A British amateur metal detectorist literally struck gold by making a great archaeological discovery of a gold cloak fastener that dates back to the Bronze Age.
The 54-year-old Jonathan Needham found the precious 3,000-year-old artifact on a patch of land in Ellastone, Staffordshire in England, Daily Mail reports.
The gold item is 13cm in length and weighs 110g. It is thought to be one of only seven found in England since the Bronze Age did not arrive in Britain until approximately 1,900 years ago and the item is much older.
In describing the discovery to the Daily Mail, Needham, who is from Derby, said he was out searching for precious metals with a friend on May 6 last year. It was the day of King Charles’s Coronation. At some point, the metal detector made a faint beep.
He said that when he saw the item and pulled it out of the earth, he thought it was a faded aluminum drawer handle.
Metal detectorist digs up 3,000-year-old Bronze Age cloak fastener.
An amateur metal detectorist has stuck gold after he discovered a 'one-in-a-billion' Bronze Age artifact. Jonathan Needham, 54, found the 3,000-year-old cloak fastener on a patch of land in Ellastone,… pic.twitter.com/VsLmbcDTMr
— SCIENCE INFO CHANNEL (@SCIENCEINFOCHA1) February 2, 2024
When the treasure hunter posted his finding online, people alerted him that he had found something much rarer, and definitely more precious, on his hands.
When Needham and his friend, Malcolm Baggaley, 63, realized that their find was an archaeological treasure, they sent it to Derby Museum. It has since been taken to the British Museum in London, as per Britain’s Treasure Act 1996.
Money from the sale of a treasure find is typically split between the land owner and the finder.
Needham said that it is ironic that he found a King’s gold on the day Charles III was being crowned. ‘I went to see it in the British Museum and it was displayed with loads of famous artefacts like the Sutton Hoo helmet. It was simply unreal to see it there,” he said.
Britain in the Bronze Age
The date at which the Bronze Age began varied with regions. In Greece and China, for instance, it began, before 3000 BC, whereas in Britain, it did not start until about 1900 BC. Especially when the artifact is made of gold.
It is a case of an artifact that was not made in the country it was found but it was transferred there by a person or persons who had been in that area for reasons that cannot be determined.
This is similar to a case of Alexander the Great high value gold and silver coins found in Chania, on the island of Crete. A unique monetary collection of 37 rare coins, including 11 gold staters with different versions of Alexander the Great depicted on them was found on Kastelli Hill.
The silver coins were minted in Olympia during the Olympic Games in the fourth century BC. There was also one Corinthian stater of the Palace of Acarnania.