You”ve probably seen people walking around beaches and fields with metal detectors, and you may have thought to yourself, What could they possibly ever find with that? Well, this is one of those instances that might make you want to pick up a metal detector yourself.
Phil Kirk, metal detector enthusiast, was exploring in a field near his home in Kelshall, England. He once found a Roman coin in the field, and wanted to see if there was anything else lurking under the soil.
And there was: Kirk found a discovery that had been waiting underground for 1,800 years.
Kirk finally found what he was looking for in October 2014. His first find was a 10-inch tall bronze jug, which would have been exciting enough, but that wasn”t all. He then uncovered a patera, also made of bronze, which was a dish used by Romans to pour out libations of wine or blood. At this point, he decided to call in some experts, and soon a full dig was underway. Even more artifacts were found, including an iron lamp, a bronze pin, some glassware, and some bottles.
When the contents of one of the bottles were examined, the archaeologists got an even bigger surprise: the bottle contained the cremated remains of a human. This meant that the find wasn”t just a random cache of ancient goodies — this was an elaborate grave. This was further proven when they found the remains of a pair of sandals and a coin inside the bottle with the ashes. The coin was the fee for Charon, who would ferry the dead across the River Styx. The sandals were also for the deceased person”s journey.
The worn bronze coin in the urn helped archaeologists date the grave to around the year 200, as did the style of some of the glassware. The items, as well as the construction of the flint-lined grave, shows that whoever was buried here was extremely wealthy. Other evidence from the area shows that there was once considerable Roman activity here, including a villa and a shrine (or temple).
Right now, the artifacts technically belong to Kirk, since he found them. However, the local archaeology office hopes to acquire them and get them to a museum for preservation and display.