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Up To Date

Treasure Or Trash? Digging Up History

You may encounter them looking down, listening to their headphones. No, they're not listening to an iPod...they're attuned to their metal detectors, attempting to find buried treasure. 

More than just scavengers at the beach or the median of your street, metal detector users are looking for artifacts: and sometimes they're valuable.

But what happens when something found - by metal detector or other method - is of significant historic value? What rules apply, and is it "finders-keepers?"

Monday on Up to Date Steve Kraske welcomes the British Museum’s Roger Bland, who tells us about the successes of the U.K.’s Treasure Act and Portable Antiquities Scheme, legislation aimed at curbing the looting of historic sites while guaranteeing that those who find treasure are compensated.

We also speak with Daren Sommers, the aptly-titled treasurer of the Mid Western Artifact Society Metal Detecting Club. Sommers talk with us about his colleagues and what they find, how they find it, and what laws govern what they can keep.

HEAR MORE: Roger Bland speaks this evening at 6:30 at the Kansas City Library Plaza branch. A 6 p.m. reception preceds the event. Click here for more information.

Roger Bland is Head of Portable Antiquities and Treasure Department at The British Museum. Roger was formerly a curator in the Department of Coins and Medals and was seconded to the Department for Culture, Media and Sport for seven years. Roger is responsible for the Portable Antiquities Scheme, a project to record all archaeological objects found by the public in England and Wales, and for the Museum’s operation of the Treasure Act.

Stephen Steigman is director of Classical KC. You can email him at <a href="mailto:Stephen.Steigman@classicalkc.org">Stephen.Steigman@classicalkc.org</a>.
When I host Up To Date each morning at 9, my aim is to engage the community in conversations about the Kansas City area’s challenges, hopes and opportunities. I try to ask the questions that listeners want answered about the day’s most pressing issues and provide a place for residents to engage directly with newsmakers. Reach me at steve@kcur.org or on Twitter @stevekraske.