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Payment of the treasure trove reward

What does the law declare?

§ 30. Objects from the past, including coins, found in Denmark, which no one can claim, is treasure trove if it is of valuable material or has special cultural-historical value.

Part 2. Treasure trove belongs to the state. Any person who finds treasure trove, or has it in their possession, must immediately submit it to The National Museum.

Part 3. The National Museum will pay a reward to the finder. The reward will be determined by The National Museum according to its value by material, uniqueness, and the level of care the objects have been handled with by its finder.

Part 4. If the treasure trove is unearthed during an archaeological excavation overseen by a state-recognized museum or is partially or fully financed by state finances, there will be no reward. In rare cases a reward is paid to the owner of the land where the excavation is taking place.

Part 5. The treasure trove is included in the collection of The National Museum which has the authority to lend out the objects to other state-recognized museums by their request. If there should be disagreement of the placement of the treasure trove between The National Museum and the local museum, the Minister of Culture has the final verdict.

The role of The National Museum

By the law § 30, part 4, it is declared that the only way that the reward should not be paid to a finder, is when the objects are unearthed during an archaeological excavation overseen by a state-recognized museum.

In this case, the reward is paid to the owner of the lands where the excavation is taking place. A reward will not be paid to the actual finder of the object, and the law does not differentiate between paid employees of the museum, volunteers, or random visitors. So far, The National Museum has worked from the principle that ‘an archaeological excavation’ doesn’t just include the digging of trenches, but also the surrounding piles of dirt and general area of the excavation field (cadaster).

‘An archaeological excavation’ also includes surface reconnaissance with a metal detector initiated by a museum (and by responsibility of the museum).

Within the timespan of a museum excavation, no difference is made between objects found during workhours or after workhours.

The law of treasure trove makes no discrimination in paying a reward to a person employed at a museum.