UK & World News

  • 29 August 2014, 19:47

Gold Diggers Flock To Beach For Treasure Hunt

An artist has caused a gold rush on a beach after apparently burying thousands of pounds worth of the precious metal there as part of an arts festival.

Michael Sailstorfer says he has hidden 30 bars of 24-carat gold, worth £10,000, under the sand of Outer Harbour beach in Folkestone, Kent.

People are being encouraged to search the beach after low tide - and can keep any gold that they find.

The bars are around the size of a dog tag, and worth up to £500 each.

Rachel Kinchin, communications director at arts producers Situations UK, which is curating the project, said around 500 people had turned up so far, and described the response as "amazing".

She said: "There's so many stories of what people would do with it (a piece of gold).

"One guy who's redundant said he would start up his own business. Others want to keep it as a piece of art."

Ms Kinchin said they had received reports of four treasure hunters striking it lucky, although no one has officially come forward to them.

One of those who went down on Thursday, the first day of searching, was Vicky Webb, who told Kent Online: "I heard about this on the radio and I thought we should go down and join in.

"Some people are getting a bit frustrated at not finding anything but it's a lot of fun."

Ms Kinchin said there is no time frame for when the hunt will end, and added it was possible some of the gold might never be found.

The project by Berlin-based Mr Sailstorfer is called Folkestone Digs and is part of the town's triennial, which runs from August 30 to November 2.

A common theme of his work is said to be the "disruption of the everyday".

Situations UK said the project "is a continuation of his aim to make art that comes less from the head and more from the stomach".

Ms Kinchin said part of the work was about a "shared experience and sense of community".

Folkestone's triennial, which happens every three years, has previously included works by artists including Tracey Emin, Jeremy Deller and Martin Creed.