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'More treasure to be discovered' claims Staffordshire Hoard finder

By Jamie Brassington | Staffordshire | News | Published:

An amateur metal detectorist who unearthed the £3.2 million Staffordshire Hoard has relived the moment he discovered the huge haul and said he believes there is more treasure to be discovered at the site.

A helmet from the Staffordshire Hoard find

It was 10 years ago yesterday that Terry Herbert, 65, came across the treasure trove on a field in Hammerwich in Staffordshire.

Dr Kevin Leahy, who catalogued the Hoard for the Portable Antiquities Scheme, told the retired builder at the time that he had found the equivalent of "Tutankhamun's treasure".

Mr Herbert said: "I believe there are another 100 or so pieces in there.

"There are still pieces missing from the hoard. Doctor Kevin Leahy said to me I had found something equal to Tutankhamun's treasure. That's when the shock came."

The remarkable discovery made headlines around the world and earned Mr Herbert a share of £3.2m, split between him and the farmer who owned the land, Fred Johnson.

But despite earning international fame and fortune, he said: "I'm still just a Burntwood lad."

The hoard consisted of 3,500 items of gold and jewellery. Mr Herbert said he believed the site was not excavated properly which is why some pieces are still missing.

He began metal detecting in 1991 and later joined Bloxwich Research and Metal Detecting Club, of which he is still a member today.

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Some of his previous and notable finds include two 3,500-year-old axes dating back from the Bronze Age.

But the Staffordshire Hoard was his - and Britain's - biggest by far.

It was on July 5, 2009, that Mr Herbert came upon the hoard. He said he was almost guided to the location.

"I was there between 11.30am and 11.45am on the day," he said. "I had the sun on my back and I closed my eyes.

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"Then I felt a sensation of my left cheek. When I opened my eyes I thought I would go in that direction and started walking. It was around 80 yards away that I had the first signals."

When the signal became really strong, Mr Herbert began digging into the field. He dug down to around 12ft when he found a small piece of gold, which looked like a pin and which he examined under a magnifying glass.

This spurred him on to keep digging and he then found other items, which were later expertly cleaned up and discovered to be a hilt plate - a handle of a weapon or tool - and a pommel from a Saxon sword.

These important finds paved the way for archaeologists and excavation teams to unearth the huge hoard beneath the surface of the field.

Mr Herbert said it was only his second time visiting the field. He had found a few old coins, thought to be Roman, on a field opposite previously.

He made his first trip to the Staffordshire Hoard field a few weeks earlier, which ended abruptly after his detector malfunctioned, but on his return trip, he used an older model which he was more accustomed to.

Mr Herbert said the children of two previous farmers of the land, who owned it before Mr Johnson, told him that an ancient burial mound existed on the site.

Nowadays Mr Herbert, a builder, still metal detects when his knee is not playing up.

The hoard site was located in the ancient Anglo-Saxon kingdom of Mercia. Several battles took place in the area with the Anglo-Saxons facing off against the Vikings at Wednesfield and also Quatford in Shropshire.

Jamie Brassington

By Jamie Brassington
Senior Multi-Media Journalist - @JamieB_Star

Senior reporter at the Express & Star. Contact me at jamie.brassington@expressandstar.co.uk.

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