A treasure hunter thought he had discovered a valuable archaeological site when his metal detector uncovered antique tableware believed to be several hundred years old including candlesticks and fruit bowls hidden in a wood at Alland in Lower Austria.
But archaeologists quickly realised that all was not as it seemed when they found that the treasure was wrapped in a newspaper from 1979. Police were called and believe that the buried treasure was probably stolen property that had been hidden by a thief who for unknown reasons was either unable to recover it or had forgotten where it was buried.
They have now released images of the find said to be worth several thousand euros to see if the original owner can be traced.
There was no DNA or fingerprint evidence on any of the items.
A police spokesman said: “It is a mystery, but first the archaeologists thought it might be an ancient burial site but the newspaper quickly proved that was not the case. But we have no records of where these items might have come from and we are hoping the original owner might be able to provide a further clue.”
Anyone with information is asked to call +43 59133-30-3336.