ASPIRING treasure hunters in the local area may be in for some luck as Hampshire has been found to be one of the best regions in the country for finding treasures.

New research by online metals retailer, metals4U, has revealed the most lucrative areas of the UK to go metal detecting, with many Brits looking for new outdoor pastimes to enjoy during their summer staycations.

In the past 12 months, a total of 2,006 discoveries were made in the county, making Hampshire the fifth best place for metal detecting in the UK.

Among the items found a gold ring was uncovered, the item belongs to a class of artefact known as ‘hair-rings’ and ‘ring-money’. Their function remains uncertain, although it’s likely they were personal adornments, possibly worn on the ears or nose, rather than being hair-ornaments or items of exchange.

Also found were coins, prehistoric metallic objects and artefacts that are at least 10 per cent precious metals such as gold or silver.

Paul McFadyen, managing director of metals4U, said: “It’s incredible to see the number and variety of discoveries in the past 12 months, from as far back as 4,000BC and throughout the ages. The data shows that there is still plenty out there to discover.

“With many staying in the UK this summer, we wanted to highlight metal detecting as a fun pass-time that you can enjoy outdoors whilst social distancing and hopefully inspire people to have a go.”

Elsewhere in the country, Norfolk saw the most finds in the last year, with 6,500 items discovered including a Bronze Age sword, a Medieval chandelier and various Post Medieval toys. Leicestershire (4,101), Suffolk (3,105), Lincolnshire (2,650), with Wiltshire coming in sixth with 1,689 discoveries.

Across the UK, over 44,000 items have been discovered via metal detecting since June 2019, the equivalent of 120 discoveries per day.

Most items originate from the Roman, Medieval and Post Medieval periods.

Anyone who thinks they have struck a hidden horde has to tell the coroner within two weeks, so the court can hold an inquest to decide who gets the loot.

If they don’t, they face an unlimited fine or up to three months behind bars.

Local and national museums are given the chance to purchase any pieces a coroner rules as treasure.

Last year the Chronicle reported on two items that had been declared as treasure, a piece of twist golden torc from the Bronze Age was discovered in farmland in Swanmore, and a brooch from the 14th Century was found in Hursley.

A golden ring-shaped item was also retrieved by Waltham Chase detectorist Geoff Slingsby back in August 2018, who described the 35mm-long brooch as a “cracking bit of kit”.