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Rewriting history with your metal detector

According to figures from the British museum, amateur archaeologists using metal detectors found 990 items of treasure during 2012. Some date back more than 1,200 years and include coins, brooches, gold, silver and rings.

Staffordshire Hoard
Staffordshire Hoard
Getty Images

Because the verification process takes several months, the items submitted in 2012 are only being detailed now.

Neil MacGregor, Director of the British Museum says that public is playing a huge part in rewriting history.

In the past fifteen years, a total of 8,500 archaeological items found by amateurs have been classified as treasure including precious metals, gold and silver.

The British Museum said the public's fascination with archaeology has grown as television shows have brought the hobby of treasure seeking to light. Such shows as Britain's Secret Treasures have a large following. Last autumn an average of 2.8 million people watched the show.

Because amateurs share their work, historians can now know more about how people worked and lived in the past.

It doesn't always take a metal detector to find treasure. In 2013 a young mountain climber scaling Mont Blanc discovered a box of jewels estimated to be worth up to $332,000. The jewels are believed to have been lost in the crash of an Air India flight in either 1950 or 1966. (See video.)

In 2009 in the UK, a metal detector hobbyist named Terry Herbert, discovered the largest Anglo-Saxon hoard in history while hunting in his friend's field. Over 1,500 pieces of Viking treasure were found and are now on display. (See slidehow.) You can learn more about this amazing treasure at its own website:

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