It’s every amateur treasure hunter’s dream – to find something of historical significance while swinging your metal detector from left to right in a country field. Usually, nothing of importance or worth turns up, but every now and then you might find something worth a few quid.
But 45-year-old pest control officer Jason Massey went one – well, maybe a thousand – better, when he was searching for buried treasure in a field near Crewkerne in Somerset and happened upon an 1,800-year-old gold Roman signet ring.
While the monetary value of the ancient ring is still being appraised, the piece of jewellery is believed to have belonged to a ‘high status’ figure, which potentially makes it one of the most significant finds in Somerset’s history.
“The Somerset Archaeological team think we have found a very high status villa complex, but more investigative work is needed,” Jason told the Mail Online.
Of course, it’s very likely that the ring is worth a substantial amount of money – which is why finding something like this is every treasure hunter’s dream. They’re doing it for fun, yes, but also on the off-chance it’ll make their fortune.
However, once researchers at the British Museum have valued the ring, Mr Massey will have to share 50 per cent of any profits he makes from it with the landowner.
Currently, that could be anything. “We have no idea how much [the ring] is worth,” he said. “There is nothing like it in the UK.”
Mr Massey served in the British armed forces between 1989 and 1992, and made the find as part of a charitable dig with the Detecting For Veterans group.
The site they were searching is west of Yeovil and is believed to have once been a high-status Roman villa, and Detecting for Veterans unearthed 60 other Roman coins on Sunday.
It’s the ring that’s getting all the attention, however. It features an engraving of Victoria, the Roman god of Victory, riding a chariot pulled by two horses.
Who knows what other treasures are hidden in the earth at the site, but the ring could indicate that are more exciting things just waiting to be found.