Buried treasure hunting in Luxembourg a “veritable plague”
Luxembourg is experiencing a “veritable plague” of amateur treasure hunters pillaging precious artefacts discovered using metal detectors.
The statement was made by the Centre Nationale de Recherche du Luxembourg Archéologique (CNRA) after police caught four Dutch men with metal detectors in a forest near Wiltz during the summer.
A CNRA spokesperson said that the treasure hunt for military memorabilia by metal detectors during the past 15 years had “degenerated into a veritable plague”.
According to eyewitness accounts, treasure seekers from Luxembourg, Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands have been spotted scouring forest sites in the Grand Duchy in the hope of unearthing artefacts from the Battle of the Bulge, which took place in Luxembourg during the winter of 1944-45.
“The mere collection of war relics should not be confused with historical research and battlefield archeology, which is carried out by serious historical associations under a statutory provision in the actual interest of the general public,” the CNRA said in a statement.
In addition to the loss of heritage and possible damage caused to artefacts by amateur diggers, the CNRA also warns potential treasure hunters of the dangers to health of digging up weapons and unexploded bombs.
The latest incident concerned four men who are known to have spent the last seven years searching for military memorabilia, mostly in the Netherlands and Belgium.
Police urge vigilance from residents and remind anyone wishing to go on unauthorised treasure hunts that they could be subject to fines of up to 25,000 euros and a prison term of up to six months.