It’s officially beach season. So get your swim trunks, towel, sunblock, and… metal detector? Well, the metal detector may not be absolutely necessary, but it’s not a bad idea if you want to find some buried treasure. Irish retiree Brian Murray brought along his metal detector on his trip to the beach, and it paid off big time.
Murray discovered two extravagant Roman gold rings, and a silver belt buckle along the shores of Dundrum Bay in Murlough, an area in Northern Ireland famed for its natural beauty. “I was actually collecting militaria on the shores of Murlough — it was an American training area during the Second World War,” he said. “I found the small ring first and within five minutes retrieved the other big ring and the buckle. It’s like fishing for mackerel and catching a salmon”
The rings and buckle are a very significant find. They’re from the 4th or 5th century, and have been officially declared treasure. Dr. Greer Ramsey, who works for the National Museums Northern Ireland, explained why this find was so exceptional.
“Roman material is incredibly rare, so this makes this hoard of special significance,” Greer said to the BBC. “Before those rings turned up, there was little of that exceptional quality (found in that part of Ireland) so it is putting the northeast of Ireland on the Roman map,” he added.
Greer also theorized that the treasure likely all belonged to one person. Murray claims to have found the items within four square feet of each other, bolstering this theory.
“Most of the other finds of Roman material do occur along the east coast, so you imagine they were trade contacts or perhaps even settlers or people who were shipwrecked and washed ashore,” Greer explained. “It is possible that it belonged to a burial and someone was buried at sea. It is equally possible that somebody was wearing it when their ship went down.”
Due to a dispute over exactly where the treasure was found, Murray has not yet been allowed to keep the treasure. Despite that, hopefully he is enjoying his good fortune. Because like he said himself, “It’s not about the money. It’s about the thrill of finding that.”
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