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Metal detecting - it's the big one!

Updated on March 14, 2011

Huge find of Anglo-saxon treasure

A 55-year old metal detectorist has found a treasure trove of Anglo-Saxon artefacts buried just below the surface of a field in Staffordshire, UK.

Some of the best finds are now on display in the British Museum in London, in Room 37 which is above the South stairs. There are still traces of soil on some of them. There is no admission charge, as it is not a full-blown exhibition.

It's believed to be one of the most important finds of recent times in the UK, dwarfing even the legendary treasure of Sutton Hoo, which is on display at Sutton Hoo near Woodbridge, Sufffolk, and also in the British Museum. In total, there are about 1,500 gold objects, which probably date from the Dark Ages, around the 7th century, and there are also many glass, silver and enamel pieces.

A lot of the gold objects discovered look very similar to the Sutton Hoo finds ( a ship burial) with their inlaid garnet work, fine enamelling and intricate interweaved patterns. This stuff is as interesting in terms of artistic value as it is historically, in my opinion. It is so beautiful in design that it makes modern work look pretty average.

At least 5kg of gold objects and a large amount of silver is in the hoard, which has been excavated by archaeologists after the initial finds.

On the BBC News website you'll find some excellent short videos, with details of this amazing discovery, which is likely to add to knowledge of the Anglo-Saxon era in British history. There is also a slideshow of the remarkable artefacts that have been found. From the human interest point of view, it's really nice that after 18 years of dedication, this metal detectorist has hit the big time - both financially and in terms of job satisfaction.

The treasure hoard has military aspects to it, and may have been the pension plan of an Anglo-Saxon warlord - though probably it will never be known for sure. What is fascinating is the possibility of other finds like this, which anyone could find given the persistence.

So, that is a compelling idea - the lost world right beneath our feet, endlessly ploughed over, but never found - until now.

Buying a metal detector

Some good advice is available at the garys detecting website, link is below. In a nutshell, Gary advises you to avoid all Chinese made (including re-branded) machines, and recommends spending at least £250-350 ($500) on a machine to avoid disappointing results.The Tesoro brand does well in his reviews.

It's important to select different models for different applications - whether you are looking for coins or more substantial relics and the terrain involved.


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    • Jon Green profile imageAUTHOR

      Jon Green 

      6 years ago from Frome, Somerset, UK

      Hi - would make a good holiday, just seeing the Roman sites.

    • Wesman Todd Shaw profile image

      Wesman Todd Shaw 

      6 years ago from Kaufman, Texas


      You folks have so much history over there - I'm always a bit jealous about that.

    • Jon Green profile imageAUTHOR

      Jon Green 

      6 years ago from Frome, Somerset, UK

      Thanks ziyena. Near where I live there have been two very large finds recently - about 50,000 Roman coins!

    • ziyena profile image

      Ziyena Brazos 

      6 years ago from Somewhere in Time ...

      When I was a kid my father gave me a metal detector for my birthday. Every so often we would go to the old farm in West Virginia where there was once a Civil War skirmish. What joy I had when I found mini balls and old tin cups! Now days with all these laws it's harder and harder to enjoy such a hobby, especially treasure hunting. Great hub ... thanks for the memory! :) Voting Up

    • profile image 

      7 years ago

      A place with the history of the UK must be a treasure trove for metal detecting - in Australia people comb the beaches with them and find all sorts of artefacts - of course not Anglo-Saxon!

    • Jon Green profile imageAUTHOR

      Jon Green 

      9 years ago from Frome, Somerset, UK

      Thanks for you comments -I've been interested in detecting for a while,though not interested enough to actually do it! -and you're right about the need for adventure which it seems to address.The Anglo-Saxon stuff is really fantastic, and kind of alien at the same time.Sutton Hoo is worth a visit (in Suffolk)Suffolk is Anglo-Sax for South Folk. Clearly in the 7th century it was where it was at.

    • KCC Big Country profile image


      9 years ago from Central Texas

      Thanks for sharing this on the Hub Requests. My dad built several metal detectors that I'm supposed to pic up from my mother's. Dad died last year. I remember doing a lot of treasure hunting with my dad when I was a young girl. I remember one time he and his friend thought they found a a treasure chest by the size of it. Turned out to be the hood off an old Model T type car which is about the size of a chest. LOL They were a tad disappointed.

    • bayareagreatthing profile image


      9 years ago from Bay Area California

      I love this! treasure hunting is so adventurous!


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