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Tuesday, 29 July 2014

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Rare ring unearthed in Carlisle could go on display

A rare gold ring unearthed in Carlisle by two metal detector enthusiasts could end up on display in a local museum.

Related: Roman coins found in Cumbria declared treasure

The Roman artifact was yesterday declared as treasure by Robert Chapman, assistant coroner for north and west Cumbria, following a five-minute treasure inquest.

He said he had reached his conclusion because of the age of the ring and its gold content.

Treasure includes any item found which is more than 300 years old and has a content of more than 10 per cent gold or silver – older items which do not comprise precious metal can also be regarded as treasure.

During the hearing Mr Chapman said: “It was found by Rob Williams, who I think was with his wife Tina, using a metal detector. It was a gold finger ring set with three stones.”

The ring was sent to the British Museum to be assessed by experts who said it dated from between the second and fourth centuries AD.

In a report it was described as being “made from gold, with a translucent purple glass gem, with two smaller stones to the sides, which were held in a box setting, with bifurcated shoulders, with a floral and leaf design.”

Although Mr Chapman could not be specific about exactly where the item was found, he said it was discovered last May on land owned by Carlisle City Council.

He added that, because of the age and precious metal content of the ring, it was covered by the Treasure Act (1996). The ring is likely to be offered to a local museum, provided funds can be found to buy it, with the proceeds split between the landowner and finder.

Mr Chapman said that he did not know the actual value of the item.

A city council spokeswoman said finds such as this usually went to Tullie House Museum.

Yesterday’s hearing was the second treasure inquest to be heard in Cumbria this week. A hoard of 144 Roman coins found on land near Maryport were declared a treasure trove.

They included 143 denarii coins and a single sestertius coin which dated to the second century AD.

In a letter, a member of the British Museum said the coins dated from the late Roman Republic to the reign of Emperor Marcus Aurelius.

It is understood that the Senhouse Roman Museum in Maryport is one of several museums that has expressed an interest in acquiring them for their collection.

The coins were found over a period of several days by two metal detector enthusiasts.

The first find of 91 denarii coins was made by George Frederick Brown on July 7 2012.

Then on March 8, 16 and 20 last year Mr Brown and Graham Ryan found 27 denarii coins and one sestertius coin.

A further eight denarii coins were found by the pair on April 18 last year and another 17 denarii on November 15.

Does Hadrian’s Wall have a secure future? – page 14

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