Whether you're a keen metal detectorist or you're just out for a nature hike, there's a chance you could find treasure that looks as though it might be of historical importance.
This exciting occurrence is rare, of course, but it does happen, with significant finds around the world occasionally appearing in the news.
So if you're one of the lucky ones and you happen to stumble across buried treasure, what do you do? You might be tempted to just pocket it and head home, but you could be breaking the law if you do so. If you try and sell your finds, you might end up in even more hot water. Instead, try and find out what you've got and what you should do with it.
Keep it safe
First of all, make sure you protect whatever it is you've found. You're unlikely to have any bubble wrap with you, but if you have any spare clothing or anything that can be removed, you can wrap it up carefully. If you've got a back, put your treasure inside to keep it even more protected. You're responsible for this item until you can find out what needs to be done with it, so be careful.
Try some basic identification
With coins, you can often take a good guess as to the sort of period it comes from, and searching online will tell you a lot about your find. This can also help you work out your responsibilities.
Anything else can be more tricky. Aboriginal items are protected by specific laws in some states, so if it looks like you've got something that falls into this category, contact a relevant person to get their advice.
Find a local expert
It's not always easy to find someone who can help you with such an unusual problem, but once you know where to look, you should be able to locate the right person. Local libraries and museums are often good places to begin. They may even have a member of staff who knows just what to do, but if not then they'll almost certainly be able to point you in the right direction.
You may be lucky and discover that there's an archaeological society in your area, but if not, there's a good chance there will be a club or society for history buffs. Failing that, contact the history department of your nearest university and you should be able to get hold of an expert only too happy to help you.