Striking Gold: Metal Detectorist Finds a 4,000-Year-Old Necklace

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Striking Gold: Metal Detectorist Finds a 4,000-Year-Old Necklace


54-year-old metal detectorist Billy Vaughan unearthed a 4,000-year-old gold necklace worth £11,000 ($13,438) in a remote field near his hometown of Whitehaven, Cumbria, England, states Charlie Cocksedge of British internet and media company Unilad. At first, he mistook the jewelry as a piece of climbing equipment, but it turned out to be a gold torc from the Bronze Age. 

Vaughan was not sure of the object he found. Hence, he sent a photo of it to his friend who instructed him to “come round right away.” According to the metal detectorist, he had only been detecting for six months and was out on a field by himself. Vaughan spent seven to eight hours combing through the field. He narrates, “This time I got a strong signal so I dug down five inches and saw it. My first reaction was it was a piece of climbing equipment, or perhaps coupling from a tractor. I never thought it could be gold.” 


Photo Credit: BNPS (via Unilad)


He carried on detecting for an hour and a half before calling his friend and sending him a photo of the object. After his friend told Vaughan to come over, the 54-year-old immediately drove to his house. 

Vaughan’s friend was excited about his discovery and advised him to take it to a jeweler’s. The jeweler confirmed that the torc was 11oz of 22-carat gold. “He said it had a value in gold of £11,000, but it was worth a lot more because of its age and what it was. I was stunned and gobsmacked. I still can’t believe it,” Vaughan remarks. He notified his local museum and a coroner, who will determine if the jewelry is “treasure” under the 1996 Treasure Act. 


Photo Credit: BNPS (via Unilad)


If it’s a “treasure,” then Vaughan may choose to sell it to a museum “at a price set by the Treasure Valuation Committee.” “I try not to get ahead of myself and think about the money until you get it, but it will make a difference," he says.



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