Metal Detector Unearths Bronze Age Treasure

Article excerpt

Byline: MARTIN DELGADO

AN AMATEUR treasure hunter has unearthed one of the most important ever archaeological finds.

The discovery of a gold cup almost 4,000 years old, and worth at least [pound]250,000, buried 15 inches under a field in Kent has astonished experts at the British Museum.

The beautifully embossed goblet has revealed an unknown burial site of a Bronze Age chieftain and may yield further clues to how people lived then.

It was discovered by Cliff Bradshaw, who took up treasure hunting eight years ago when he bought a metal detector for [pound]320. He said it was the "most exciting" thing that had ever happened to him.

David Miles, chief archaeologist of English Heritage, said: "It is an outstanding and internationally important find. We have been able to undertake vital work excavating the prehistoric barrow mound and placing the magnificent cup in its context."

Stuart Needham, curator of European bronze age antiquities at the British Museum, said the cup added a further chapter to the story of European prehistory.

Today Mr Bradshaw described the "miraculous" moment when he unearthed the exquisite cup which has astonished experts and is only the second of its kind ever found. Mr Bradshaw, 69, could receive up to [pound]250,000 for discovering the Bronze Age cup, which is now in the British Museum, although any compensation will have to be shared with the farmer on whose land it was buried.

The retired electrician said: "I knew it was worth going back to that field because I'd already found a Saxon brooch there. I got a faint signal, then it was getting louder and louder and this gold cup came out. It was about 15 inches down, which is quite deep. Another half inch and I wouldn't have detected it.

"I picked it up and scraped a pile of mud off with my boot and it was the most fantastic thing you could imagine. I saw a lot of gold gleaming at me.

It was heart-stopping. …