As metal detectors become widely owned and hobbyists take up treasure hunting, inevitably more and more major finds keep coming to light.
An amateur treasure hunter who uncovered one of the largest hoards of Anglo Saxon coins ever found in Britain – worth Â£1million – almost missed the dig because he couldn’t afford the petrol.
Paul Coleman, 59, persuaded his son and a friend to join him on the excavation on farmland in Lenborough, Buckinghamshire just before Christmas so he could split the Â£45 cost for the journey.
But the unemployed father-of-two hit the jackpot when he dug up the pristine collection of more than 5,000 silver coins made in the reigns of Ethelred the Unready (978-1016) and Cnut (1016-1035).
It is thought that the find could be connected to a mint established by Ethelred at nearby Buckingham and which remained active during the time of Cnut.
The 5,251 – and a half – coins were in a lead-lined container buried two feet under ground. Only some have been properly cleaned but all have proved to be in excellent condition.
The expedition â€“ in Lenborough, Buckinghamshire â€“ was an annual end-of-year Christmas rally for members of the Weekend Wanderers Detecting Club. …
[T]he find, which has been sent to experts at the British Museum for analysis, could be worth around Â£1million.
Simon Keynes, professor of Anglo Saxon at Cambridge University, said the collection â€˜straddled an extraordinary period of historyâ€™ during which the Vikings took control of England.
He added: â€˜The question is, how do we account for the composition of this hoard? Is it a hoard of a Viking â€“ his accumulated wealth â€“ or is it something else? Only half of the coins have been cleaned so far â€“ the eventual date range could prove to be much more expansive.
â€˜Until then, the hoard could be difficult to explain, but it is certainly an extraordinary find.â€™
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