Metal detecting has gone from a niche hobby shared by a handful of dedicated enthusiasts to something much more mainstream - and it’s causing chaos!
Check out these incredible stories about metal detecting in 2019, arranged in chronological order.
Detectorist Set For Massive Payout After Finding Remains Of An Ancient Chariot
Metal detectorist Mike Smith from Pembrokeshire is set to receive half of a seven-figure sum for his discovery of an ancient, iron age chariot, news reports confirm.
Smith found the remains in the south of Wales on a metal detecting trip. Rules in Wales means that he will have to share fifty percent of the proceeds with the landowner. The law also states that he must sell all 34 artefacts he discovered to museums - he cannot keep any of the finds for himself.
Kent Woman Unearths “Chocolate Coin” Only To Later Discover That It Is An Anglo-Saxon Pendant
Rachel Carter, 41, was in a field in Kent with her partner when she stumbled upon what she thought was a gold chocolate coin.
The gold coin was later discovered to be a 1,500-year-old Anglo-Saxon pendant when examined by experts, perfectly preserved because of its gold construction.
Carter initially believed that she had found a “piece of junk” and tried to unwrap the pendant to reveal the chocolate inside. When she struggled to do so, she took it over to her partner, Ricky Shubert, and asked what he thought it was.
Shubert immediately saw that Carter had found an object of immense value.
Detectorist Damages 5,000-Year-Old Monument In Jersey
Jersey police reported in January that a man had been spotted illegally using a detector at a grade one archaeological site.
Metal detecting at the site known as La Hougue de Vinde dolmen requires written permission, the police said.
The site the alleged offence took place is an ancient Neolithic monument. Police said that they had found several back-filled holes, indicating metal detectorist activity in the area.
The dolmen is one of the earliest-known man-made structures on the island. Jersey Heritage’s curator of archaeology told local news that it was shocked and saddened by the incident and requested that islanders who see any suspicious activity report it immediately.
British Metal Detectorist Discovers He Has A Roman Coin Worth £10,000, 30 Years After Finding It
Tom Thomas from Reading is a life-long metal detectorist. Back in the early 1990s, he found a small but rare Roman coin for his collection in a farmer’s field.
Thomas added the coin to his collection and then thought nothing more of it.
Thirty years later, metal detectorist friend of Mr Thomas, Mark Becher, was at a BBQ at his house, when he saw the coin.
Becher, who has been metal detecting for more than 25 years, said that he’d never seen anything like it. He suggested that its uniqueness and rarity could make it valuable.
Little did Thomas know that what he had found was a Carausius Denarius coin featuring the Roman goddess Salus feeding a snake, dating to between 286 and 293 AD.
He later put the coin up for auction with a guide price of £10,000.
Metal Detectorist Finds Enormous Ultra-Rare 4.3kg Roman Gold Coin Worth £442,000
A man, who wished to remain anonymous, found an ultra-rare, 4.31kg Roman coin dating from the time of the usurper emperor, Allectus.
The coin was found on a farm in June by the amateur detectorist near to Dover, Kent who did not wish to be named. The coin depicts two slaves kneeling at the feet of the god Apollo.
Valuation experts initially expected the coin to a little under £100,000 at auction. However, it later sold for more than £442,000, more than five times its maximum estimate.
The detectorist who found it told local news that he felt ecstatic and that he could not believe it. He thought that the coin might sell for slightly above the estimate, but not five times more.
The lucky finder said that he would share the money with the farmer, under the fifty-fifty rules that govern the finding of treasure in England.
Metal Detectorist Finds Gold Ring Worth More Than £10,000 In Loch Lomand
Michelle Val from the Blackpool area found a ring that experts believe is worth more than £10,000 while metal detecting at Duck Bay near Balloch in West Dunbartonshire.
The ring is believed to have once belonged to a courtier of James II of England from Suffolk. The courtier worked for James during his time in Scotland before he ascended the throne.
Michelle Vall declared the ring a treasure and proceeded to try to sell it to the National Museum of Scotland. They did not want it, and so she arranged a private auction at Dix Noonan Webb in London.
Metal Detectorist Couple Discover £5 Million Hoard - One Of The Largest In History
A metal detectorist couple found an impressive hoard of more than 2,600 coins dating from the Battle of Hastings in August 2019, which experts valued at more than £5 million.
The hoard, found in an unploughed paddock in Somerset, comprises 2571 silver pennies from the era of King Harold II, the last Anglo-Saxon king to rule over England before the invasion of William the Conqueror.
The striking thing about the hoard is that much of the silver is still in mint condition, with the metal relatively untarnished, despite having been in the ground for the better part of a millennium.
Valuable experts believe that each coin will sell for somewhere between £1000 and £5000 at auction.
The coins were worth a substantial amount of money even back in Anglo-Saxon times. The haul reveals that a very wealthy person must have once lived in the area and probably buried them for safekeeping.
The Church Of Scotland Sues Metal Detectorist For Share Of £2 Million Hoard Found On Its Land
In September 2019, Derek McLennan discovered a 10th-century hoard of gold artefacts on Church of Scotland land, worth an estimated £2 million.
In England, landowners and detectorists share fifty-fifty in any treasure that they find. In Scotland, however, the rules are different: the finder receives all the money, with none of it going to the landowner.
McLennan’s received a multi-million-pound payout from National Museums Scotland for the find.
The Church of Scotland, however, has taken issue with this, claiming that the original agreement was that it too would share in the proceeds. It says that it has filed a case with the Court of Sessions and intends to sue Mr McLennan.
Police Scramble Along Hadrians Wall To Stop Nighthawker Metal Detectorists From Destroying The Monument
In 2018, the news broke that illegal metal detectorists - often called “nighthawkers” - were digging dozens of holes along Hadrians’ Wall, potentially putting the structure at risk.
In 2019, police announced that they would begin dedicated patrols along the 73-mile monument to deter vandalism.
Historic England said that the action was welcome. Over the proceeding 24 months, there had been a surge in illegal metal detecting along the wall that was causing substantial damage.
Both Historic England and Northumbria Police stated that metal detectorists operating illegally in the area were the stealing public knowledge by destroying an object of great historical importance.
Metal Detectorist Finds Stash Of 99 Immaculately Preserved Coins From The Anglo-Saxon Era Worth £50,000
Don Cawley, 50, from Suffolk stumbled upon 93 perfectly-preserved silver coins believed to be worth more than £50,000 while metal detecting on a farmer’s land.
The coins are thought to date from the era of King Ethelred II in 999 AD, some six and a half decades before the invasion of England by William the Conqueror.
Mr Cawley said that it was the first time that he had visited the land of this particular farmer in Suffolk when he uncovered the hoard.
He walked up a short incline in the field, and his metal detector gave off a strong signal that there might be something buried under the ground. He got out his shovel and, to his surprise, found more than 93 coins buried in the soil.
Experts from the British Museum later examined the find to confirm their authenticity. London auctioneers Dix Noonan Webb estimated the value of the coins to be around £50,000. It is expected that Cawley will share the proceeds with the farmer.
Metal Detectorist Looking For Friend’s Lost Wedding Ring Uncovers Treasure Worth £100,000
Paul Raynard was on holiday with his friend near Ballycastle, Northern Ireland, scanning the area with his metal detector when another friend asked him to search for his lost wedding ring.
Raynard obliged. After two hours of searching, he came across what appeared to be a coin. Digging down, he found 83 more.
It later transpired that the coins were more than 500 years old and of high archaeological significance — one of the coins dated back to 1546 and could be worth more than £3,000.
Mr Raynard said that finding a treasure like this was something that he’d dreamed of since he was a boy, but he never expected it to happen to him.
A busy month! Rachel Carter, a detectorist from Kent, initially thought she had unearthed a chocolate coin.... it turned out to be a 1500 year old Anglo-Saxon gold pendant.
In Yorkshire, another detectorist found an ear from an 1800 year old Roman statue. Experts think it would have broken off the statue as it was being transported along Dere Street, which is Roman road that runs parallel to the A1.
In Staffordshire, detectorists found what is believed to be the oldest hoard of Iron Age jewellery ever found. It was actually found in December 2016, but made the news this year following analysis by experts. It is thought to be worth at least £3m and was found at the opposite end of the county to the famous Staffordshire Hoard. The find has been named the Leekfrith Iron Age Torcs.