A STREET cleaner’s dreams of finding treasure have been dashed by experts.

Mark Duckworth, of Ravenglass Close, Blackburn, found a ring he was hoping was an antique with his metal detector.


The ring has a bezel with a depiction of Christ with outstretched arms on it, with six raised dots on the band, which possibly signify wounds Jesus is said to have suffered on the cross.

Mark faced an agonising wait only to learn it has not been classed as treasure – making it the second time his interesting mud-clodded artifacts have missed the cut and had to be reclaimed.

It was recorded and identified by Stuart Noon at the Museum of Lancashire, who said the 188mm, 1.58g ring was post-medieval and from about the 19th century.

An official report into the find said: “The inscribed lettering maybe the owner’s initials and the form of the lettering would suggest a late post-medieval date 1750-1900. In the absence of any obvious parallels it cannot be confirmed that this is more than 300 years old.

“Therefore as the find cannot be securely dated to pre-1708 it falls outside the provisions of the Treasure Act 1996.”

All finders of gold and silver objects, and coins, more than 300 years old have a legal obligation to report items to the coroner in the district they were found within 14 days.

Following an inquest, the find is valued and a reward is paid or it is returned to the finder.

Mark, 58, was not too disappointed, and said he enjoys his hobby.

He said: “I got interested in lhistory when I was at Mill Hill Junior School, which doesn’t exist any more. We were studying about all these old pictures with people dressed as knights and women in strange clothes.

“I have been going out with a metal detector for 43 years – when I first went out my set cost £15 back in 1972.

“I found a Viking dress buckle which originates from Russia. It’s extremely rare and when I say extremely rare it’s one of two that have been found in this country – I recorded that back in February.

“I wouldn’t know how much it is worth but the law states it has to be 10 per cent precious metal but the buckle is a copper alloy.”