Finds of treasure in England, Wales and Northern Ireland are currently governed by the Treasure Act 1996. The definition of ‘treasure’ in the Act is complex, but in broad and general terms an object of treasure may be said to be an object of value, at least 300 years old, which has usually, but not necessarily, been found buried in the earth, the true owner of which is unknown or cannot be traced. Treasure belongs neither to the finder nor to the owner or occupier of the land on which it was found, but to the Crown or to its franchisee to whom the Crown has granted the right to treasure. A find of an object which the finder believes or has reasonable grounds for believing is treasure must be reported to the coroner for the area in which the object was found. He or she will hold an inquest to determine whether or not the object is treasure. Until the nineteenth century, treasure was regarded simply as a source of revenue for the Crown or its franchisee. But from that time the law of treasure came to be regarded as the means by which valuable objects of historical, archaeological, or cultural interest might be preserved for the nation.