News Article:

Tool Search Gleans Ancient Treasure

Submitted by Brian Millan, Orlando Sentinel

LONDON -- A retired gardener looking for a lost hammer with a metal detector unearthed an ancient hoard of buried gold and silver that one news report said could be worth $15 million.

Archeologist Judith Plouviez said the hoard found by Eric Lawes, 70, in a field near the village of Hoxne in Suffolk County "is an incredibly exciting and amazing find." However, she said it was impossible to say how much the hoard is worth until experts examine it.

Plouviez believes the riches were hidden by a wealthy family about 1,800 years ago during the Roman occupation of Britain, which began in A.D. 43 and lasted about 400 years.

The hoard includes a solid silver model of a panther, gold chains, hundreds of gold and silver coins, spoons, ornaments, gem-studded jewelry and a gold pendant encrusted with rubies weighing more than a pound.

The trove was unearthed on land owned by the country council and will be the subject of an inquest to decide legal ownership.

If the items become government property, Lawes probably would receive a reward - possibly more then $1.5 million.

Lawes, an amateur treasure hunter, whose wife, Getha, 68, bought him the $450 metal detector to keep him busy when he retired five years ago, lives in the village of Eye, three miles from Hoxne.

Until his discovery, he had found only horseshoes, buttons and a few coins.