Biblical Archaeology Review 37:3, May/June 2011

Sharing the Wealth: Spoils of Christian Kings Enrich British Metal Detectorist and Land Owner

By Andrew Selkirk

In March 2009, Terry Herbert was metal detecting in a field in Staffordshire in the middle of England, just north of Birmingham. When his detector gave a beep, he dug down and retrieved what he originally thought was the brass key plate from a lock. He soon realized, however, it was not bronze but gold. Over the next few days he continued to find more and more gold objects, most of them small and broken up, but many highly decorated and some set with red garnets. He carefully bagged the objects as he discovered them, keeping them together in groups as far as possible, until eventually he had accumulated over 240 bags of miscellaneous objects that he thought were probably Saxon. Over many years of metal detecting, he had learned a lot about how to date the objects he found.

He then rang up Duncan Slarke at Birmingham Museum, the local Finds Liaison Officer for the Portable Antiquities Scheme. Duncan was suspicious at first, but he came out to view the find, and when he did he was totally amazed. He took the objects to Birmingham Museum so that they could be kept securely, and he contacted Roger Bland, Head of the Department of Portable Antiquities and Treasure at the British Museum who runs the national scheme for recording finds made by members of the public, sending him an e-mail with photo attachment of some of the objects.

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