Irish treasure to be returned from the UK

Artefacts were found by treasure hunters and taken illegally

Treasure hunters using metal detectors are believed to have been behind the removal of nearly 900 artefacts from Ireland that have been recovered in the UK. Pictured are 28 medieval silver coins which were recovered by Norfolk Constabulary. Photograph:  Ciara Wilkinson / National Museum of Ireland.

Treasure hunters using metal detectors are believed to have been behind the removal of nearly 900 artefacts from Ireland that have been recovered in the UK. Pictured are 28 medieval silver coins which were recovered by Norfolk Constabulary. Photograph: Ciara Wilkinson / National Museum of Ireland.

 

Nearly 900 artefacts including a Bronze Age axe and medieval coins found by treasure hunters using metal detectors have been returned to Ireland after being illegally taken to Britain.

The media will be given limited access to the items today but the National Museum said the artefacts would not be put on public display for some time.

“We know for a fact that metal detectors were used,” said Dr Ned Kelly, keeper of antiquities with the museum.

“The collection was amassed by an individual, now deceased, who operated in the Co Tipperary area with assistance from another person who did not reside within the jurisdiction.”

The treasure trove found in Norwich includes medieval silver coins, military items and a Bronze Age axe and spearhead and all are believed to have been illegally removed from Ireland between 2009 and last year.

“The most striking part is probably the coin hoard. It includes 28 medieval coins that were all found together as well as 30 silver coins that are also medieval, ” Dr Kelly added.

The recovery of the items, believed to have been taken from a number of sites in Tipperary, was the culmination of an investigation that started last year after the British Museum was alerted to discussions on the internet about metal detecting in Ireland.