GRAB your shovels — new figures have revealed a record number of buried treasure troves were discovered in Cumbria in 2019.

Fortune hunters and metal detectorists made 25 discoveries over the year, data from the British Museum and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport showed.

It represented the largest haul since 2012, while a total of 95 finds were reported in Cumbria over that eight-year period.

Jane Laskey, the manager at the Senhouse Roman Museum in Maryport, believed the finds helped to show the centuries of history in Cumbria.

She said: “Because of Cumbria’s geography and it’s position in the nation, at one point it was in Scotland and then in England and now part of a united kingdom, which has a huge impact.

“Also you think about the Viking raids and that kind of thing, the visable record on the landscape is really just place names — but there’s an amazing amount of heritage and objects to be found.

“Vikings carried their wealth in what were basically silver ingots and we’ve had some interesting finds relating to that.

“That’s really where metal detectors can really have a real impact, because we wouldn’t know about a lot of these finds without the activities of metal detectors.”

The Treasure Act 1996 currently defines treasures as finds older than 300 years, and made of gold or silver — or found with artefacts made of precious metals.

Treasure finds must be reported to the coroner within 14 days, who will then hold an inquest to decide if the find is treasure. Non-treasure finds are the remit of the Portable Antiquities Scheme.

However, in December the Government announced that a new definition would be introduced to protect treasures from being lost to the public.

It will see artefacts defined as treasure if they are “of historical or cultural significance.”

The move followed the growth in popularity of metal detecting, which brought to light a number of Roman finds that did not meet the current criteria for the definition of treasure.

Culture minister Caroline Dinenage said: “The search for buried treasures by budding detectorists has become more popular than ever before and many ancient artefacts now see the light of day in museums’ collections.”

Jane backed the move and said it would help more people experience our shared heritage.

She added: “Everybody benefits if the information about these objects is out there. It’s everybody’s history.

“As a museum, we’re interesting in building everyone’s knowledge and understand of what is out there and building people’s understanding of our history — it’s a history that belongs to everyone, and the more access the better. It’s a partnership between the museums, metal detectors, the Treasure Valuation Committee and the Portable Antiquities Scheme.”