Mike has always had curious genes, ever ready to discover hidden wonders. So, he was greatly piqued when his metal detector went off that day, and he knew right away that he would see his new mission through to the end. But Mike never imagined that he would dig up such mind-blowing treasure.
He also never imagined that he would have to involve the authorities. But now that he was certain there was something a few feet below from where he stood, he had to trace it. He needed to find out what had triggered his metal detector.
Mike Combed the Entire Field
Following the initial alert, Mike decided to comb the remaining parts of the field. Normally, as a person moves away from a find, the beeping will continue to fade until it completely stops. But that’s not what happened with Mike!
It was weird. As he walked further away from his initial "beep area," his detector beeped louder and louder. Had the machine developed a glitch? Or was it possible there was something below that was taking up a lot of space in the field?
Let the Digging Begin!
As soon as Mike’s detector started giving off signals all across the field, he knew he had no other choice but to trust his gut feeling. And it told him one thing: it’s time to get dirty and dig for treasure!
Mike seized his trusty shovel and got busy on the moist soil. Before long, the hobbyist had dug a hole about a foot wide and two feet deep. Even then he had not a single clue about what he was about to unearth. Up next: artifact number one.
His First Discovery Was a Small and Round Object
In the past, Mike had tried to find treasure in this area, but all he dug up were some old pennies of little value. Now he had stumbled upon something a lot more precious than a kind of coin or an animal bone.
With great care, he removed the small, round object from the dirt. Could it be a coin after all? He wasn’t sure. It definitely seemed like one. To be certain, he scraped off some of the dirt from its surface, and a mysterious engraving appeared.
He Didn’t Spend Too Much Time on the First Artifact
Astonished, Mike turned the object one way and the other, attempting to make sense of what it might be. Engraved on one side was a figure, while on the other side was some sort of message.
The enthusiast quickly knew that he hadn’t dug up a coin because a ring was attached to the upper part of the object. It seemed to suggest that it was connected to a chain or clip at one time. Mike didn’t dwell on the relic for too long, though, because his eyes had just caught something else in the dirt.
The Object Was Stuck
Mike had no trouble unearthing the first artifact, but this one was buried in the mud and wouldn’t budge. So he threw his shovel aside and started using his hands to do the digging, hoping his fingers would be nimble enough to pry out the mysterious object.
Sadly, it remained stuck. Neither did it help when he rested on his heels to get a better hold. Whatever the object was, it was clearly enjoying its cozy little spot in the mud. But Mike wasn’t throwing in the towel just yet.
The Ground Was Putting up a Resistance
Mike pulled as hard as he could, but the stubborn object just wouldn’t yield. It baffled him, though, as the rusty little piece of iron didn’t appear extra heavy. Finding himself at an impasse, Mike decided to go back to the drawing board.
Down on his knees once again, he tackled the problem from a different angle, this time removing the soil around the relic. Shaking off the earth around ideally should free the object enough for Mike to yank it out of the ground. But some tasks aren’t as easy as they sound. Apparently, the earth wasn’t letting go of the artifact so easily. Keeping reading to find out Mike’s next move.
It Appeared the Object Was Attached to Something
On Mike’s second attempt at moving the soil, he started to notice signs that the strange object was attached to something. And he had no clue what that “something” could possibly be. The mystery surrounding the piece of metal was growing, and so was Mike’s interest.
With so many questions begging for answers, he kept on digging. What other mysteries did the earth hold? What was responsible for the object’s heaviness? The discovery Mile was on the verge of making would leave him stunned.
What Mike Unearthed Looked Like Links
As a seasoned treasure hunter would probably have done in such a situation, Mike kept on digging around the immovable object. This eventually led him to uncover a second and then a third object. That was when it hit him that the strange round objects were actually links!
What his initial discovery had now unfurled sent shivers down his spine. But it was only the beginning. A question crept into his mind: what in the world had all these chains been used for?
The Links Were Endless
As Mike continued to unearth more of these strange links, it occurred to him that they would probably never stop. But after what seemed like forever he reached the end of the mysterious chain. This caused him to wonder what it had originally been attached to.
The task of trying to solve this intriguing mystery had taken a while, and soon dusk settled like a blanket upon the land. It was Mike’s cue to call it a day and he packed up. He’d have to wait till morning to uncover whatever was buried beneath his feet.
He Remembered the Pembrokeshire Burial Chambers
Before Mike fell asleep that night, his mind drifted. Could it be that he had just unearthed something sinister and the chains had been buried for a reason? A while ago, he had read about Pembrokeshire and the ancient burial chambers beneath it.
Lying in bed in a dark room, thoughts of age-old burial sites and his latest discovery weren’t exactly soothing. But was it possible that he had found one of such ancient chambers? The thought terrified him, but it also made him more anxious to return to the farm and unearth more of its secrets.
He Got up Early the Next Morning
At the crack of dawn, Mike dashed out of the house. His destination? The mystery site he had explored the night before. The strange chain was all he could think about all night, and he was more anxious than ever to find out what was at the other end of it and why it was so heavy.
It never crossed his mind, though, that the authorities would soon gain knowledge of his discovery. And they would swoop down on his digging site before sunset that day.
The Earth Burst Open Under Him
Fortunately, the site remained just as Mike had left it. So it appeared that nobody had wandered around it while he was away. With that assurance, he got to work once again digging his precious trove.
Unsurprisingly, the ground revealed more and more of the mysterious chains. Then suddenly, Mike found something weird. There was a hole right under the chain. Believing it would give him some leverage, he immediately drove his shovel into the hole. And the earth burst open underneath him.
The Hole Revealed an Underground Cavern
In a flash, Mike fell right through the hole in the ground, landing with a thud a few feet below. Luckily, he wasn’t hurt, and he was still with his backpack which contained a flashlight! He flicked it on.
Looking around him, Mike realized that he hadn’t fallen into a regular hole, but rather he was in some sort of cavern. A closer look at the ground, walls, and roof of the cave sent shivers down his spine. He could hardly believe what he was seeing!
There Were Bizarre Inscriptions on the Walls
On closer inspection of the cavern’s walls, Mike saw that almost all of them bore some sort of bizarre scratch-like letterings. But there was something strikingly familiar about these markings, and Mike thought back to where he might have seen them before.
He moved closer to one of the walls which had the most pronounced markings and ran his fingers over them. They formed “VV.” It wasn’t too long before he realized that the double Vs had been rehashed again and again all around the walls.
The ‘VV’ Led Him to a Second Hole in the Ground
The mysterious 'VV' markings started to make Mike uncomfortable, as they were everywhere on the cavern’s walls. Making the discovery more unnerving was that it looked like someone had nervously scratched the symbols onto the stone.
What Mike had stumbled across left him puzzled. But more curious than ever, he decided to follow the markings. Tracing them led him to a completely new cavity in the ground, but next to its entrance was something that was congealed in the mud. Keep reading to find out what the ‘VV’ symbols mean.
His New Find Drew the Authorities
Mike finally summoned enough courage to scrape off the mud from his new discovery, and what it revealed made his jaw drop. Beneath all the caked mud was a hard and brown-colored mass. Mike stared at it in shock. He knew precisely what it was.
As a metal detecting aficionado, Mike knew there were laws already in place for such incredible discoveries. So he had no other option but to alert the authorities and tell them about all he had found.
He Unearthed Human Body Parts
What began as a normal day out with his metal detector had unfurled into a terrifying discovery of human body parts. There were a thousand-and-one reasons why someone would be buried in the farm and each one was just as frightening as the other.
Snapping out of his thoughts, it dawned on Mike that the new mystery item was still in his hand. Precisely, it was a human molar. He finally realized that it wasn’t fun and games anymore. He was in a deeply serious situation.
The Authorities Poked Fun at Him
Mike had to make a call for help for a couple of reasons. One, he had fallen into a deep, dark cave with no way out, and two, he had just discovered human teeth. He immediately rushed to find his cell phone.
Mike called the officials at the National Museum of Wales, and the reply he received was unexpected. They found it hard believing his story about making an important find and laughed at him instead. Next: You can’t imagine how the authorities first reacted to Mike’s phone call. Keep reading to find out.
The Authorities Stopped Laughing After He Told Them One Important Fact
In an interview, Mike said, “What the archaeologists said at the time was that because there had never been a find down here before, they didn’t believe it.” He needed to come up with a way to change their minds about the possible burial site fast, but how?
It then occurred to him that he forgot to tell them that he had also discovered human remains in the cave, and not just an old chain and strange writings on the wall. As soon as they heard that detail, the museum's officials stopped laughing.
The Site Stunned the Officials
Mike let them know where he was and anxiously awaited their arrival. When the museum officials and archaeologists landed at the site, they were astounded. Mike said in an interview, “the look on their faces when they saw it said it all.”
It was great that the authorities now believed his story, but Mike was equally glad that he would finally be rescued from the hole! After that, it was time to begin excavating the site with the professionals and find answers to the many lingering questions.
They Unearthed Two Chariot Wheels
The artifact evaluation process kicked off in June, four months after Mike first discovered them. Combining expert knowledge, strategy, and the right tools, archeologists successfully uncovered two rusted chariot wheels; proof that they were about to make a huge discovery.
Mike could hardly believe that it all began with him digging up what resembled a coin. It never crossed his mind that his little discovery would lead to something so significant. Many treasure hunters may never make such an important find.
Mike’s First Discovery Is Finally Identified
As for the rusted chain, Mike's first find, he didn’t think he would ever get to know what it was used for, not to mention what it had been originally attached to. But thanks to the experts at the museum, all that changed.
He said in an interview, “My first find was a Celtic horse harness junction piece.“When I found it, my friends said I would never top it, but the next day I went back and found the rest.” What a way to disprove your friends! Up next: more is revealed about the mystic cavern!
What the “VV” Symbol Stands For
Archeologist Rachel Hall shed more light on the connected “VV” markings. According to her, the symbol is known as a witch mark, and they were used to prevent witches from entering a building. The particular markings Mike discovered are called Marian marks.
They’re believed to be the initials of the Virgin Mary and meant to protect the area where the marks are found. But the ones in the cavern were a little different. They had been written nervously, and they were everywhere, suggesting something bizarre occurred at Pembrokeshire ages ago.
The Locals Believed It Was a Portal to Hell
Archeologist Alison Fearn explained that the 14th and 18th-century markings were the locals’ method of shielding the earth from evil spirits. And since they were inscribed on almost all of the cavern’s surface, Mike had reason to believe so too.
The townspeople must have thought that the cave was a doorway to Hell. Such beliefs were taken seriously back in 14th-century Europe, so they took action to protect themselves. But that’s not all Fean had to share about the Virgin Mary markings.
The VV Symbol Has Another Theory
Although the symbol appeared to represent protection from creatures of the underworld, there was another theory. It was also believed that Pembrokshire village was battling famines, poverty, and disease at the time. And these experiences could easily have been blamed on the forces of evil.
A retired professor of the New Testament Language and Literature, John Charlesworth, also explained that the town’s inhabitants were probably immersed in the superstitious nature of the symbols. The area of the town, alongside the deep cave, made them constantly live in fear. Up next: revisiting the chariot.
How Ancient Traditions Worked
Although the townsfolk had thought the cave harbored evil beings, a queen or chieftain--along with their chariot--had certainly been buried inside it. Speaking on this, Mike said, “I knew the importance of them straight away….I’d read all about chariot burials and just wished it could have been me, so finding this has been a privilege.”
According to archeologists, the chariots were around 2,500 years old. And what Mike had initially believed to be human remains weren’t human at all.
The Chariot Was Buried Standing Upright Instead of Lying Flat
The teeth Mike found were actually from one of the horses that had been buried with the queen or chieftain and their chariot. Extended research also showed that during the Iron Age, it was customary for high-ranking nobilities to be laid to rest with their horses, chariots, and weapons.
But there was something peculiar about the burial site Mike had uncovered. He explained that the burials normally featured the chariot wheels laid flat. Apparently, his discovery didn’t follow that pattern.
The Ground Leveled Out Long Ago
Mike is of the opinion that rather than burying the high-ranking official beside the chariot, in this case, they were placed inside it and sitting in an upright position. Furthermore, there would have been a mound of earth covering the chariot but it had leveled out long ago.
After learning more about his treasure trove, Mike was surprised that with just a metal detector and a dash of instincts, he had been able to make such a big discovery. And this was just the start!
Time to Roll in the Big Equipment!
After the site had been sealed off from the public, the museum officials brought in the big equipment. Mike had found tiny pieces of artifacts that required running a ground-penetrating radar over the farm. So we’re talking about some big and advanced tech. In fact, they looked like something right out of a National Treasure flick!
From the iron chain to the royal’s chariot, if you thought all of Mike’s discoveries at the farm were amazing on their own, then buckle up! You would be amazed at what geophysical sonar revealed!
A Ditch Ring Was Discovered
Next, the archeologists surveyed the land, and what they uncovered afterward can only be described as a ditch ring. This was a 12-meter circle that encased the site. And interestingly, they found several of them!
In fact, researchers dug up two more burials, and they were both within ditch rings. From all they had discovered, they concluded that Mike had happened upon a Celtic settlement that had gone unnoticed for hundreds of years. Don’t miss: How much Mike’s getting paid for his incredible find!
Plans for Mike and His Treasure
The ditch ring burial sites were not all Mike’s initial hunch led him to unearth. The metal detector enthusiast had also uncovered about 34 other objects, including tool handles, a brooch, and bronze bits. “I still can’t believe it,” Mike said.
“Obviously, I’ve read other people’s finds. I’ve watched them on the telly, and I’ve always thought, I wouldn’t mind finding that, it’s still surreal, and life-changing,” he went on. But it wasn’t over yet with this project. In fact, it had only just begun.
The Project Will Require a Great Amount of Funding
Adam Gwilt, the principal curator of prehistoric archaeology at the National Museum of Wales, said that the discoveries were possibly “witness to some great historical events of the time, as Iron Age people defended their ways of life and identity from the expansion of the Roman Empire.”
Learning more about Mike’s discovery is a project that will require a great deal of funding. So, Gwilt and his team have been collaborating with several partners to conduct further investigation into the site and its treasures.
The Final Question: What's Mike's Payment?
For his hard work--and trusting his gut--Mike would be receiving a hefty reward. He expects to cash in no less than six or seven figures for his historic find. Although by law he has to share his earnings with the landowner, it’s still a pretty impressive sum for an amateur treasure hunter.
Mike explained, “It’s the biggest ever metal detecting find, as in there’s never been a chariot ever discovered by a metal detectorist. There have been hoards found, but never anything like this.” May your days be filled with more exciting discoveries, Mike!