Man With a Simple Metal Detector Finds Discovery of a Lifetime


silver-coinA man in England went exploring with a metal detector and made the discovery of a lifetime: an exquisitely preserved Roman-era grave filled with artifacts, including bronze jugs, mosaic glassware, coins and hobnails from a pair of shoes, all dating to about A.D. 200.

The grave likely belonged to a wealthy individual, said Keith Fitzpatrick-Matthews, the archaeology and outreach officer for the North Hertfordshire District Council. Once Fitzpatrick-Matthews and his colleagues located the grave, they also found evidence of a nearby building, likely a shrine or temple, attached to a villa.

The man with the metal detector, Phil Kirk, found the grave in a field in Kelshall, a small village located between London and Cambridge. He had once found a Roman coin in the same field, and had a hunch that there were more Roman artifacts nearby, Fitzpatrick-Matthews said.

In October 2014, Kirk hit the jackpot. His metal detector led him to a buried bronze jug that stood roughly 10 inches (25 centimeters) tall. Next, he pulled out a bronze patera (a dish used for pouring wine or blood libations) and two other jugs.

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