QLTR annual report on treasure trove

In the light of recent interest in the Queen's Lord Treasurer and Remembrancer in these pages here and here, Scots Law News was delighted to receive the following press release on 14 August 2009.

The Queen's and Lord Treasurer's Remembrancer today published his fourth annual Report on Treasure Trove, which has been presented to the Scottish Parliament.

The Report covers the period 1 April 2008-31 March 2009.  It comments on Treasure Trove matters dealt with by the Queen's and Lord Treasurer's Remembrancer (QLTR) and by the Scottish Archaeological Finds Allocation Panel (SAFAP).

Norman McFadyen, the Queen's and Lord Treasurer's Remembrancer, said:

"I am delighted to present my fourth Annual Report on the operation of the Treasure Trove system in Scotland. This has been an exceptionally busy year for the Scottish Archaeological Finds Allocation Panel and I am very grateful to the chair, Professor Ian Ralston and the whole Panel for the significant unpaid work which they continue to do in support of the Treasure Trove system. 

"This year's Report includes a detailed report by Professor Ralston in which he sets out some of the particular challenges which the Panel has faced this year and the publication of the Treasure Trove Code of Practice, which sets out the chain of responsibility for the various bodies involved and clarifies the process of determining the appropriate ex gratia award for a particular object.  I hope it will be of benefit to the diverse communities affected by it, whether they are in the field of museums or archaeology, metal detector users or indeed members of the general public with an interest in Scotland's heritage." 

This year's report includes details and pictures of finds of, amongst other items:

i) A Neolithic stone axehead from Lockerbie, Dumfries and Galloway.  Stone axeheads were essential tools for Neolithic farmers, but also had additional symbolic and ritual connotations. This example is made not from local stone, but from Langdale tuff, a Cumbrian stone which was quarried extensively in the Neolithic period. The discovery of these axeheads far from Cumbria is a striking indication of the network of long distance contacts underpinning prehistoric societies.

ii) An Early Bronze Age flanged axehead from Cardross, West Dunbartonshire, dating from around 1700-1800 BC. Like Neolithic stone axeheads, Bronze Age axeheads also had both ritual and practical purposes and the detailed decoration on this example suggests it was a ceremonial or ritual object.

iii) Two Late Bronze Age spearheads from Cademuir Hill, Scottish Borders, dating from 1000-800 BC which are typical examples of Late Bronze Age weaponry. While such weapons had a primary ? and obvious ? function, they too had a secondary use as votive offerings, which would be deposited in a place of sacred or ritual significance. These examples were found together, indicating they were deliberately placed there and thus suggesting ritual intent.

iv) A hoard of 155 medieval silver coins from Dumfries, comprising a mixture of English and Scottish coins issued in the 13th and 14th centuries. The coins comprise various issues of Edward I and II of England and David II of Scotland.

v) A double-sided medieval pilgrim badge from Crail, Fife.  One side depicts the crucifixion while the other shows the Virgin and Child.  Pilgrimages to visit a saint?s shrine were an important part of popular religious belief and these badges could be purchased to demonstrate the journey had been made, as well as to indicate the status of the wearer as a pilgrim.

vi) A medieval silver gilt finger ring, Inchaffray, Perth and Kinross: a fine example of what is known as a fede ring, the bezel depicting a pair of clasped hands. These rings appear to have been used as a form of betrothal ring, the clasped hands indicating the union of marriage, while the hoop of the ring carries a religious inscription invoking the names of Jesus and Mary.

vii) Seventy objects of medieval and post-medieval date from Cromarty, Highland, consisting of a range of items representing the personal possessions of the inhabitants of medieval and early modern Cromarty. The objects are a mixture of personal, dress and household objects and offer an interesting insight into the type of everyday and commonplace material culture used by the majority of the population at the time. This includes material from the Netherlands and other continental imports, illustrating the wide range of goods which could be obtained, even away from major political and population centres