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Safari park keeper David Booth, 35, had owned his metal detector for five days when he discovered four 2,000-year-old gold neckbands in a Stirlingshire field. The neckbands date from between the 1st and 3rd century BC and represent the most important hoard of iron age gold in Scotland to date…
“I’d just practised around the house with nails and bits and pieces. I went with it for the first time, parked the vehicle up, got out, picked a direction to set off on, and about seven yards away that was the first thing I came across. I was completely stunned, there was a bit of disbelief. This was my first find…”
Under Scottish law, the crown can claim any archaeological objects found in Scotland. Finders have no ownership rights and must report any objects to Scotland’s Treasure Trove Unit. But Booth may receive a reward equal to the value of the jewellery. “There are loads of figures getting bandied about, so you just need to wait and see what the valuation committee values it at,” he said. “I’m trying not to speculate about it at the moment.”
Despite the realisation that he might never match his initial find, Booth said he would stick with his new hobby. “A lot of people say you might as well throw it away, but I’ll keep on going, there might be other stuff out there,” he said. “It’s a good hobby and it gets you out in the fresh air…”
Dr Fraser Hunter, iron age and Roman curator at the National Museum of Scotland, said he “almost fell off my seat” when he first saw photographs of the discovery.
“The archaeological value is stunning,” he said. “Archaeologically speaking, this is a remarkable find. It’s one of the most important hoards from Scotland ever. We haven’t found anything of this quality.
All you might find out back of our place would be tin cans from the old stagecoach road – and maybe some beer cans.