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Wales: detectorist unearths Iron Age ritual haul

Parts of an Iron Age chariot found by a metal detectorist have been declared treasure by the Pembrokeshire coroner, reports the BBC.

Mike Smith made the discovery in February 2018 on farm land in the south of the county.

The court at Milford Haven heard last month that the finds were part of the ritual burial of an entire chariot and that the site is now legally protected.

Mr Smith says the 2,000-year-old finds could be worth a "life-changing" six to seven figure sum.
He is now legally obliged to sell the 34 artefacts to a museum at an independent valuation.
The payment will be shared fifty-fifty between Mr Smith and the landowner.

"It's the biggest ever metal detecting find, as in there's never been a chariot ever discovered by a metal detectorist,” he said. “There've been hoards found, but never anything like this."

It was a chance find after the weather forced Mr Smith's to switch to another field.
When an expert told him it was a Celtic harness decoration and not a medieval brooch, he realised there might be more.

Mr Smith, from Milford Haven said: "It's very difficult to describe, you know it when you see it, and you know it's special."

He thought immediately that the artefacts pointed to the site of a traditional burial, usually reserved for high-ranking tribe members who would be interred complete with their chariot, horses, tack and weapons.

"The chariot's definitely there … and the body's in it … It's the first one found outside of Yorkshire," he said.

The National Museum of Wales has said it will try to buy the treasure.

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