Record Stash of Ancient Gold Found In Farmer's Field

Brit with metal detector uncovers 7th-century Anglo-Saxon jackpot
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 24, 2009 2:38 AM CDT
British authorities are keeping the exact location of the field a secret.   (Shutter Stock)

(Newser) – The biggest stash of Anglo-Saxon gold and silver ever found has been unearthed in a farmer's field in Staffordshire, England, by an amateur treasure hunter using a metal detector. The hoard, estimated to date back to the 7th century, includes weapons, helmets, and gold coins. Archaeologists are stunned both by the size—some 1,500 pieces—and the workmanship of the treasure, which brought tears to one expert's eyes.

"I have this phrase that I say sometimes: 'Spirits of yesteryear take me where the coins appear.' But on that day I changed coins to gold," finder James Herbert told the BBC. "This is what metal detectorists dream of, finding stuff like this. But the vast amount there is just unbelievable." After the collection is valued and sold to museums, Herbert will share a reward expected to be in the millions with the landowner, a friend who gave him permission to search the field.