The UK is rich with history and has been marked by so many cultures over the years. Invasions and settlements are a massive part of our past, and to this day we are still finding treasures, artefacts and pieces of historical interest that have been left behind by people who lived hundreds and thousands of years before us. Some people actively seek out treasure by metal detecting or carrying out archaeological digs – other, luckier people stumble across artefacts when on hikes, or digging in their gardens.
Interactive UK Treasure Map
Could you be sitting on top of a treasure hotspot? Don’t go pulling up your flowerbed just yet – we’ve done some digging of our own to find out where in the UK you are most likely to find treasure. Take a look at our interactive map to see how much treasure has been discovered in your area.
Top 5 Treasure Finds
In 2020, the British Museum reported that they had recorded a milestone 1.5 million treasure finds to the Portable Antiquities Scheme since 1997. Most, if not all of these, were found by the general public, and have provided vital clues to unlocking the secrets of the UK’s past – how we lived, what our cultures were like, and much more. These finds were identified as the top 5.
- The Ringlemere Cup – The oldest piece of treasure found in the UK. 1700-1500 BC | Found in Kent | Discovered in 2001
2. Roman Grots – Roman coins originating from the start of the Roman invasion. 43 AD to 410 AD | 320,000 found
3. Domitianus – the doubtful emperor (coin) – A very rare coin featuring the profile of Domitianus, a short-lived Emperor. 271 AD | Found in 2003
4. The Staffordshire Moorlands Pan – A bowl-like copper ‘pan’, believed to have been crafted as a keepsake for soldiers to celebrate Hadrian’s Wall. Mid 2nd century AD | Staffordshire Moorlands | Found in 2005
5. The Staffordshire Hoard – A collection of treasures from the Anglo-Saxon period, almost 4kg of gold and 1.5kg of silver were found in this hoard. 650-675 AD | Midlands | Found in 2009
Number of Treasure Cases By Region
As the capital city of the UK, London is a historian’s playground. The river that runs through the city, The Thames, has historically been used as a dumping ground, and items from all around the city have washed into it over the years – so is chock-a-block with artefacts both new and old.
Northern Ireland has a history as rich as the mainland UK, with evidence of 9,000 years of human activity recorded through archaeological finds[iii].
Treasure cases in the North East were surprisingly limited compared to other regions on the Eastern coast of England, with County Durham only recording 50 cases since 2012.
The North West is somewhat of an unexpected treasure trove, with 95 cases reported in Cumbria since 2012. There were a record number of treasure cases recorded in Cumbria in 2019, and it is now noted as a treasure hotspot.
Yorkshire & The Humber
Yorkshire & The Humber recorded a total of 741 treasure cases since 2021, with a huge 421 of these coming from North Yorkshire alone.
The East Midlands has recorded over 1000 treasure cases since records began. The British Museum has claimed these discoveries could have a significant impact on how we understand the past.
Since 2012, the West Midlands have recorded nearly 550 treasure cases – with 134 of these coming from the historical county of Staffordshire.
Wales doesn’t see as many discoveries as the rest of the UK, perhaps because more settlers would have landed on the Eastern coast of the UK. Despite lower numbers, the Vale of Glamorgan reported an impressive 45 cases of found treasure.
The East of England is, quite literally, a treasure trove, with 2400+ discoveries being made since 2012. Most of these came from Norfolk, with Suffolk and Essex recording 581 and 570 cases.
The South East falls short of Eastern England, but still recorded nearly 2000 cases of treasure finds since records began. Hampshire, Kent and Oxfordshire topped the rankings here.
The South West is definitely a treasure hot spot, with 336 discoveries made in Wiltshire, and similar numbers in Dorset. Overall, 1348 cases of treasure have been reported in this region.
All data used in this piece was gathered from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport statistical release on reported treasure finds from 2012 onwards.
Ryan Jenkins is a professional gardener and has been working in the gardening industry for over 25 years. This has allowed Ryan to accumulate a vast wealth of gardening knowledge which he shares on the Sefton Meadows blog.