From the Northern Echo:

HISTORIANS hope to acquire a Roman brooch found on North-East farmland to exhibit in London.

It was discovered by a man with a metal detector in 2000, but was left forgotten in his drawer for six years.

This week, an inquest heard that the item is attracting the interest of the British Museum, which hopes to add it to its collection.

The hearing, in Spennymoor, County Durham, on Tuesday, was told that experienced metal detectorist David Scott made the find.

Mr Scott, from Seaham, east Durham, was searching farmland at Seaton, near Easington, in October 2000 when he found the trumpet-shaped fragment.

He reported it to the Portable Antiquities Scheme, which records objects of historical importance found by members of the public, and Durham's county archaeologist.

Initially, it was believed to be a bronze item that would not be classed as treasure, but in 2001 it was found to be made of silver and dating from the Second Century. It is known as a trumpet-headed brooch because of the flared head, and features an acanthus leaf decoration.

It was probably used to fasten a cloak or tunic and could have connected to another brooch by a chain.

Mr Scott said: "It lay in a drawer for over six years until someone followed up on it recently and realised it could be special."

Coroner Graham Hunsley found the item to be made of a precious metal and older than 300 years, so declared the item as treasure trove.

It will now be valued and if no museum in the region expresses an interest in it, the British Museum hopes to buy it.

Dr Rob Cillins, finds liaison officer for the North-East, said the brooch was a fine example because the details of craftsmanship had not been corroded.

He said: "Mr Scott is a very responsible metal detectorist who always records his finds, even those he is not legally obliged to report.

"Because of this, Mr Scott has added to our knowledge of the past in County Durham."

Richard Hobbs, the British Museum's Roman Britain curator, said: "This type of brooch is reasonably rare. There are maybe a dozen like it.

"We feel if no local museum is interested, that it would complement our existing collection."