For the jobless man living on welfare who made the find in an English farmer’s field two months ago, it was the stuff of dreams: a hoard of early Anglo-Saxon treasure, probably dating from the seventh century and including more than 1,500 pieces of intricately worked gold and silver whose craftsmanship and historical significance left archaeologists awestruck.
When the discovery in Staffordshire was announced Thursday, experts described it as one of the most important in British archaeological history.
“People laugh at metal detectorists,” Terry Herbert, 55, who made the find, said Thursday at a news conference at the Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery, where the objects will go on display on Friday for two weeks. “I’ve had people go past and go, ‘Beep, beep, he’s after pennies.’ Well no, we’re out there to find this kind of stuff, and it is out there.”
Mr. Herbert spent 18 years scouring fields and back lots without finding anything more valuable than a piece of an ancient Roman horse harness. Now, under British laws governing the discovery of ancient treasures, he stands to get half the value of the booty, which should amount to at least a half million pounds, possibly much more.