A CWMBRAN painter and decorator who made the find of a lifetime while metal detecting saw the hoard officially declared as valuable treasure today.
Phillip Turton, 36, found the hoard of bronze and gold ornaments, buried with a bronze weapon and bronze axe, on finds at a farm in Llantrisant Fawr in Monmouthshire between September 2013 and March 2014.
Experts have dated the hoard to the Taunton period of the Middle Bronze Age around 1400-1275 BC, or between 3,400-3,275 years ago.
Dad-of-two Mr Turton, who only started metal detecting six years ago, said: “It’s the pinnacle; it’s every detectorist’s dream I suppose. It is the find of a lifetime and I’ve peaked a bit too early I think!
“I hated history in school, I took geography. I really didn’t see the point of learning about the past when there was a future we had to get on with. But I’m just mad on history now.”
Mr Turton is set to be rewarded for his find, along with the farm’s owner, when the hoard is officially valued next year.
On why he had become interested in metal detecting, he said: “My uncle had a Victorian coin and he kept it all his life. If it had a rare date, it was worth lots of money and he wanted me to Google how much it was worth because he wasn’t very computer literate. He was one year out on the date of having a rare coin and I just thought – I suppose it was a get rich quick scheme – if I got myself a metal detector I could go and find one of these coins.
“But I was finding coins from kings and queens that I had never really heard of or knew about and it just started my interest in history. I had to learn who these kings were, when they reigned and it just snowballed from there.”
The National Museum Wales now wants to acquire the hoard with grant funding through a lottery-funded project, after Gwent coroner David Bowen declared the find treasure at Newport Coroner’s Court.
Mr Turton added: “For it to be in a museum and perhaps for my children to go on a school trip and see daddy’s name on it, that does it for me.”
And the museum’s principal curator of prehistory Adam Gwilt said: “This varied group of ornaments, weapons and tools provides an important addition to our understanding of Middle Bronze Age communities across south Wales. At this time, many bronze ornament hoards were buried across southern Britain and northern France.
“The Llantrisant Fawr hoard now shows that Bronze Age people here were also part of this wider tradition, using and burying these fine items of bronze and gold jewellery.”