History of Leith, Edinburgh

December 29, 2004

Treasure Trove find while out for a walk

An historic discovery from Scotland’s bronze age past has been made by two children from Edinburgh who handed in an ‘an odd shaped stone’ to the National Museums of Scotland.

The object, found on a path above Dunsapie Loch near Arthur’s Seat in Edinburgh by 12-year-old Robert Simon and his sister Kirsty, 10, turned out to be an early bronze age flint arrowhead.

Culture Minister Patricia Ferguson congratulated Robert and Kirsty saying that they had acted responsibly by handing the find over to Scotland’s Treasure Trove.

Robert said:

“I was walking along the path when I look down to see a piece of flint on the path. My grandpa and I though it was odd to see flint, so we looked closer and noticed how strangely shaped it was. I was pleased I’d found something so important.”

And Kirsty added:

“I thought it was just a small piece of stone but when we looked up close we saw the shape of it. We decided to take it to the museum to find out about it and ask what we should do with it. I’m glad that people will be able to go to the museum to see it.”

The Minister said:

“A small piece of Scotland’s ancient past has been uncovered which will tell us all more about how we lived and how new technologies developed and shaped Scotland’s history.

“We have today published the Executive’s response to the Review of Treasure Trove Arrangements in Scotland, making it clear how much importance we attach to the responsibilities of those who find historic treasures in Scotland.

“I hope that the improvements in Treasure Trove arrangements will help those who find treasure to share their find with the nation.

“Robert and Kirsty should be congratulated for acting so responsibly by bringing this exciting piece of Scotland’s past to the attention of experts.

“We will now be able to learn more about how people in ancient Scotland lived, how they developed technologies, and even about where we came from.

“This find is a small piece of Scotland’s ancient historical jigsaw, but a vital one. Well done to Robert, Kirsty and their grandparents for helping add another valuable addition to Scotland’s treasures.”

Alan Saville, Senior Curator of Earliest Prehistory at NMS, added:

“This arrowhead helps to throw light on the importance of the Arthur’s Seat area for Bronze Age settlement. The claiming of the find demonstrates the effectiveness of Scotland’s Treasure Trove system in ensuring the preservation of objects from our early past.”

The case is Treasure Trove 116/03, a Bronze Age barbed and tanged flint arrowhead.

It dates to the Early Bronze Age – a time when new people were moving in to Britain from the continent and bringing new technologies including introducing metal-working.

“It was likely used in warfare or hunting. The arrowhead is adding another piece of information to what is known about early settlement and occupation on Arthur’s seat. It has been allocated to The Museum of Edinburgh, on the Royal Mile – part of the City of Edinburgh museums service.

The publication of the Scottish Executive’s final response to the Normand Report will allow the majority of the recommendations on the Treasure trove system to be implemented.

For example, the Treasure Trove Advisory Panel will be preparing and issuing a Code of Practice and new guidance material, and an annual report will be produced and presented to the Scottish Parliament. In addition, the Executive will work towards merging the Treasure Trove Advisory Panel and the Finds Disposal Panel to provide a coherent service.

In November 2002 the then Queen’s and Lord Treasurer’s Remembrancer, Andrew Normand, was asked to carry out a review of the Treasure Trove arrangements in Scotland.

His report, “Review of Treasure Trove Arrangements in Scotland” was presented to the Scottish Executive in April 2003. Scottish Executive has published its amended response to the Normand Review in the light of responses to the consultation exercise, which concluded earlier this year.

It is the prerogative of the Crown to receive all lost and abandoned property which is not otherwise owned.

The crucial maxim within Scots common law is quod nullius est fit domini regis (that which belongs to nobody becomes our Lord the King’s [or Queen’s]).

Thus all objects whose original owner or rightful heir cannot be identified or traced are the property of the Crown. It does not matter whether objects were lost or intentionally hidden, or what material the objects are made of.

The system whereby archaeological objects are dealt with under bona vacantia is known for convenience in Scotland as Treasure Trove.

Source-Scottish Executive

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