Category Archives: ENGLAND

Sutton Hoo: One of the most magnificent archaeological finds in England

Sutton Hoo: One of the most magnificent archaeological finds in England

In 1939, an excavation was carried out on two 6th and 7th-century cemeteries at Sutton Hoo, near Woodbridge in Suffolk, England.  Beneath Mound No. 1, a stunning archaeological discovery was made. 

Historians were amazed to find an undisturbed ship burial that contained a wealth of outstanding artefacts of significant cultural and historical significance.

The archaeological team found the complete outline of the ship perfectly preserved in the sand of the burial chamber.  The wood of the ship had decomposed, but the stains in the sand gave an accurate depiction of the construction of the ship, and all the metal rivets were perfectly in place. 

The ship was built from oak and was found to have a tall, rising stem and stern that measured 27 meters.  At its broadest part, the ship was 4.4 meters wide, and it had an inboard depth of 1.5 meters.  The hull followed a clinker construction style, with nine planks on each side of the hull riveted together with iron rivets.

The ship had been laboriously carried from the river and carefully placed in a prepared trench.  It was buried at a depth where only the stem and stern posts peeked out of the ground. 

The body and all the funeral artefacts were then placed in the ship, and the site was covered with a soil mound.  The burial place remained undisturbed until carefully uncovered by archaeologists in 1939.

Sutton Hoo Helmet at the British Museum

This excavation was an incredibly important find, as it straddled the time in English history between myth and legends and the creation of historical documentation. It is generally accepted that the ship was the tomb of Raedwald, who was the ruler over East Anglia.

There was no body found, but analysis of the soil indicates that there was a body that had been destroyed by the acidic soil.  The coffin or wooden platform that carried the body was close to 9 feet long. 

From the distribution of the artefacts, it appears the head was placed at the western end of the platform.  The archaeologists found an iron ringed bucket, an iron lamp that still had its beeswax fuel inside, and high-quality personal items such as a helmet, belt buckle, shoulder tabs, jewellery, coins, silverware, and armour. 

The artefacts found in the tomb have provided a wealth of information about the Anglo-Saxon Kingdom of East Anglia as well as the Anglo-Saxon civilization.

Replica of the Sutton Huo Helmet in the British Museum

Only one occurrence of Middle Eastern bitumen had been found in the British Isles prior to this discovery, but the Sutton Hoo bitumen is older than the previously discovered specimen. This new discovery is very exciting, as it adds further evidence to the theory that the Anglo-Saxons traded over a far wider territory than was previously thought.

The bitumen was not left in the grave by mistake.  It was deliberately placed at the head and foot of the body, and its proximity to the body indicates its value to the people.  It is not clear if this bitumen was a diplomatic gift or if it was a product gained through trade routes, but its presence in the grave indicates that the Anglo-Saxons traded widely and made use of goods brought from afar.

Model of the ship’s structure as it might have appeared, with chamber area outlined Photo Credit

It is evidence that the bitumen deposits in the Middle East were traded north through the Mediterranean Sea and across Europe to reach as far north as England, Mail Online reported.

The discovery of trade goods such as this bitumen adds extensively to our understanding of how people lived in this era since the myths and legends of that time tend to obscure facts.  Historians can use these artefacts to try to identify how trade routes worked, and thus learn more about how people moved and interacted so long ago.

Bronze Age Pot Discovered in Wales

Bronze Age Pot Discovered in Wales

An archaeological dig has uncovered what could be the earliest house found in Cardiff. Volunteers and archaeologists from the Caerau and Ely Rediscovering (CAER) Heritage Project, found a clay pot which could be about 3,000 years old.

Bronze Age Pot Discovered in Wales
The clay pot found by the CAER could be about 3,000 years old

The group were looking for the missing link between the late Iron Age and the early Roman period.

Co-director of the project Dr David Wyatt said what they found was “much more remarkable.”

The archaeologists said the roundhouse, located near Cardiff West Community High School, could provide the earliest clues on the origins of Cardiff.

Over 300 people have taken part in the dig, at Trelai Park, about half a mile away from the Caerau Hillfort, a heritage site of national significance.

Archaeologists and community members had previously discovered finds of Neolithic, Iron Age, Roman and medieval origins at the hillfort.

Experts believed the settlement dubbed “Trelai Enclosure” could provide the missing link between the late Iron Age and early Roman period, showing what happened to people once they had moved on from the hillfort.

‘Incredible development’

The pot was found and recovered by archaeologist Tom Hicks and volunteer Charlie Adams

But, the roundhouse predates it, a clay pot discovered at the site has given the team a firmer indication of the time period the building can be traced to.

Dr Wyatt added that they believed the roundhouse could have been constructed in the mid to late Bronze Age, going back to between 1500 and 1100 BC.

“The enclosure definitely predates the hillfort, people were living here before the hillfort was built.

“It’s an incredible development and sheds light on the earliest inhabitants of Cardiff,” he added.

Project co-director Dr Oliver Davis said: “What we’ve found is completely unexpected and even more exciting.

“This enclosure could be providing us with the earliest clues on the origins of Cardiff, the pot that’s been found is beautifully decorated and preserved – it is extremely rare to find pottery of this quality.

“It’s also unusual to find a Bronze Age settlement in Wales – there are only one or two other Bronze Age sites in this country.”

‘Opportunity to learn’

It is hoped the ‘remarkable discovery’ will help archaeologists learn more about people living at the site

Nearly 300 volunteers have participated in the dig so far, run by CAER, a partnership between Cardiff University, Action in Caerau and Ely (ACE), local schools, residents and heritage partners.

Archaeologist Tom Hicks and volunteers Charlie Adams both found and recovered the pot during the dig.

Mr Hicks said: This is a very well-preserved example of Bronze Age pottery, and a significant find for the archaeological record in the region.

“It’s a great opportunity for us to learn more about the lives of the people living on the sire around 3,000 years ago.”

He added that further scientific analysis may be able to tell what the pot was used for before it ended up in the enclosure ditch, and how or where the pot was made.

Headteacher at Cardiff West Community High School, Martin Hullard said: “We’re delighted to be involved in this exciting archaeological project, our students have loved learning about the history that’s just a stone’s throw away from their school.”

Gold coins emerged when the earth was full; Ancient hoard of gold Roman coins discovered in plowed UK field

Gold coins emerged when the earth was full; Ancient hoard of gold Roman coins discovered in plowed UK field

A cache of gold coins found buried on farmland in the United Kingdom has caught the attention of coin experts, who have linked the treasure trove to the Roman Empire. 

One of the gold coins from the Roman empire was found in the English countryside. Augustus Caesar is featured on the front, and his grandson Gaius on horseback is depicted on the back.

So far, metal detectorists have discovered 11 coins on a remote stretch of cultivated field located in Norfolk, a rural county near England’s eastern coast, and experts remain hopeful that more could be unearthed in the future.

Damon and Denise Pye, a pair of local metal detectorists, found the first of several gold coins in 2017 after local farmers finished plowing the soil at the end of the harvest season, which made the land prime for exploration. The haul has been dubbed “The Broads Hoard” by local numismatists (coin specialists and collectors), for its geographic location near The Broads, a network of rivers and lakes that run through the English countryside.

“The coins were found scattered around in the plow soil, which has been churned up year after year, causing the soil to be turned over constantly and led to them eventually coming to the surface,” said Adrian Marsden, a numismatist at Norfolk County Council who specializes in ancient Roman coins.

“The first year, [the Pyes] found four coins, and the following year one more, and then they found a few more the year after that. They’ve said to me that they think they found the last one, and I always say, ‘I bet not.’ They’re slowly coming to the surface; I think there’s more.”

Marsden dated the “exceptional” bounty of gold coins to sometime between the first century B.C. and the first century A.D. Interestingly, all of the coins were minted before the Roman conquest, when Britain became occupied by Roman forces starting in A.D. 43 after an invasion launched by Rome’s fourth emperor, Claudius. 

Which raises the question: How did the coins end up in a field years before the arrival of Roman forces? While Marsden said that there’s no way of knowing for sure, he thinks there could be a couple of logical explanations for the stockpile of riches. 

“It’s apparent that [the coins] went into the ground before the invasion,” Marsden told Live Science. “It’s possible that they could’ve been part of some type of offering to the gods, but more likely someone buried them with the intention of recovering them later. Gold was often used as trade, so it’s possible that a local tribe could’ve gotten ahold of the coins and perhaps planned to use them for other things, such as melting them down to make jewellery.”

The fronts and backs of six of the 11 gold coins from the Roman Empire were found in the English countryside.

The farmland where the coins were found sits on land once occupied by the Iceni, a tribe of British Celts. During the Roman invasion, the tribe’s leader, Queen Boudica, led a revolt against Roman forces, attempting to drive them off their land in A.D. 60. However, despite their initial success, the queen’s army was no match for the Romans, who ultimately won the fight in what is known as the Battle of Watling Street.

The defeat led the queen to kill herself, according to the ancient Roman historian Publius Cornelius Tacitus. However, another ancient Roman historian, Cassius Dio, reported that Boudica died of illness.

In an article written by Marsden and published in a recent issue of The Searcher, a metal detectorist publication, he described there being two types of gold coins in the stash: one type was marked with the portrait of Augustus Caesar, the first emperor of Rome, with Gaius and Lucius, his grandsons and heirs to the throne, on the back of the coin. (However, both grandsons died before they could don the purple and become emperor.) The other also featured Augustus in profile on one side, but with Gaius on horseback on the reverse.

“In the second half of Augustus’ reign, when his position was consolidated, the types [of coins] with dynastic reference increased as an indication of his succession, as is the case here with the extensive coinage for his grandsons, Gaius and Lucius Caesar,” Marjanko Pilekić, a numismatist and research assistant at the Coin Cabinet of the Schloss Friedenstein Gotha Foundation in Germany, who wasn’t involved with the new findings, told Live Science. “They are depicted as the chosen successors of Augustus on the coins, which is indicated by the inscription PRINC(ipes) IVVENT(utes): ‘the first among the young.'”

Each of the coins also features a small indentation at the top, likely indicating that someone tested the coins for their purity, perhaps after they had been minted. Otherwise, “they’re high quality, 20-karat gold,” Marsden said. “If they had been churned around in the soil a lot, I would expect for them to be more scuffed up, but these are not.” Pilekić added that cutting “knicks” into the faces of gold coins was common practice in the Roman Empire, where forgeries were abundant. 

“[Some can be seen] even on the portrait of Augustus,” Pilekić said. “This made it possible to check whether the coin was really a gold coin and not a gilded bronze coin, for example. The distrust must have been great, which could indicate many forgeries in circulation.”

In addition to the newfound gold coins, over the years metal detectorists have discovered a treasure trove of Roman possessions in the region, including 100 copper alloy coins, two denarii (Roman silver coins), brooches and more. According to Marsden’s estimate, the gold coins together are valued at approximately $20,000 pounds ($25,000 USD). The British Museum recently acquired the coins as part of its permanent collection. 

The findings were published in the May issue of the magazine The Searcher.

“[Some can be seen] even on the portrait of Augustus,” Pilekić said. “This made it possible to check whether the coin was really a gold coin and not a gilded bronze coin, for example. The distrust must have been great, which could indicate many forgeries in circulation.”

In addition to the newfound gold coins, over the years metal detectorists have discovered a treasure trove of Roman possessions in the region, including 100 copper alloy coins, two denarii (Roman silver coins), brooches and more. According to Marsden’s estimate, the gold coins together are valued at approximately $20,000 pounds ($25,000 USD). The British Museum recently acquired the coins as part of its permanent collection. 

19th-Century Industrial Site Uncovered in Southwest England

19th-Century Industrial Site Uncovered in Southwest England

Archaeologists digging up a car park in South Bristol have unearthed the full extent of one of the city’s most ‘secretive’ companies – less than 60 years after it closed down. The team from Wessex Archaeology were given access to the old NCP car park on Dalby Avenue in Bedminster – and discovered, almost entirely intact at ground level, what was left of the site of the Bedminster Smelting Works.

And the below ground discoveries are now helping to shed more light on what was one of South Bristol’s darkest – and dirtiest – chapters, when a highly-polluting chemical work operated for more than 100 years, surrounded by people’s houses.

Just a couple of feet beneath the surface of the car park just off the A38 at Dalby Avenue in Bedminster, the archaeologists found the foundations and ground-level footprint of all the huge smelting work chimneys, furnaces, underground furnaces and stoking cellars, where generations of Bedminster residents worked in often unbearable heat and fumes. The profits from the business meant that, by the third generation of the Capper Pass family-run business, the family was able to buy a huge country estate in Dorset, far away from the fumes, smoke and stench that characterised the smelting works which stood opposite Bedminster’s main tobacco factory at the bottom of Bedminster Parade.

Wessex Archaeology carried out an excavation there between January and March this year, as work began to dig up the car park, clear the site and build huge blocks of student accommodation that will eventually house up to 837 students, as part of the massive Bedminster Green development project. One of the reasons the archaeologists were called in was because little was known about the company and how it was set up – the site was quickly demolished and covered over when it eventually closed in 1963, and the car park, Dalby Avenue and the St Catherine’s Place shopping centre was built over the top of it.

According to Simon Cox, from the Bristol and Bath Heritage Consultancy, who worked on the dig too, what went on in the smelting works was a closely-guarded secret.

“This excavation shows us that there is still a great deal to be learned about our relatively recent industrial heritage from archaeological investigations in advance of urban regeneration projects. Documentary research undertaken by Bristol & Bath Heritage Consultancy in preparation for the planning application uncovered much about the history of Capper Pass, but it was clear that they were very secretive about their processes, many of which were highly experimental and unpredictable in nature,” he said.

“The firm originated in Bedminster in the early 19th century and had premises there until the 1960s when its operations moved to its premises in Melton, Yorkshire. It ultimately became globally important as a world-leading producer of tin from secondary sources, and a wholly-owned subsidiary of Rio Tinto Zinc by the late 20th century.

The archaeological excavation of the Bedminster Smelting Works at Dalby Avenue, Bedminster

“The excavation has helped us to better understand the origins and plan form of the 19th and 20th-century works through various phases of redevelopment – information that was largely kept secret and was therefore not available through documentary sources such as historic maps and plans.

“Along with analysis of samples taken of industrial residues, this information should help us to further refine our understanding of the function of the different furnaces, solder pans and pots revealed during the work by Wessex Archaeology, and therefore the evolution of this internationally important Bedminster-based company,” he added.

The archaeologists found most of the excavated remains date from the later 19th and early 20th centuries and comprise the foundations of industrial buildings containing numerous coal-fired metal smelting furnaces with associated underground flues and stoking cellars, and the bases of three huge Lancashire boilers that provided the steam for the steam engines that powered the works.

“This has been a fascinating site to excavate,” said Wessex Archaeology’s fieldwork director Cai Mason. “It’s hard to imagine what a different place Bedminster must have been in the 19th and early 20th centuries – a densely populated area full of heavy industry, noise, and smoke.

The archaeological excavation of the Bedminster Smelting Works at Dalby Avenue, Bedminster

“Capper Pass & Sons was a very innovative and secretive company – this was the best way of preventing your competitors from stealing your ideas – and before we started our excavation, we really had no idea how the smelting works was laid out inside, or how it developed over time.

“One of the things our excavations have shown is that the company seems to have been constantly rebuilding the works. New furnaces were built, then a few years later, they’d be knocked down and replaced with a new – presumably more efficient – design. In the early days of the company it seems to have been very much a case or trial and error – were literally making it up as they went along!” he added.

The 200-year history of smelting in Bedminster

The smelting works was established 182 years ago by a local metal refiner called Capper Pass II, who had learnt his trade from his father, who had been transported to Australia for 14 years for handling stolen metal in 1819.

The junior Capper Pass bought a plot of land in Bedminster’s sprawling slums in 1840 on the new Coronation Street – a street that no longer exists, but was laid out and named after the coronation of William IV and Queen Adelaide in 1832. He built a house for his family and a small smelting work around the back, which was experimental, but not particularly successful.

The archaeological excavation of the Bedminster Smelting Works at Dalby Avenue, Bedminster

Capper Pass II tried extracting gold and silver from Sheffield plate and gilded buttons, then refining lead, copper and zinc from cheap waste products like metal ashes, slags and poor-quality ores – it didn’t exactly work and for more than 20 years the smelting works barely broke even.

But in the 1860s, the company discovered a new and highly profitable thing to manufacture – solder, the multi-purpose metal glue that was used to stick metal objects together, especially the new invention of mass-produced tin cans.

The production of solder took off, and as soon as they made enough money, the by now old Capper Pass moved the family away from the smelting works to a new large house in the new and genteel suburb of Redland, high above the stench of industrial South Bristol.

He died in 1870, but his son Alfred Capper Pass took over and expanded the business massively, moving north and south of the existing site and occupying much of the area between the ancient main road through Bedminster and the parallel railway line.

“Pass was a typical Victorian paternalistic industrialist, who used some of his wealth to help fund the Bristol General Hospital and Bristol University College and gave land for the building of St Michael’s Church on Windmill Hill,” said a Wessex Archaeology spokesperson.

From 1870 until Alfred Capper Pass’s death in 1905, the company employed more and more men in the dirty and unhealthy work in the smelting yards, and gave some money to local good causes, including helping to fund the Bristol General Hospital in Redcliffe and the University College, as well as giving land for the building of St Michael’s Church on Windmill Hill. Most of the money the family kept, however, and they were able to move out of Redland and Bristol altogether, moving to a succession of bigger and bigger homes, ending up with the purchase of a large country estate at Wootton Fitzpaine in Dorset.

The Bedminster Smelting Works, on a map dating from the 1880s

The demand for solder continued to increase into the 20th century, with the new development of electrical goods, circuit boards and cars, and the works needed to expand more – but the site was now surrounded by tightly-packed terrace homes, with space in Bedminster also in demand from the growing tobacco factories and a number of tanneries.

The company found a new site in Melton, near Hill, and from 1937 onwards, production gradually shifted there. The Bedminster Smelting Works closed in 1963 and the site was levelled, and covered with the car park and St Catherine’s Place shopping centre, with a new bypass of East Street – Dalby Avenue and Malago Road – put through the middle of it.

Now the next generation of use for the area – the Bedminster Green regeneration project – will see huge blocks of flats built in the area, including at the car park off Dalby Avenue.

Pre-Roman Settlement Excavated in Southern England

Pre-Roman Settlement Excavated in Southern England

Archaeology students from Bournemouth University have found the remains of prehistoric people and animal sacrifices in a recently discovered Iron Age settlement in Dorset.

Pre-Roman Settlement Excavated in Southern England

The site, which consists of typical Iron Age round houses and storage pits was discovered by archaeology students last September in Winterborne Kingston, Dorset. It dates from around 100 years BC, well before the Roman invasion of Britain.

Over the course of the last three weeks, a team of 65 students from the university have been excavating the site. During this time, they uncovered the bodies of women and men as well as animal body parts in storage pits originally used to hold grain.

“Sites across Dorset in the Late Iron Age are unique because the communities here buried their dead in defined cemeteries,” explained Dr Miles Russell, an archaeologist at Bournemouth University who is leading the dig. “Elsewhere in the country they would either be cremated or placed in rivers, but in Dorset, it seems they did things rather differently.”

The bodies were found in crouched positions in oval-shaped pits and had been buried with joints of meat and pottery bowls originally containing drinks.

The discovery of prehistoric people who lived on the site and items from their everyday lives is providing the team with fascinating new clues about the Iron Age lifestyle.

“We know a lot about life in Britain during and after the Roman invasion because so much has been written down,” said Dr Russell. “But we do not have anything written about life before, the answers to how they lived come solely from what we find in the ground.”

Teams of students and staff from the University have been surveying and excavating sites in the local area for several years.

In 2015 they carried out an excavation of a large iron age town which they named “Duropolis” after the Durotriges tribes who lived in the region. The settlement they are working on today is situated about half a mile to the north of Duropolis.

A cow skull with vertebrae and separated jaw bones uncovered in an oval pitt

In particular, the latest discoveries will help archaeologists understand more about religious practices in communities at the time.

“The animal remains that we’re finding placed in the bottom of pits would have provided weeks of food for this settlement, so it’s a significant sacrifice to their gods to bury so much in the ground. In some pits, animal parts had been placed onto and together with other animals, for example, we found a cow’s head on the body of a sheep.

“We don’t know why they would have done this, to us it’s frankly bizarre, but it’s a fascinating new insight into their belief systems,” explained Dr Russell.

Animal bones uncovered and cleaned

Archaeology student Nathan Sue has been cleaning and preserving the finds from the settlement, including pottery, animal bones and items of jewellery.

“Some of the most exciting finds we have excavated from the dig include a ring that we found on someone’s finger in an associated burial. It is a copper alloy, perhaps bronze and it’s nice to find that as rings of this age are not common,” Nathan said.

Sarah, also studying Archaeology at Bournemouth University, is part of the dig team. She said, “We’ve learnt that the people who lived here two thousand years ago back filled these storage pits with their rubbish and we have found pottery, bone, charcoal and flint. We know that they were burying their dead here and all their limbs are articulated, so they’ve been placed in the ground with care, and they bury their dead in a very specific way so they are very identifiable”.

The excavation will continue for another week and the human bone will be analysed at Bournemouth University before eventually being returned to the ground. The University team will then continue to survey and scan the area of East Dorset for further settlement activity that could reveal more secrets about life in pre-Roman Britain.

Watch the video above to hear more from students and staff on the site

Medieval Prayer Beads Discovered on England’s Holy Island

Medieval Prayer Beads Discovered on England’s Holy Island

The first-ever example of prayer beads from medieval Britain has been discovered on the island of Lindisfarne, one of Britain’s most historic ancient sites, to the excitement of archaeologists.

Medieval Prayer Beads Discovered on England’s Holy Island
These are the oldest prayer beads ever found in England, which were recently unearthed on the Holy Island of Lindisfarne as part of an ongoing crowdfunded archaeological project.

Dating from the 8th to 9th century AD, they were made from salmon vertebrae. Fish an important symbol of early Christianity were clustered around the neck of one of the earliest skeletons – possibly one of the monks buried within the famous early medieval monastery.

Archaeologists are seeking to unearth the lost history of Lindisfarne, also known as Holy Island, off the coast of Northumberland. It was established by the Kings of Northumbria in the 7th century as an important religious centre and became the scene of the first major Viking raid on Britain in the 8th century.

It was there that monks created the Lindisfarne Gospels – the most spectacular manuscript to survive from Anglo-Saxon England – but there have been few tangible finds at the site.

Dr David Petts, the project co-director and a Durham University specialist in early Christianity, told The Telegraph that the fish vertebrae appear to be prayer beads for personal devotion: “We think of the grand ceremonial side of early medieval life in the monasteries and great works like the Lindisfarne Gospels. But what we’ve got here is something which talks to a much more personal side of early Christianity.”

© Provided by The Telegraph Lindisfarne Castle on Holy Island in Northumberland – Brian A Jackson/Brian A Jackson
The Lindisfarne Priory is viewed from above.

He paid tribute to Marina Chorro Giner, a zooarchaeologist, for recognising the significance of the vertebrae: “This bright, eagle-eyed researcher looked at them and said, actually these aren’t just fish bones, they’ve been modified and turned into something.”

Discussing the significance of fish and the sea to the island’s medieval inhabitants, he referred to a monk called Cuthbert, who joined Lindisfarne in the 670s and went on to become the most important saint in northern England in the Middle Ages: “We also have the stories of Christ and the Apostles being fishermen and going on the Sea of Galilee and calming storms. We see in Bede’s Life of St Cuthbert, that Cuthbert calming storms. So the sea is symbolically important.”

The beads offer significant information for understanding how people in the past lived and expressed their beliefs through objects.

Their position around the neck suggested that they had been strung like a necklace. The naturally-occurring hole through the centre of salmon vertebrae had been widened, either before threading or through wear.

The discovery follows ongoing excavations at Lindisfarne by DigVentures, an archaeology social enterprise in which volunteers work alongside professionals, as well as Durham University.

‘Remarkable find’

Lisa Westcott Wilkins of DigVentures described it as “a remarkable find”: “Clearly it was important enough that this person was buried with it. This is the only artefact from within a grave on Lindisfarne, so it’s a significant item. As far as we’re aware, it’s the first example of prayer beads found anywhere in medieval Britain.”

She added: “We believe these beads were used as a personal object of faith, especially given that our modern word bead comes from the Old English gebed, meaning ‘prayer’.”


Such is the enormity of the site that the team will continue their excavations for another four years. Other finds have included runic namestones, coins and copper rings.

Mrs Westcott Wilkins said that they are now focussed on the earliest layer within a cemetery that lies next to the ruins of the 12th-century priory: “There are just so many human remains.”

In 1997, at the nearby medieval chapel at Chevington, Northumberland, fish vertebrae were found with similar modifications. But they were from Atlantic cod, among other fish, and that burial dated from the 13th or 14th century, whereas this is so much earlier.

Metal detectorist believes he’s found King John’s 800-year-old lost treasure

Metal detectorist believes he’s found King John’s 800-year-old lost treasure

A metal detectorist has begun excavating a farm field where he believes he has found the 800-year-old long-lost treasure of King John. Raymond Kosschuk, 63, has been waiting for two years to get approval from the relevant authorities to begin digging at the site in Sutton Bridge, Lincolnshire.

Metal detectorist believes he’s found King John’s 800-year-old lost treasure
Raymond Kosschuk with some of the artefacts found in a field he believes holds King John’s treasure.

The mechanical engineer says he is ‘100 per cent certain’ that the medieval artefact uncovered in 2020 at the undisclosed location belonged to the former King of England. King John, who signed the Magna Carta a year before his death in 1216, lost the treasure during an ill-fated crossing of Wash – an estuary that divides Lincolnshire and Norfolk on October 12, 1216.

Dying only a week later at Newark Castle in Nottinghamshire, from dysentery – or according to some historians by drinking poisoned ale – the hoard has been undiscovered ever since. Raymond is convinced he has struck gold after his equipment picked up ‘overwhelming evidence of the controversial monarch’s lost treasure.

Raymond and the farmer have now begun digging out their findings and will submit them to archaeologists and Lincolnshire’s Finds Officer.

Raymond has been waiting to start digging for the last two years

He said: ‘With many ups and downs, the time has finally arrived for what looks and tested to be the prized lost possessions of King John to be excavated from its deep grave of 15 feet below the ground.

‘It will be finally recovered finally this year before the 810th anniversary of its being lost.

‘Nearly two years on from finding the site, and many weeks of testing, and finding other carts of interest but only one proved positive for multiple high-value targets.

‘There is a strong indication that the Royal Regalia is present, along with King John’s 55 rings and many items which have not been seen since, October 1216.

‘All the legal authorities have been contacted as respect to the legal requirements under the 1996 Treasures act, guidelines protocol which are required are being followed.

‘I am excited to be digging.’

Raymond first discovered the site in 2020 after equipment he had invented began to pick up anomalies in the readings of magnetic fields.

So far he has recovered a wealth of artefacts during a quick sweep with a metal detector including hammered blots, nails, an eyelet and even a metal buckle.

Coastal geologists have looked at the core samples taken from the site.

He added: ‘The geologist has confirmed that the ground is consistent with quicksand and they would have gone down quickly.’

He believes that King John had set off from King’s Lynn without a guide and the baggage train, made up of 2,000 people and more than a mile long, was then caught up in a thick fog.

Raymond, of Keighley in West Yorkshire, said previously: ‘In the 13th century they did not have compasses.

‘If the sun was blocked out because of the fog, they would have meandered off.

‘I am 100 per cent certain that this is it. This is the real thing. When I gained access, I isolated an area of high-value targets and it tested positive for elements of gold, silver, emeralds, sapphires and rubies.

‘The biggest attraction of this area I detected an is an accumulation of silver.

‘This tells me there is between 60lb-120lb of silver but it could be more. I believe this was the cash box that King John was carrying.

‘It is sitting out there and if it was so easy to find it would have been found. This has been hidden for 800 years.’

6,000-Year-Old Settlement Found Outside Stonehenge Could “Rewrite British History”

6,000-Year-Old Settlement Found Outside Stonehenge Could “Rewrite British History”

The culture that built Stonehenge might be much older than previously thought. In research that could “rewrite” long-established British history, University of Buckingham archaeologists have discovered a 6,000-year-old Mesolithic settlement located close to the prehistoric monument of Stonehenge.

The discovery of the site, which predates Stonehenge by at least 1,000 years, has massive implications for scholarly understanding of the origins of British civilization.

What they found: reports that the site at Blick Mead is about 1.5 miles from Stonehenge and contains “untouched samples of stone tools, flints and even evidence of possible Mesolithic structures — the only finds of their kind in the Stonehenge World Heritage site.”

The encampment may be proof that Blick Mead was occupied by humans well before Stonehenge was completed between 3,000 and 1,500 B.C., and that Britain had been settled by people before its land bridge to Europe was submerged under what we now call the English Channel more than 8,000 years ago.

Previously, archaeologists had assumed that the Stonehenge site was unoccupied prior to its construction. But the new dig site contains evidence of feasting in the form of aurochs carcasses, indicating that it might have been a meeting site of special significance for hunter-gatherer tribes. It is also located near a valuable natural spring.

“It’s the first proof of people living there earlier, and indicates that Stonehenge could have been planned for years,” a project spokesman told the Daily Mail. “It’s the first indication of a settlement, not just people passing through and dropping tools.”

“British prehistory may have to be rewritten,” dig leader David Jacques said in a press release. “This is the latest-dated Mesolithic encampment ever found in the U.K. Blick Mead site connects the early hunter-gatherer groups returning to Britain after the Ice Age to the Stonehenge area all the way through to the Neolithic in the late 5th millennium B.C.”

“Blick Mead could explain what archaeologists have been searching for centuries — an answer to the story of Stonehenge’s past,” he said.

This has been a big year for Stonehenge: University of Birmingham experts have released other major findings this year, including the results of a sophisticated surveying operation that revealed the Stonehenge site was much bigger than previously understood.

Instead of a standalone structure, the findings suggested that the monument was just the centrepiece of a far larger complex involving at least 17 chapels and hundreds of smaller features.

The survey revealed other secrets of Stonehenge, such as the existence of a burial mound constructed at least 4,000 to 5,000 years ago atop the ruins of a gigantic 6,000-year-old wooden “house of the dead.” New Scientist Sumit Paul-Choudhury writes that the hall was “used to store bodies that had been ritualistically defleshed and disassembled.”

But there’s one major problem: The BBC reports that scheduled tunnel construction to alleviate congestion on the nearby A303 roadway poses the potential to disrupt archaeological study of the site.

“Our only chance to find out about the earliest chapter of Britain’s history could be wrecked if the tunnel goes ahead,” Jacques said. Some researchers worry that the new tunnel could radically alter the local water table, potentially causing serious damage to subsurface relics that have been buried for millennia. 

“There is nothing to celebrate about a proposal that would inflict at least a mile of massively damaging road building on the surface of our most iconic world heritage site,” Friends of the Earth spokesman Mike Birkin told the Guardian. “We have a global duty to safeguard the whole site. The international bodies who hold legal responsibility for world heritage sites have not even been consulted — and there are grave concerns about the damage a short tunnel could cause.”

Hopefully, the authorities can work out a plan that preserves Stonehenge and its remaining secrets for future study — because apparently, it still has much to teach us.