A ROMAN ring that was discovered in a field near York has been classified as an item of treasure, an inquest heard.

The silver ring which could date as far back as first century AD, was discovered by Peter Spencer, while he was searching a field in Dunnington using a metal detector.

The jewel, whose value will be determined by the treasure valuation committee, was despatched to the British Museum, where it was examined, and a report on it completed.

The report, by Ralph Jackson, at the museum’s department of pre-history and Europe, described the find as a small, Roman silver finger ring, incised with a stylised palm-branch motif, flanked at the base by a pair of crosses.

It said the jewel was “a complete, undamaged example of a slender Roman ring type made variously in gold, silver or copper alloy. The palm-branch motif was a ubiquitous symbol of victory believed to offer protection against malignant forces and to help a deceased wearer reach the afterlife.” The British Museum said there has been “reasonable interest” in acquiring the item, the inquest was told.

A spokesman for the York Museums Trust yesterday said it was unable to confirm whether the the Yorkshire Museum was interested in purchasing the treasure. Giving his verdict, York coroner Donald Coverdale said: “This item is made of silver, its origin is first to third century AD – so on these two criteria it can be classified, and I do classify it, as treasure.”

Mr Coverdale said he hoped the ring would go to the Yorkshire Museum. The report said the ring dated from between the first and third centuries AD, and that it weighed 4.3 grams.