Unlike perhaps any other location on Earth, the United Kingdom has an incredible abundance of gold and silver treasure from both its medieval period and the earlier times when Ancient Rome controlled the British Isles.
Due to this rich and diverse history, people are digging up valuable treasure across the country—whether they are consciously searching using a metal detector or are simply doing their job!
Medieval Gold Ring
In Bronington, a community of North Wales, a man named Paul Byrne happened upon what he thought was a brass ring at a charity metal detecting event in 2014. Upon closer inspection, however, Mr. Byrne realized what he had was much more significant. It was noticeably different in hue than another medieval ring he had uncovered just weeks prior, which dated to the 12th century.
Byrne, a member of the Mold Historical Search Society, said, "When I came home I emptied my bag and a lot of the soil fell off and I noticed engravings and that it might be something special."
In fact, it turned out to be a 15th-century gold ring engraved with decorations of saints. The find was recently declared an official treasure trove by the county coroner after hearing testimony from an expert from the National Museum of Wales, Dr. Mark Redknap. Due to this ruling, Mr. Byrne will be entitled to half of the gold ring's appraised value. The News North Wales reports that the Wrexham Museum and Archives is interested in acquiring the artifact.
Notably, a silver ring from the 13th or 14th century was declared treasure at the same coroner's inquest.
Update on Yeovil Hoard
Earlier this year, a huge hoard of over 3,000 Ancient Roman silver coins found in South Somerset was likewise declared treasure. The interesting detail about this hoard, which dates to the 2nd and 3rd centuries, is that they were uncovered by a man operating a bulldozer on behalf of the district!
Mark Copsey was merely doing his job in 2013 when his bulldozer brought the coins to the surface at the soon-to-be site of the Yeovil Recreation Center. An incredible 40 different Roman emperors are depicted on the coins, all of which are silver denarii and radiates (in addition to four large brass coins).
The Yeovil Hoard, as it is fittingly being called, was officially valuated at £53,500 ($70,150). The South West Heritage Trust is in the process of attempting to purchase the coins so they can be displayed at the Museum of Somerset. Half of the coins' value (nearly £27,000) must be raised in order to acquire them.
"We would be delighted to see [the hoard] end up in the county museum where it will be seen and enjoyed by thousands of people and help to tell the story of Roman Somerset," said Steve Minnitt, the head of museums for the Trust.
"We would also like to hold an event in Yeovil exploring Roman treasures from south Somerset, when some of the coins could be displayed," he added.
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