Can you imagine what it must be like to grow up with a metal detector? This was something that we dreamt about when we were kids! We wanted to look for buried treasure and feel like professionals as we did so. This was the reality for Mike Smith, who has been looking for buried treasure with the tool in woods, fields, and other locations since he was 12 years old. His goal is pretty simple. He just wanted to find something out of the ordinary. Despite this, he did not expect to discover an ancient chain below the spot that he stood in. His instinct was to continue digging, and so he did. He did not at all expect to see what he discovered down there…
He Likes To Spend Time With His Metal Detector
Mike Smith hails from Pembrokeshire, Wales. The metal detecting enthusiast had been out and about one rainy day in search of hidden treasure. This was not all that unusual for him. Everyone wants to look for buried treasure, but he has a tool that can help with this. Despite this, he was surprised when the machine let out a loud beep. He could feel a shot of adrenaline course through his body as he moved the device back and forth on top of the wet soil. As you can imagine, he was eager to see what he detected.
Always Been A Naturally Curious Guy
He had always been curious. When the metal detector beeped that day, he planned to check it out. He tried to keep his expectations low, which is the reason he was surprised to come across something like this. He did not expect that the authorities would get involved with his find. Mike knew that there was something lying in the ground right below him. It was too late to back out. He had to see what it was!
He Went Through The Field With His Tool
Mike made up his mind to sweep out the whole field after that first beep. Most of the time, the beeping grows fainter and fainter as you walk away from the initial spot. This was not the case this time around. He found it strange that the metal detector only beeped more loudly as he walked away from that area. It occurred to him that it might be nothing more than a machine malfunction. However, it was much more exciting to think that something huge might actually be lying below this field.
It Was Time To Dig
When the metal detector went off, there was nothing else to do but to trust his gut. His instincts had been telling him to dig for treasure! It was a good thing that he had a shovel with him. Mike got to work right away. Luckily, the soil was damp from the rain and easier to dig out. He began with a hole about two feet deep and a foot wide. Even though he was intrigued, he had no idea what he might find there.
He First Found A Small And Round Object
In the past, he had used the metal detector in the same spot. He only dug up a couple of old pennies that did not count for much. He did not find old currency or animal remains this time, however. Mike instead found a small round object. With great care, he lifted it out of the dirt. It looked like a coin, but he was not sure if it was one. He rubbed the dirt off it, which allowed him to look at the engraving on it.
No Time To Dwell On It For Too Long
Confused, he tried to look at it from every angle imaginable as he tried to figure out what it was. One side had a figure carved into it, while there was a message of some kind on the other one. Mike could tell that it was not a coin since a ring was attached at the top. It looked like it had been connected to a clip or chain in the past. He did not analyze it for too long as he then saw something else in the dirt.
It Would Not Budge No Matter What
The next object he found was totally stuck in the dirt. He had to put down the shovel and use his hands to dig it out. He hoped that his fingers could gain leverage on it, whatever it was. Sadly, it still would not budge. He even crouched down and sat back on the balls of his heels in the hopes of getting a better grip. It did not work. He could tell that it was caked deep in the mud. Luckily, he refused to give up.
The Ground Did Not Give It Up Easily
It did not matter how hard he pulled because the object just would not give. What confused him was that the rusty chunk of metal did not look heavy from where he was standing. Mike tried to change things up by getting down on his knees and clearing the soil that surrounded the object. By doing that, he hoped to loosen the dirt enough to be able to pull it out. Sadly, it still did not work. He must have been feeling very frustrated at that point. The ground did not want to give up the treasure easily! Let us find out what he did after that.
It Looked Like It Was Connected To Something Else
Mike began to see evidence that this object was attached to something else. He had no clue what it could possibly be, however. Even though he was at a loss, it only made him even more curious about the treasure. There were a million things going through his head as he kept digging. He did not know what he was going to find down there. Why on earth was it that heavy? The truth would come out soon…
He Realized That It Was Actually A Chain
He had been a treasure hunter for a long time by then, so he kept digging around it. He eventually found a second object, and a third came after that. At last, it dawned on him what he was actually looking at. These round objects were actually links! He felt a chill go down his spine once he realized what they really were. At that point, he wanted nothing more than to know what on earth they were doing there.
It Felt Like They Went On And On
As he continued to dig up one link after another, he realized that there were a lot of them below the ground. At last, Mike found the end of this ancient chain. It was now a matter of figuring out what it was once attached to. The sun was already starting to set, so he had no choice but to call it a day. He had to wait until the morning to get to the bottom of things.
He Thought About The Burial Chambers In The Area
That night, he could not stop thinking about what he found with his metal detector. He wondered if he was about to find something terrible in the field. Maybe someone had a good reason to bury the links there. He once read about burial sites below Pembrokeshire, after all. It was not a very pleasant thing to think about in the dark. Even though the idea creeped him out, he still wanted to find out the truth.
The First Order Of The Day
Mike headed out the door as soon as daylight broke. He went straight to the same site that he had been working on the previous day. It nagged at him the whole night. There was no way he could rest easy until he learned more about the links. Back then, he did not know that the authorities would have to step in soon. The truth was that they would get involved with the digging before the end of the day.
Right Where He Was Standing
He was relieved to see that everything was in the same condition that he left it in. It was clear that nobody had gone snooping around that spot. With that out of his mind, he started to dig once more. He found more links in the ground. All of a sudden, he noticed something strange. There was a hole under the chain. He did not think twice before he dug into the hole with a shovel in the hopes that he could get some leverage. Needless to say, he did not expect the ground to open up right below his feet!
He Had Just Stumbled Into An Underground Cavern
Yes, he fell right through the dirt and landed a couple of feet beneath the surface. It was a good thing that he did not hurt himself. On top of that, he still had his backpack on. He took out a flashlight and turned it on before realizing that he wound up in some kind of chamber. After Mike took a better look at the walls, floor, and ceiling, he started to get worried. What exactly did he just get into?
A Lot Of Markings On The Walls
Mike noticed strange scratches all over every single surface of the cavern walls. These markings struck him as familiar for some reason. Where had he seen them before? He approached the wall that had the most vivid scratches and ran his hand over them. This was how he realized that they actually formed ‘VV.’ It then hit him that the conjoined letters were repeated many times on the walls. But what did they mean? As a matter of fact, did they even mean anything?
He Followed Them And Found Another Hole
The symbol was starting to make him feel uneasy. It was strange to see so many VV’s over the walls of the cavern. What made it even scarier was that they looked like they had been etched into the stone by a person with trembling fingers. He did not know what else he would find down there, but he followed them anyway. This was how he found one more hole in the ground. There was something covered in the mud close to the entrance, however. It became yet another source of worry and excitement for him.
It Was Time To Call The Authorities
Mike was shocked when he finally mustered up the courage to get the mud off of it. The dirt was hiding a brown, hard object. Right away, he figured out what he had in his hands. Even so, he did not want to believe that this was really happening. It was a good thing that he was already familiar with the laws about such discoveries. This is the reason he called the authorities to share with them what he found.
Not At All What He Expected To Find
It had started out as a fun afternoon activity but turned into a horrifying discovery. Mike did not expect to find human remains down there! There were a lot of theories about why a person would be laid to rest below the farm. Each and every single one of them is terrifying. When he came out of his thoughts, it dawned on him that he was holding a human molar. This is when he realized how serious this was.
They Found Two Chariot Wheels There
He discovered the chains in February, and the artifact removal process started four months later. Armed with a game plan and the right tools, archaeologists uncovered two chariot wheels. This only confirmed that this was going to be a huge deal. Mike could not believe it. How did it come to this? At first, he thought that he had found nothing more than a coin. He had no idea that it was even possible to make such a monumental discovery with a metal detector! This is the dream of any treasure hunter out there.
The Authorities Did Not Take Him Seriously Until…
Mike knew that he could not do this on his own. He had to ask for help. He had been on his own in that dark cavern with no other way out. On top of that, he had just found human teeth! It was too much for him. He took out his phone and got in touch with the officials at the National Museum of Wales. Their response took him by surprise. They laughed it off, clearly not believing what he was trying to tell them.
One Detail Made Them Stop Laughing
He shared in an interview, “What the archaeologists said at the time was that because there had never been a find down here before, they didn’t believe it.” He was able to convince them in the end. How did he do it? Well, he had actually forgotten to mention that he did not just find an old chain and odd wall marks below the ground. The museum officials took him seriously once he told them about the teeth.
None Of Them Could Believe It
Mike shared his location with them and waited for the team to arrive. Once they got there, they could not believe what they saw. In the interview, he shared, “The look their faces when they saw it said it all.” It was a relief to see that they took him seriously. Aside from that, he was glad that he did not have to explore the hole all by himself either. It was now time to let the experts take matters into their hands.
Learning The Truth About His First Find
When he first spotted the rusted chain, Mike did not even think that he would learn what it was for. In the end, the answer to that question and more came out. This was made possible by the experts who arrived at the scene. “My first find was a Celtic horse harness junction piece,” he said, “When I found it, my friends said I would never top it, but the next day I went back and found the rest.” How on earth is it possible to find something even better than that? Let us find out how he got to prove them wrong.
About The Weird Signs On The Wall
Rachael Hall is an archaeologist. She says that the joined V’s is called a witch mark. They were added to ward off witches. To be specific, the ones that Mike discovered are called Marian marks. The theory goes that they are the initials of Mary, mother of Jesus. It is supposed to keep the site safe, but the marks were a bit different. After all, it looked like someone frantically scratched them into the wall. On top of that, they were scattered everywhere. The history of Pembrokeshire can explain this to an extent.
They Thought That It Was The Entry To Hell
An archaeologist called Allison Fearn is of the belief that the townspeople tried to keep demons at bay with the help of the markings from the 14th and 18th centuries. They were carved onto nearly all the surfaces of the cavern, so it made a lot of sense. They might have thought that it was the entrance to the underworld. This was not something that people took lightly in those days. However, there was something else that Alison noticed about these symbols.
One More Theory About The VV Symbols
Aside from the belief that they kept demons and evil spirits away, there was one more theory about the markings. Others think that Pembrokeshire once dealt with famine, poverty, or disease. These are things that we can all link to evil forces. A retired New Testament Language and Literature professor by the name of John Charlesworth talked about the belief in symbols held by the townsfolk. They must have been scared of the unknown represented by the deep cavern in this part of the town. We can see why.
How To Look At Old Traditions
While the townsfolk believed it to be the nest of demons, an important person must have been buried with the chariot at the site. Mike shared, “I knew the importance of them straight away… I’d read all about chariot burials and just wished it could have been me, so finding this has been a privilege.” The chariot is thought to be over 2,500 years old. But he was wrong in that they did not find human remains!
It Should Have Been Lying Down But It Was Upright
It was true that he found a tooth, but it was not from a human. It instead came from one of the horses buried with the chariot and the chieftain or queen buried there. After more research, they learned that during the Iron age, high-ranking officials were often interred with their chariot, weapons, and horses. Mike said that a normal burial would have the wheels lying flat. That was not the case for this site.
The Ground Has Leveled Out Since Then
Mike is of the belief that the high-ranking official was not buried beside the chariot but inside of it! They must have been sitting up straight as well. This would mean that a mound of dirt was placed on top of the chariot, although that must have leveled out through the centuries. He did more research on the topic. It was a shock that he uncovered such a thing using only his metal detector! There was more.
With The Use Of Large And High-Tech Tools
The museum officials had to rope off the site. They then brought in big tools. Mike has found a lot of small artifacts in the area, so they had to use a radar that could penetrate the entire farm. We want you to imagine something out of a National Treasure flick to understand what we mean. He might have found cool stuff in that field, but the geophysical sonar brought was on a different level.
They Had Just Found A Ditch Ring
After the archaeologists surveyed the land, they found something that looked like a ditch ring. It was a 12-meter circle around the site. This was already significant as it is, but they found two more burial sites in the area. The new finds were also found in ditch rings. It made people reach the conclusion that Mike found a Celtic settlement that had been off their radar for the longest time. But what was next for him?
What The Discovery Means For Him
Apart from the burial sites, Mike managed to dig up 34 or so other items. The list includes bronze bits, tool handles, and a brooch. “I still can’t believe it,” he said. “Obviously, I’ve read other people’s finds. I’ve watched them on the telly, and I’ve always thought, I wouldn’t mind finding that, it’s still surreal, and life-changing.” We are sure not he never expected to unearth something this historically valuable!
The Project Will Not Be A Cheap Undertaking
Adam Gwilt is the prehistoric archaeology principal curator at the National Museum of Wales. He said that the discoveries must have been “witness to some great historical events of the time, as Iron Age people defended their ways of life and identity from the expansion of the Roman Empire.” With his team, Gwilt has been working to pursue a proper investigation of the site. It is not going to be cheap.
How Much He Is Set To Make From This
He is hoping to bring home a payout in the six or seven figures for the discovery. But let us keep in mind that he has to split the money with the owners of the land. That is not bad at all for a hobbyist like him. He said, “It’s the biggest ever metal detecting find, as in there’s never been a chariot ever discovered by a metal detectorist. There have been hoards found, but never anything like this.” Who knows? Maybe he will go on to make even more great discoveries! This next story is also about a metal detector find.
Another Life-Long Metal Detector Hobbyist
Brad Martin, the man behind Green Mountain Metal Detecting, has forever been a fan of using a metal detector to look for forgotten treasure. He had no idea that he was about to do exactly that in Vermont, his home state. He has a great relationship with the other people in the area, so he was allowed to scan thousands of acres of private land in the region. While on a hike, he made the discovery of a lifetime.
There Was An Abandoned Building In The Woods
He had been hiking through the wilderness when he checked out an area full of abandoned buildings. It occurred to him that there might be buried treasure that has long been forgotten. Once he got to the area in question, he saw expansive stone walls and a huge hole in the ground. The latter must have been the remains of a building basement. The sight of it excited him. What was he going to find there?
His First Discovery Could Be Traced To The 1700s
Brad could tell that he was about to make his next great discovery. It was like the metal had been calling out to him. He had no idea that his gut was correct because it did not take him long before he came upon the first find of the day. It was a tombac button! That button type was very big back in the 1700s. Sadly, they went out of fashion because of how brittle it is. At any rate, it was a great start for him.
Tombac Buttons Once Contained Arsenic And Lead
Tombac buttons are called vintage now since they did not stay in fashion after the 18th century. Metal detector enthusiasts consider this a pretty “easy” find since they were commonly used in the jackets of soldiers back in the day. They are often made with a brass alloy that had low zinc and high copper content. Arsenic, lead, or tin might have been used to add color as well. We are glad that we do not use the same technique anymore. As we all know, arsenic and lead poisoning can be very worrisome.
The Button Was Nothing More Than The Beginning
It might not be the most valuable find ever, but Brad was glad to have stumbled upon it. After all, it meant that no one else had spotted it in the past. This meant that anyone who had checked out the area would have missed other treasures as well. He turned out to be right about that. It did not take him long before he dug up something else. What was he able to find with the help of his handy metal detector?
He Found A Defaced Halfpenny In The Ground Too
Brad was thrilled when he made the second find of the day. He found a copper coin that was pretty valuable. While its surface had worn off, he could tell that it was either a coin from the early colonies or a British halfpenny. The elements must have scrubbed off the details. At any rate, he planned to do some research on it as soon as he returned home. It was an honor to be able to hold a piece of history.
British Halfpennys No Longer Count As Legal Currency
The British halfpenny, also called ha’penny, was a currency unit that was total to half a penny. Copper was used from 1672 to 1860, but it was minted in bronze after that. Nigel Lawson, the Chancellor of the Exchequer back then, announced that it would no longer be official legal currency by the end of 1984. A lot of people approved of this move. After all, many of them thought that it was a rather useless coin.
There Was An Old Musket Trigger-Guard Plate In The Ground
Aside from the coin, Brad also found something that looked like an old clock hand in the ground. He assumed that was what it was since it was the same size and shape. But upon closer inspection, he came to the conclusion that it might be an old musket rifle trigger-guard plate. It might even belong to a soldier from the Civil war or Revolutionary War. What other historical artifact did Brad find there?
At The Height Of The Civil War
During the Civil War, the most common weapon used was the Model 1861 Springfield rifle-musket. It had a length of 58.5 inches, while the barrel was 40 inches long. The musket was a muzzle-loading weapon with a bayonet and weighed nearly ten pounds. That is rather heavy for a malnourished soldier with other necessities on his back. The Springfield model had 84 pieces and could be manufactured for only $14.93 back in 1861. Within four years, nearly two million units of the weapon were produced.
He Could Identify The Next Coin He Found
After that, Brad dug up a coin that he managed to identify. The big coin had a face with King George II, as well as the letters “CONNEC.” These were enough for Brad to identify what it was. He was able to conclude that it was a Connecticut copper coin from 1785 to 1788. There was a good chance that he could get several hundred dollars for it. Even though it was enough to dub the coin a success, this was not the end of his findings just yet.
Connecticut Coppers Are Actually Complex Coins
The truth is that Connecticut coppers have a complex minting history, even more so than other colonial coins. For one thing, they had over 355 dye combinations, 26 distinct styles, and at least 126 varieties. They were made at six or more different mints. You are right to think that they were rather high maintenance. Despite all the different versions, one thing about them remained true. Every issue of these coins imitated the halfpenny! From the look of things, there was a pattern of some sort there.
It Was Time To Call It A Day
It was already getting late, which is why Brad went to his car once more. He swept the metal detector around as he left the forest. It was a good thing that he used it since the metal detector beeped once more only a couple of yards before he reached the road. It let out a solid sound just like it did for the earlier finds of the day. He took his shovel out once more and started to dig. What could it be now?
Metal Detector Reading Takes Time And Practice
Mind you, it takes a while to get used to metal detecting. You better be patient and determined if you want to succeed because you never know what you will find, if anything at all. Metal detectors work by generating a magnetic field powerful enough to penetrate the soil and pick up metals. As a treasure hunter, Brad has learned to understand different readings. The tones of the metal detector are different based on the model. It is the duty of the treasure hunter to explore and become familiar with the tool.
He Was Able To Find Something Else
As a rule of thumb, the value of a buried object is higher when the reading is higher. Brad saw that the reading was similar to the rest of the items he found earlier that day. This is the reason he assumed that it was just another button. He did not expect that he would find something that would render him at a loss for words. Considering the historical value of the other items that he found that day, he should not have been too surprised. However, he expected the signal too much stronger for something like this.
1780 Spanish Eight Reales
Brad picked up the new finding after brushing the soil off of it. He realized that he had just found a huge silver dollar in excellent condition. It came as a surprise since the metal detector did not give off a bigger reading. Perhaps he had been standing at an odd angle to the coin. At any rate, he was happy with what he had just found. After a close look at it, he saw that it was a 1780 Spanish Eight Reales. Whoa.
The History Of The Spanish Eight Reales
Do you remember Jack Sparrow and his “nine pieces of eight” story? The Spanish Eight Reales was the fabled currency from those legends. When they were minted, there were five varieties of Spanish silver coins. The most valuable and in-demand one would be the Eight Reales. That is the reason they only belonged to pirate captains. Even though it was considered legal tender in the United States until the 19th century, it was a very rare find. In fact, the odds of stumbling upon it was one in a million.
He Had A Weird Feeling About This Coin
As his adrenaline started to wear off, Brad started to grow more suspicious of the coin. He was already concerned about the reading on the metal detector by then. However, he grew even warier when he saw that someone carved “DS” on the face of the coin as well. It felt off to him. It is a good thing that he has always been a history buff. He returned home and decided to learn more about this particular coin.
Spanish Eight Reales Were Very Counterfeited
It is a good thing that he did exactly that. This is how Brad found out that this coin was one of the most counterfeited currencies on the planet when it was in circulation. As a matter of fact, the coin was highly counterfeited by the British to bring down the Spanish economy from 1796 to 1808. If you know your history, you should know that this was the duration of the Anglo-Spanish War. While Brad most likely found one of the fake ones, we are sure that he can still get a decent amount of money for this piece.