The 51 year-old builder took up metal detecting seven years ago. When he searched a field close to the previously excavated site of a Roman villa, he expected to find the usual disappointing haul of old ring pulls and shotgun cartridges. He spotted two small coins the size of a thumbnail sitting on top of the ground. Although his metal detector indicated there was only iron in the ground, he followed his hunch and dug. The next shovel was full of coins.
Scanning an area of ground in Seaton, East Devon, he uncovered 22,000 Roman coins dating from AD260 to AD348.
As a responsible member of the East Devon Metal Detector Club, contacted the authorities to report his find. He also called his wife, who arrived to film the moment.
Once the archaeologists arrived, he slept in his car, wrapped up against the cold, alongside the treasure for three nights, guarding the site.
The coins, now known as the Seaton Down Hoard, have been officially declared as treasure and are eligible for acquisition by a museum. The finder held a license to operate on the land, and will split the proceeds of a potential sale to the local museum 50/50 with the landowner.
Here's the good bit: Although they would have only represented a few months’ wages for a Roman soldier back then, they will now be worth tens of thousands of pounds.
Oh. I just answered my question. A flood could sweep them away. A crack could open up and the earth could swallow them. Well, maybe nothing is really safe—even a safe. Thieves can still crack your code. Anyway, leaving that pessimistic thought aside, let's think of the positive.
I buried a heap of copper pennies about ten years ago under my hydrangea to provide the blue flowers with nourishment. The pennies were no longer of any value when the currency changed. Maybe they'll be worth a fortune one day.
Here's where you tell me about what you found while walking along one day.