Reports of treasure-trove discoveries appear in the Russian media about twice a year.
With its vast territory and tumultuous history of war, pillage and sudden power shifts, Russia is hardly a surprising destination for flocks of treasure hunters.
Given the fact that Russia’s banking system developed relatively late and left people to bury valuables in the ground for safekeeping, Russia has become something of a treasure hunter’s paradise.
In reality, treasure is discovered in Russia much more frequently than the press would have us believe.
Current legislation, however, means that treasure hunters are generally better advised to keep quiet about their findings: any unearthed treasure must be equally divided between the finder and the landowner.
If the find is thought to contain items of “cultural or historical significance,” half of the appraised value goes to the state, while the finder can claim only half of the remaining 50 percent.
Moreover, the treasure is often fraudulently appraised, so the finder really only receives a fraction of the real value.
Of course, this is not just about the money.
Treasure hunters believe in fairy-tales, and, in their minds, they are never far from discovering a legendary find. RBTH details the 12 most sought-after treasure-troves in Russia.