Most prosperous countries have legislation for what kinds of archaeological finds a citizen has to hand in to the authorities. In Denmark, still using a Medieval term, such finds are termed danefae, “property of the dead”. And here is Danish TV4′s list of the top-10 such finds of 2012. All but one of them have been handed in by detectorists, and two by Swedish detectorists operating in Denmark because of Sweden’s restrictive rules!
It wouldn’t really be worthwhile to make a top-10 like this for Sweden, as the pretty gold & silver metalwork they concentrate on in the program is usually found detectorists, and we don’t allow the honest ones to go looking in Sweden. The reason that precious metals are so interesting to archaeologists isn’t their market value, but their resistance to corrosion. Most of the beautiful craftsmanship of the past has disintegrated or become unrecognisable. But the precious metalwork endures unchanged.
Thanks to Morten Axboe and Tobias Bondesson for the tip-off.