A SILVER button unearthed in a St Albans field has been declared buried treasure, after experts found it dated back to the 16th Century.

The button, in the shape of an acorn, was found using a metal detector and taken to Dorset Museum, during an open day when unknown items could be taken in for valuations.

The man who found the button, who is from Somerset, informed the museum he found it while using a metal detector during the August bank holiday weekend in 2007.

The item was sent to Dorset County Council in October 2007, and was later forwarded to the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, for the British Museum. After it was established to have been found in a “rural” area of St Albans, it was sent to the coroner of Hertfordshire, Edward Thomas.

Inquests are often held into objects at least 300 years old, where if a local museum expresses an interest in the find, the local coroner must determine whether the item is considered “treasure”.

If it is, the landowner where the item was found, and the person who found it, may be entitled to a reward. However, if it is not “treasure”, the item is returned to the finder.

In this case, St Albans Museum expressed an interest in the button, after Dr Dora Thornton, the curator of renaissance collections at the British Museum, identified it as a “post-medieval button”.

The object is hollow, made from silver sheets soldered together to create the acorn shape, and has two holes in one side. It is 1.5cm in length, and dates back to the 16th Century.

Mr Thomas said: “I am satisfied there is interest from St Albans Museum to display it. I'm satisfied it was an isolated metal detecting find that fulfils the qualifications of treasure. Therefore, I declare it treasure.”