Yorkshire treasure stash unearthed after 1,000 years

MORE than a thousand years ago a Saxon thief, desperate to hide his plunder, stashed a hoard of stolen gold in what is today a nondescript West Yorkshire field.

What became of the thief is lost to the ages and his precious loot lay safely buried in that same field for the next millennium.

There it remained until a treasure hunter, out with his trusty metal detector last year, experienced the moment he will never forget when he unearthed the amazing find on the farmland near Leeds.

Archaeological experts say they believe the three gold rings, half a gold ingot and part of a brooch date from the 9th-11th century.

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A treasure trove inquest at Wakefield heard that the finder, who did not wish to be named, had been in the field on September14 last year and had found the broken ingot using his metal detector.

He returned home, but went back to the same field the next day where he found the three rings and section of brooch.

After the inquest, he told the YEP that a valuer said the haul could have a market value of up to 100,000.

He said: "I've been metal detecting for a few years and it's something I'll never ever forget. This is the sort of thing you don't ever believe will happen."

West Yorkshire coroner David Hinchliff declared the find treasure at the inquest.

The actual location of the field remains a closely guarded secret.

But Helen Gomersall, senior archaeologist with the West Yorkshire Archaeology Advisory Service said: "It's only speculation but one theory is that this may have been a thief's stash.

"He may have kept going back to it and have been living comfortably off the proceeds for some time before he died."

She said the broken ingot might suggest bits had been cut from it.

The treasure will now be assessed by experts at the British Museum who may wish to acquire it for display.

The finder may also receive a fee.

Mr Hinchliff told him: "It must have been one of those moments which you will remember for the rest of your life."

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