|25 September 2004
Bronze Age bands uncovered by metal detector fan
A last-minute decision not to discard scraps of wire uncovered with a metal detector has landed Shaun Raynsford with a prize he could only dream of. For the pieces of metal he almost threw away were found to be pre-historic gold jewellery - thousands of years old. The precious items had lain beneath the Berkshire Downs (England) for 3,000 years before Mr Raynsford and 399 other metal detector enthusiasts began scouring the land.
A delighted Mr Raynsford handed over the Bronze Age wrist and arm bands to excited experts at West Berkshire Museum for safekeeping. He said: "This is my greatest find. The most I have found before are Roman brooches and coins. My initial thought was: it's just wire. I was going to pick it up and throw it away. But as soon as I dug the first one out, I knew it was gold." The timing of the significant find came as Mr Raynsford celebrates 13 years of metal detecting.
Duncan Coe, from West Berkshire Museum, said: "Often these objects were deliberately put in the ground to mark some kind of special event - for example, a burial - but also to placate the gods or to try to improve the fertility of a field." The process of deciding where the ancient treasure will eventually be housed is now under way. The wrist and arm bands will be sent to the British Museum for verification and evaluation. But experts at West Berkshire Museum hope they will one day go on display there.
Source: BBC News (24 September 2004)
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