TWO Roman intaglio rings uncovered locally last year by metal detector enthusiasts have been declared treasure trove.

Riddlesden man Stephen Auker and colleague Mark Shepherdson found the rare 1st/2nd-century Roman silver rings during a search of pastureland in the district.

Now the pieces are set to be bought by a museum.

Mr Auker received news of the treasure trove declaration in a letter from North Yorkshire senior coroner, Rob Turnbull.

"I was thrilled," said Mr Auker.

"A museum has expressed an interest in the item, together with the ring found by Mark.

"We're always delighted when we can make some important contribution to our country's history through this kind of find – especially as the items were discovered locally – and we continue to search for the next treasures.

"If any landowner wishes to contact me to carry out a search, I would be delighted to hear from them."

Mr Auker says the intaglio rings are rarely found.

"They would be given to Roman children – mainly boys – who would often wear them around their necks," he said.

He added that the choice of field to search was "pot luck".

"I obtained permission to explore a pasture area which had not been hunted before by anyone with a detector," he said.

"I made four visits and found nothing.

"Then on my fifth visit I got a signal and dug-up the intaglio ring."

He received the OK for further exploration, when he located silver Denarius coins dating from around the same period and a Roman brooch.

And he was then joined by Mr Shepherdson, who as well as discovering the ring, unearthed silver and bronze coins.

The finds were reported to the Portable Antiquities Scheme, which records archaeological objects recovered by members of the public.

Mr Auker, an official volunteer recorder with the scheme, has previously made other finds which were subsequently declared treasure troves.

A hoard of 2,000-year-old silver Roman coins and a 16th-century Tudor ring were bought by Cliffe Castle Museum in Keighley last year, but are not on public display yet.

Each trove was valued at £400, to be split between Mr Auker – who put his share into a charity pot for Cancer Research UK – and the landowners.

Any landowner wishing to contact Mr Auker should call 07722 114503.