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Britain’s Secret Treasures

Thu Oct 17, 8.30-9pm, ITV

Britain’s Secret Treasures
By Yolanda Zappaterra |
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Episode one
Not the secret stashes of the aristocracy, but a look at some of the 70,000 pieces of ‘treasure’ unearthed by the public and presented to the British Museum’s portable antiquities department each year for assessment. At first glance, some of these might leave you unimpressed, but the tales behind them are pure historical gold; a good example being the ten fragments of scrap metal found by Steve in Lincoln, which turned out to be parts of a Roman life-sized gold and bronze horse made for an emperor.

Equally arresting are the remains of a 1,400-year-old sword ‘killed’ as a way of honouring the death of its owner, which were found by Alan, a Man Utd employee who’s also a keen amateur archeologist. The eighteenth-century dentist’s mould he uncovers will have you squirming – and very pleased to be living in the twenty-first century.

But of course, the holy grail trail that Steve, Alan and their fellow detectors are on is gold, and a fascinating medieval ring found in Wales should have sales of metal detectors rocketing. Bettany Hughes and Michael Buerk do the eager presenter honours with effortless panache.

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