Amateur Treasure Hunter Hits Roman Gold Hoard 20 Minutes Into First Trip

June 5th, 2013 by

(photo: BBC)

(photo: BBC)

Wesley Carrington of Hertfordshire, England, decided to try metal detecting recently after watching some YouTube videos, so he went to his local hobby shop, bought the cheapest metal detector they had, and set off into the woods. Twenty minutes into his hunt, he got his first strong signal.

By the time the sun had set that day, he had found 55 gold Roman solidi in the woods near St. Albans, a hoard worth over £100,000 ($154,000).  Leading experts back to the site, 104 more gold coins were found, some dating back 1,700 years, and minted from all over the Roman Empire from as far away as Turkey.

Experts have called the find “nationally significant,” noting the coins were minted during the reigns of five or six Roman Emperors. Julian Waters, the local finds liason officer for the government, said that in 50,000 finds he had examined, he had only seen four or five gold Roman coins before.

At the treasure inquest, Carrington told the officials “I’ve never been (metal detecting) before. I just thought I’d give it a go.” When asked by the coroner if he’d known how to work a metal detector, Carrington replied “Not really. I went off the path and started metal detecting,” explaining “I’ve watched a couple of YouTube clips to see how you do it.”

The gold Roman coins now go to the British Museum for appraisal. Mr. Carrington is eligible for a reward, which will be split with the land owner.

(read more at The Daily Mail)

(edited 6 June 11:24AM to replace photo with better copy from BBC)