An amateur metal detecting enthusiast from Fife has discovered a remarkable haul of extremely rare Bronze Age treasure.
Steve Moodie, 44, of Newburgh, discovered six 3,000-year-old pure gold children’s bracelets just inches below a farmer’s stubble field in Gloucestershire.
Mr Moodie, who is known as “Big Steve”, made the remarkable discovery last Saturday morning while participating in a metal detecting rally at Lydney Rugby Club in the Forest of Dean.
The self-employed bric-a-brac salesman, who has been metal detecting for around 11 years, at first thought he had discovered a can but soon learned he had unearthed one of the biggest hauls of Bronze Age artefacts ever found anywhere in the country.
He told The Courier: “It was a two-day event with about 100 people each day. The landowner gave permission for us to be there and you might expect to find the occasional medieval object or Roman coin but nothing like this.
“At first I thought I’d found a tin can. I thought someone was playing a joke. But then I found what appeared to be a Bronze Age bracelet, and another and another six in total. Bronze Age gold is rare children’s bracelets are even rarer.”
Mr Moodie said he metal detected for enjoyment, not for financial gain, but he has been told the treasure trove could be valued at “six figures” and the sum would be split 50/50 between the landowner and him. He said the treasure was now in the hands of the British Museum, to be analysed and cleaned. This could take up to two years.
Mr Moodie said he spends a lot of time metal detecting, especially on the beaches of Fife.
Just six weeks ago, he discovered a 15th Century bishop’s brass ring at the East Sands, near the entrance to St Andrews Harbour. This is now in the hands of Treasure Trove Scotland for analysis.
He also made a significant discovery in Falkland eight years ago when he found a Bronze Age gold ring since acquired by St Andrews Museum which at that time, he said, was the first of its kind to be discovered in Scotland.
But he said his latest is the most exciting find yet.
Dave Warren of the Forest of Dean metal detecting club said: “The weekend went really well. The finds were amazing overall for the whole weekend and not just the Bronze Age treasure find.
“Over the weekend people found a silver hammer coin, Bronze Age axe head and a Roman broach and Roman coins. The big find, the Bronze Age bracelet, is a very significant find for this area.”