What should I do if I find an antiquity?
If you find an object from the ground and you suspect it may be an antiquity, retrieve it and make a note of the exact location where the object was found. According to the Antiquities Act, objects over 100 years old that are discovered on land belong to the state, and the law requires the finder to report the findings to the Finnish Heritage Agency. It is against the law to sell them at an auction, for example.
- Don’t clean the object. Cleaning can destroy important information inadvertently, e.g. traces of textile behind a brooch. Do not also treat the object yourself with e.g. oil.
- Do not excavate the discovery site further. Because the discovery site of an object may be a dwelling site, a burial ground or some other ancient monument protected by the Antiquities Act, the site must not be excavated further.
- Carefully fill in the artefact information form concerning the finding conditions of the object and return it with the object to the Finnish Heritage Agency. In order to be able to determine the significance of the found object, it is crucial to have as accurate information as possible of the discovery site and its conditions. Answer in the artefact information form whether or not you want to donate the object to the collections of the National Museum of Finland or offer it to be redeemed.
- You can report your finding by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or send it directly to the Finnish Heritage Agency with the artefact information form (to address Sturenkatu 2a, 00510 Helsinki). You do not have to pay postage fees yourself, if you state at the post office that the delivery concerns a customer return. The customer return ID of the Finnish Heritage Agency is 610146 (this ID may be requested at the post office).
Redemption of an artefact
The Finnish Heritage Agency may redeem a finding or transfer the redemption right to another museum. The redemption price of an artefact made of a precious metal is at least the value of the precious metal increased by 25 per cent. Processing time is the period starting from the time of initiation of the matter and ending in the decision. The matter is initiated when the object is registered; in other words, when it receives a main number.
There is a delay in processing redemptions. Currently, the processing time for redemptions is about 3 years.
Findings originating from a known ancient monument belong to the state free of charge. The finder is awarded with a certificate of honour if he or she wants to donate the finding to the collections of the National Museum of Finland.