It’s amazing what you can find! These unbelievable discoveries of 2008 make it exciting to be a collector, and for many of these lucky finders, provide quite a nice cash reward as well. Maybe it is finally time to dig your old metal detector out of the closet (doesn’t everybody have one of those?) and think about building some extra income this year – with some kind of awesome discovery! Avast, matey, buried treasure!
1. Gold Coins found in Jerusalem
The Israel Antiquities Authority reported a thrilling find Sunday — the discovery of 264 ancient gold coins in Jerusalem National Park.
The coins were minted during the early 7th century.
“This is one of the largest and most impressive coin hoards ever discovered in Jerusalem — certainly the largest and most important of its period,” said Doron Ben-Ami and Yana Tchekhanovets, who are directing the excavation on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority.
Researchers discovered the coins at the beginning of the eight-day Jewish holiday of Hanukkah, which started at sunset on Sunday.
One of the customs of the holiday is to give “gelt,” or coins, to children, and the archaeologists are referring to the find as “Hanukkah money.”
Nadine Ross, a British archaeological volunteer, happened onto the coins during the dig just below the walls of the Old City of Jerusalem.
“To be honest, I just thought, ‘Thank God I didn’t throw it in the rubbish bucket,’ ” said Ross, who had taken four weeks off from her engineering job in England to work at the site. “I was just glad I sort of spotted it before I disturbed it too much.”
The 1,400-year-old coins were found in the Giv’ati car park in the City of David in the walls around Jerusalem National Park, a site that has yielded other finds, including a well-preserved gold earring with pearls and precious stones.
2. A Hobbyist with a Metal Detector Strikes Gold… and Silver!
AMSTERDAM, Netherlands — A hobbyist with a metal detector struck both gold and silver when he uncovered an important cache of ancient Celtic coins in a cornfield in the southern Dutch city of Maastricht.
“It’s exciting, like a little boy’s dream,” Paul Curfs, 47, said Thursday after the spectacular find was made public.
Archaeologists say the trove of 39 gold and 70 silver coins was minted in the middle of the first century B.C. as the future Roman ruler Julius Caesar led a campaign against Celtic tribes in the area.
Curfs said he was walking with his detector this spring and was about to go home when he suddenly got a strong signal on his earphones and uncovered the first coin.
“It was golden and had a little horse on it — I had no idea what I had found,” he said.
After posting a photo of the coin on a Web forum, he was told it was a rare find. The following day he went back and found another coin.
“It looked totally different — silver, and saucer-shaped,” he said. Curfs notified the city of his find, and he and several other hobbyists helped in locating the rest of the coins, in cooperation with archaeologis
3. 300 Morgan Silver Dollars Found in Backyard Treasure
The Case of the Missing 300 Silver Dollars, or What In The World Is Something Like That Doing In A Place Like This, likely will never be solved. That they were actually uncovered is astonishing enough, but to find out why 300 Morgan silver dollars from 1887 in mint condition were under a foot of hardened soil on former Amarillo Mayor Jerry Hodge’s property, well, let your imagination be your guide.
Our story begins June 11. Plumbers were digging a trench to run utilities for a pool house and swimming pool on property Hodge had purchased adjacent to his home on Oldham Circle in Amarillo. Randy McMinn had a backhoe about a foot deep when on one particular scoop, mixed in with the dirt, was found a bunch of dingy little objects.
Whoa, time out. Work came to a halt, and closer inspection revealed them to be coins – old coins from 1887. Careful digging found a lot more in some kind of fine plastic, what Margaret, Hodge’s wife, described as sort of an old version of Saran Wrap. Lest anyone think plastic is a recent invention, plastic was used as early as World War I.
The coins had Lady Liberty on one side and the American eagle on the other. A little bit of homework found them to be Morgan silver dollars, which were minted from 1878 to 1904. A count of the coins totaled 100 … 150 … 200 … 250 … 300 of them.
4. Treasure Hunter Discovers Gold Ring with Rare Black Diamond
A treasure hunter was stunned when he unearthed a beautiful and historic gold ring with a rare black diamond set inside it in a muddy field.
John Stevens, 42, couldn’t believe his eyes when he rubbed off the soil and saw lettering indicating the ring was from the early medieval period, possibly the 11th century.
It is believed the ring would have belonged to a wealthy person either from the Church, or possibly even royalty.
Black diamonds are rare today and would have been even rarer nearly 1,000 years ago, having come from Africa.
The ring has not yet been valued but is thought it could be worth tens of thousands of pounds.
It is currently being examined and will go to an inquest where it will almost certainly be recorded as treasure.
Mr Stevens, a businessman from Hinckley, has been metal detecting for 30 years, and this find in his home county of Leicestershire is his most valuable yet.
After discovering it he contacted antiquities specialist Brett Hammond from Time Line Originals.
5. Amateur Hits Gold Unearthed Golden Collar Valued at over $500,000
An iron age gold collar worth more than £350,000 that was found by an amateur metal detectorist in a muddy field in Nottinghamshire was described yesterday as the best find of its kind in half a century.
“I was only in the field because a customer kept me late,” Maurice Richardson, a tree surgeon from Newark, said yesterday. “Normally I’d never want to go into this field because a plane crashed there in the last war, and the whole place is littered with bits of metal.”
The first beep from his detector was indeed a chunk of wartime scrap metal, but as he bent down to discard it, his machine gave a louder signal. Expecting to find a bigger chunk of fuselage, he instead discovered the 2,200-year-old collar.
The piece, a near twin of one already in the British Museum, was the most spectacular of 1,257 finds reported over the last three years. Treasure reports have increased every year since the Portable Antiquities scheme was set up to record finds by the public in England and Wales.
“It’s a fabulous thing, the best Iron Age find in 50 years,” said JD Hill, head of the British Museum’s iron age department. “When I first saw a picture of it I thought somebody was pulling my leg because it is so like the Sedgeford torc in our collection that it must have been made by the same hand.
6. Treasure Hunter Finds Rare Gold Coins
A treasure-hunter could be in line for a small fortune after unearthing two rare coins that shed light on a little-known rebel Roman emperor.
Derrick Fretwell’s finds, which date back to AD286 and the reign of Carausius, have been hailed “priceless” by experts at the British Museum. Mr Fretwell, 57, was digging in a field near Ashbourne, Derbys, when he uncovered the coins, which are at least 90 per cent gold.
The discovery of these two gold coins sheds light on a little known ‘British’ Emperor.
Gold coins of Carausius are extremely rare, until now only 23 being in existence. The last example found was in 1975 in Hampshire and it is quite possible that we will have to wait for over 30 years before another one sees the light of day.
Carausius was a Menapian (from modern Belgium). In the AD 280s he was the commander of the Roman Fleet (“Classis Britannica”) that patrolled the English Channel and North Sea. The fleet was commanded from Boulogne and one of its major functions was to defend Britain and Gaul (France) from Saxon raiders. Carausius fell foul of the Roman emperors Diocletian and Maximian, supposedly because he allowed the Saxons to RAID and only intercepted them afterwards, keeping the stolen loot for himself! Rather than hand himself over, Carausius declared himself emperor of Northern Gaul and Britain and set up his own mini-empire.
7. 72 Year Old Woman Uncovers Roman Treasure
A 72-YEAR-OLD woman found a piece of Roman treasure on farmland near Clifton. Alice Wright found the small gold leaf while using her metal detector in the Clifton area on March 23.
The leaf was declared as treasure trove, meaning she may receive a reward for her find, at an inquest in Nottingham.
Mrs Wright, from Littleover in Derby, has sent the object to the British Museum, and another museum is interested in acquiring it.
The Roman votive leaf is believed to date back to sometime between the first and fourth century.
Coroner Dr Nigel Chapman said: “The object was incomplete and folded to suggest that it had been removed from its original temple context.
“It is characteristic of Roman votive plaques that were dedicated at temples and shrines in Britain.”
He congratulated Mrs Wright on finding the treasure and sending it on to the British Museum.
8. Viking Hoard Discovered in Sweden
Hundreds of ancient coins unearthed last week close to Sweden’s main international airport suggests the Vikings were bringing home foreign currency earlier than previously thought, archaeologists say. Buried some 1,150 years ago, the treasure trove is made up mainly of Arabic coins and represents the largest early Viking hoard ever discovered in Sweden.
Archaeologists from the Swedish National Heritage Board unexpectedly found the stash of 472 silver coins while excavating a Bronze Age tomb near Stockholm’s Arlanda airport.
Kenneth Jonsson, a professor of coin studies at the University of Stockholm, has independently dated the hoard to about A.D. 850.
“That date is very early, because coin imports [by the Vikings] only start in about [A.D.] 800,” Jonsson said.
The discovery contains more coins than Sweden’s only other known large Viking hoard from the period, which was discovered in 1827, Jonsson added.
9. Metal Detector Enthusiast Finds 6000 Roman Coins
One of the largest deposits of Roman coins ever recorded in Wales, has been declared treasure trove.
Nearly 6,000 copper alloy coins were found buried in two pots in a field at Sully, Vale of Glamorgan by a local metal detector enthusiast in April.
After the ruling by the Cardiff coroner, a reward is likely to be paid to the finder and landowner.
It is hoped the coins will be donated to National Museum Wales, which has called the find “exceptional”.
Two separate hoards were found by the metal detectorist on successive days, one involving 2,366 coins and the other 3,547 coins, 3m away.
The 1,700-year-old coins dated from the reigns of numerous emperors, notably Constantine I (the Great, AD 307-37), during whose time Christianity was first recognised as a state religion.
Derek Eveleigh, 79, from Penarth, who came across the hoards in a field of sheep, has kept his find a secret until the outcome of the inquest.
10. Bus Driver Digs up £80,000 Worth of Bronze Axe Heads
Bus driver and metal detector fanatic Tom Peirce is in for a bumper pay day after unearthing 500 Bronze Age artefacts – one of the largest ever ancient finds.
Amateur treasure hunter Mr Peirce started combing a field after dropping off a school coach party at a farm – and now he could have a haul worth more than £80,000 on his hands.
Within a few minutes, the device began beeping and the 60-year-old dug 10 inches into the ground to find a partial axe head.
He realised he had struck it lucky when he dug deeper and found dozens more.
Over the next two days, he and colleague Les Keith uncovered nearly 500 bronze artefacts dating back 3,000 years.
The find prompted a Time Team-style search of the area by excited archaeologists.
The hoard, which included 268 complete axe heads, is one of the biggest of its kind found in Britain.
Mr Peirce, 60, will have to split any proceeds with landowner Alfie O’Connell.
Mr Peirce said: “We are extremely thrilled and excited because this was a once-in-a-lifetime find. It’s like winning the lottery – you don’t think it is going to happen to you.
“If you speak to other detectorists, they will find a nice coin or something in 20 or 30 years of treasure hunting.
“You do it as a hobby – you don’t do it for the money but if you strike it lucky then so be it.”
Mr Peirce stumbled upon the field after taking a group of schoolchildren for a day out at the farm near Swanage, Dorset.
He asked farmer Mr O’Connell for permission to search the two-acre field and later returned with Mr Keith.
The hoard was found up to 2ft down in three holes spread 50ft apart.
It is believed there was a Bronze Age settlement nearby where the axe heads would have been manufactured.