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'Like stray words or letters' The development and workings of the treasure trove system

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Chapter Summary

This chapter discusses how Treasure Trove has developed and how it affects people today. It highlights some of its complexities, tensions and successes. The development of archaeology as a discipline and profession saw the development of a belief that antiquities could only be properly understood by archaeologists and thus the use of Treasure Trove to create a mechanism by which all such finds could be claimed for archaeological research. The Treasure Trove system has clearly saved individual finds from being 'mere matters of idle curiosity and wild conjecture' by bringing them into museums 'beside their fellows'. Until recently, these 'fellows' were all in the National Museum. The Treasure Trove procedure needs to be treated as much more than a stray word in the story of Scottish archaeology.

Keywords: archaeological research; National Museum; Stray Words; Treasure Trove system



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