A METAL detector enthusiast has spoken for the first time about the moment he discovered one of the UK’s largest ever hoards of Roman coins – after 34 years of searching.
Jethro Carpenter, 43, and his friend Mark Gilmore, 47, we’re enjoying a walk in the Worcestershire countryside when they stumbled across the county’s largest hoard – 3874 Roman coins, dated between AD 280 – 282.
The enthusiasts were enjoying a walk on Bredon Hill, Worcestershire, but within five minutes of turning their devices to the ground, the pair knew they had a find on their hands.
“I knew it was going to be something huge,” Jethro said. “We got the signal and I called Mark over.
“As a child you watch pirate films and dream of finding buried treasure but the truth is that as a metal detector enthusiast, you can hunt for months on end and find nothing.
“I’ve know the Bredon Hill area for more than twenty years and taken my detector there countless times so never in a million years did I expect to come across such a find.
“This find is of major significance nationally and I’m proud to have been involved. ”
Childhood pal Mark, who has been a metal detector enthusiast for 20 years, was 50 feet away from his friend – but spoke of his excitement at finding the tell-tale signs of a big find.
“When Jethro called me over, I dug down and found a bit of pottery,” the 47-year-old said.
“When you get a good signal and find pottery, you know you’re on to something good.
“My heart started fluttering, it’s unbelievable.”
After two hours of excavating the area by hand, and with coins still being unearthed, the amateurs realised the importance of their discovery and alerted the Portable Antiquities Scheme, who in turn informed the Coroner for Worcestershire.
Since the amazing discovery took place in June, experts from Worcestershire County Council Historic Environment and Archaeology Service (WHEAS) have undertaken a small assessment of the site and uncovered evidence of a Roman settlement.
That, and additional research by the British Museum, has discovered that the hoard was buried 80 years after it was accumulated – the first and only known British example of this happening.
“It’s the biggest find in the county by ten-fold,” said Tom Vaughan, Project Manager at WHEAS.
“There was a find of 400 coins 12 years ago but that is it.
“It was basically on the side of Bredon Hill. We know this is an area that’s densely populated with Roman farmsteads but this was a fresh find.”
The exact value of the hoard has not been confirmed by the Coroners Office but Richard Henry, Finds Liaison Officer for the Portable Antiquities Scheme, said reported figures of GBP1.5 million are not true.
Speaking about a possible reward, finder Jethro admitted that money wasn’t the motivation behind his hobby.
“It’s not all about the money, I enjoy the hobby,” he added.
“If it was about money, I’d have given up a long time ago.”
Speaking about the excitement of the find, Richard Henry said: “The discovery of this coin hoard is really exciting news for Worcestershire and of major significance for the country.
“The 3784 coins span 38 years and are a fascination piece of history dating from a turbulent time during which the Roman Empire saw revolts, rebellions, plagues and invasions.”