On this day 20 years ago, Eric Lawes a retired farmer from Hoxne in Suffolk, was mindlessly scouring a field he owned with a metal detector his wife had bought him 12 years earlier, looking for the hammer he had lost. He never found his hammer, however what he did find was a lot more incredible, he stumbled across the largest collection of late Roman silver and gold! A pirates and a archaeologists dream find, the discovery was the largest hoard to be found in Britain, for 1,500 years or more the treasures lay underground, undisturbed, after being buried in the early 5th century A.D.
The reason for the burial is unknown, however experts say it was to keep it out of the hands of invading Saxons. It was all carefully wrapped and is believed to belong to one VERY wealthy family.
The collection consists of over 15,000 coins and 200 items of gold jewellery and numerous items of silver tableware such as ladles and spoons. The items are now on display to the public in the British Museum in London, and are estimated to be worth around £2.66 million, that would of been a very happy pirate!
The brilliant hoard has strengthened the bond between archaeologist and metal detector and even influenced a change in law regarding finds of treasure! I wonder if sales of metal detectors will now rise..
Image credit: Ahala