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20 Years of the Treasure Act

2017 marks the 20th Anniversary of the Treasure Act, and also the advent of the Portable Antiquities Scheme (PAS). Although the Act was passed in 1996 it did not commence until 24 September 1997; it applies to archaeological finds fulfilling the definition of Treasure found on or after that date. Thanks to the Act over 5000 Treasure finds have been acquired by over 100 museums in the last 20 years; a further 1,242,000 finds have been recorded by the PAS.

The British Museum will be encouraging museums across England, Wales and Northern Ireland to join us in celebrating a ‘summer season of Treasure’ in 2017, and also highlight the work of the PAS.

Top 20 Treasures

  • The British Museum are planning a competition to identify the nation’s top 20 favourite Treasure finds. This will involve a national media partner (see below).
  • The BM will ask museums to propose items they think should be considered by emailing A shortlist will be produced by a panel of experts from which the public will be invited to choose its favourite Treasure.
  • The BM will be encouraging museums across the country to highlight Treasure finds in their collections, or produce displays. The BM very much hope this will also highlight the role of the PAS.


What you might like to do

  • Tell the BM about a Treasure find in your collection that is on display; they will compile a list of these.
  • Highlight this find. They will provide artwork of the 20 Years of Treasure logo (see below) which you are free to use on display cases and publicity material.
  • Plan an event (such as finds day, talk etc) with your local FLO to celebrate this find.
  • Work with your local FLO and local metal-detecting group to produce a display of finds found through the PAS.


  • The BM will be working with The Telegraph to profile the top 20 Treasure finds, the Treasure Act and the work of the PAS. This media activity will begin in May.
  • The BM will be discussing this event with BBC local radio.
  • The BM invite you to use the hashtag #Treasure20 on social media.


The British Museum Offer

  • The British Museum will provide artwork of the 20 Years of Treasure logo (see below). This will be free to use, provided in a variety of formats, and come with guidelines on use. We are also costing some materials (such as vinyl stickers) for you to be able to use.
  • Our FLOs and BM curators will be happy to support any work you do to highlight these finds.
  • The 2017 PAS conference will be in York on the theme of Treasure.
  • In due course we will provide regional skills sharing workshops on acquiring Treasure.

If you have any questions please contact Michael Lewis: / 0207 323 8611

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