metal Detecting Holidays clients are from the US, but he also gets visitors from Australia and Canada.

Any finds are posted on the company's Instagram account, like a silver sixpence of Elizabeth I, a gold half guinea of George III and a Roman ring.

Mr Langston, who leads about eight tours a year from February to June and September to November, added: 'Because European settlement in America was so recent, it's very unusual there to find artefacts such as coins from before the 1700s.
'For Americans, even a coin from the 1800s is really old.

'They're mostly keen to find Roman, medieval and Bronze Age artefacts, especially hammered coins.'

Ken Cunliffe, 53, from New Jersey, said: 'I've been detecting for a few years. I'm fascinated by England's long and rich history, which is why I was so excited for my trip.'

He told The Times that he discovered a hoard of King John hammered coins from 1199 to 1216 and a 1570s coin of Elizabeth I.

The tours are potentially controversial as some archaeologists consider private detectorists to be plunderers.

However, operators register older finds with the Portable Antiquities Scheme, a voluntary programme to record non-treasure finds.


In November 1992 metal detecting enthusiast Eric Lawes stumbled upon the largest hoard of late 4th century Roman silver and gold ever discovered in the UK. The Hoxne Hoard (pictured) is now on display at the British Museum



Terry Herbert with a helmet cheek plate, one of more than 1,500 pieces which made up a Anglo-Saxon hoard he found in a field in Staffordshire in 2009

Detectorists from overseas can take finds home provided that they obtain export licences for items more than 50 years old.

But if a find qualifies as treasure under the Treasure Act it may be compulsorily purchased by a museum.

The proceeds are then split between the finder and landowner.

Two of Britain's greatest finds

The Hoxne Hoard:



In November 1992 metal detecting enthusiast Eric Lawes stumbled upon the largest hoard of late 4th century Roman silver and gold ever discovered in the UK.

The hoard of more than 15,000 coins and 200 silver and gold artefacts was found in a field near the village of Hoxne in Suffolk.

It is now on display in the British museum. Mr Lawes received 1.75million which was shared between himself and the landowner.

The Staffordshire Hoard:




In July 2009, Terry Herbert, chanced about the largest hoard of Anglo Saxon treasure ever found.

The 1,500 gold and silver items dating from the 7th to 8th centuries was bought by the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery and the Potteries Museum and Art Gallery


The BBC comedy series Detectorists, starring Mackenzie Crook and Toby Jones (pictured), and reports of huge finds like the 14,865 coin Hoxne Hoard have also helped drive the popularity of metal detecting

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/art...artefacts.html