Metal Detecting Enthusiast Discovers An Ancient Buried Chain, And His Instinct Tells Him To Keep Digging
Adventurous people find different ways to keep their life interesting and exciting. Some are willing to climb Mount Everest to have a thrill, while others are happy with a metal detector and hiking. This is something that Mike Smith of Pembrokeshire, Wales, can testify. Ever since he was a 12-years-old boy, he’s been out in the fields, searching for buried treasure. He had only one dream – to find something extraordinary.
Then, what seemed to be an ordinary day, turned out to be a huge milestone in the now-all-grown-up life of Mike Smith. One day, he stood on the fields, with his metal detector when something happened. Do you know that feeling when your gut tells you to keep on doing something? Some people call it an inner feeling or inner guidance. This is exactly what Mike was experiencing on this specific day. His gut told him to dig and to keep digging. Keep on reading to learn what Mike has discovered and if it’s the most significant finding in the 21st century.
30. Meet Mike
Mike Smith is a metal detecting enthusiast from Pembrokeshire, Wales. Being a metal detecting enthusiast means that they are ready at any time to search. This includes bad weather, and even rainy days.
For real metal detecting enthusiasts’ going out on a rainy day is nothing unusual. That’s why Mike was heading out of this specific rainy day. After all, he had a dream, and he was ready to fulfill it. Little did he know at that time that his dream was finally on his hand reach.
29. Mike Was Curious By Nature
Mike has always been a curious man. It seemed only fitting that he finds a hobby that reflects his curiosity. So, metal detecting looked like a logical step.
This specific day, Mike was ready for a treat. Moreover, Mike had no idea that his finding would involve authorities as ell. This is what Mike found when his metal detector went off.
28. Mike Swept The Rest Of The Field
It’s rather simple to use a metal detector. They often consist of a handheld unit with a sensor probe that can be swept over the ground or other objects. If, and when, the sensor comes near a piece of metal, a specific tone turns on. For meta detector fans, this is the most enjoyable sound.
Mike started his search as usual. He started checking part by part of the field. Soon after he started his ‘hunt,’ the beep went off. So, after the initial beep, Mike decided to sweep the rest of the field. He had no idea what was waiting for him ahead.
27. Time To Start Digging!
In most cases, once the initial beep kicks in, the tipping grows fainter and fainter until it stops completely. However, this wasn’t the case for Mike. His detector was louder and louder with each passing step.
This was unusual, and Mike knew that he was on the right path. Or it was maybe a machine malfunction? Or maybe, just perhaps, there was something huge under the ground? He was about to discover.
26. The First Discovery
In most cases, rewards are minimal when you are passionate about metal detecting. Mike knew that every day is different, and he knew that he should trust his instincts. Once he was sure that the sound is constant, Mike took his handy dandy shovel and started digging.
Mike set to work on the damp soil. He started small, with a hole about a foot wide and two feet deep. At the time, he had no idea that he choose the perfect spot to dig. Here is what Mike discovered.
25. The First Item
When Mike’s detector started going off all around the field, he knew nothing left to do but trust his instincts. His instincts were telling him to start digging and to dig fast.
Mike was thinking about what it could be. Maybe an old coin? He was familiar with finding metal coins before. All in, those coins weren’t worth much. He also remembered that once he had dug up something similar to animal bone. He was really hoping that this time he would find something more precious.
24. How Precious Was His First Discovery?
Mike has definitely dug up something, but it wasn’t an animal bone, neither the coin. One thing was for sure – this was a tiny object. Mike Mike lifted the small round object out of the dirt.
At the time, he wasn’t sure what it was. He was positive that it wasn’t a coin, but again, it looked like one. But after rubbing some of the earth off the surface, an engraving began to appear.
23. He Didn’t Dwell On The First Artifact For Too Long
Mike really wanted to myth bust this small object. He flipped the object, trying to figure out what it could be. There was a figure etched into one side while the other held some kind of message.
There is a secret message? Then it must be a treasure if there is a bit of a secret? Still, Mike had no idea what the object was. There was this small piece in the shape of a ring, attached to the top of the object. This was interesting, but another object draw his attention.
22. The Object Wouldn’t Move
Mike reached out for the second object, but it wouldn’t move. It seems as it was stuck int he mud. So, Mike put down his shovel and start digging with his hands. He was hoping that his fingers would be enough to reach out and pull the object out.
However, he still couldn’t move the object. Mike even had to sit back on his heels to get a better grip. Whatever it was, it was happy staying in the mud. However, Mike wasn’t ready to give up.
21. The Ground Was Putting Up Quite The Fight
Mike pulled and pulled, but the object wouldn’t move a bit. How hard can it be to pull out a rusty and old piece of metal? Plus, it really didn’t look all that heavy. So, Mike decided to change his approach.
He got back down on his knees and moved the soil around the artifact. Jiggling the earth this way should make the object more comfortable to pull. At least, that’s what should happen in theory. In practice, Mike still had problems with pulling the object out. Here is what he did next.
20. Treasure Was Stuck
The ground refused to give the treasure that easily. As Mike pulled the object, it seemed that the object was connected to something. What that ‘something’ could be, he had no idea.
Mike had so many questions, but he knew that he must focus on solutions now, rather than unknown. So, he continued to dig. What else could be down there? Was, in fact, this object super heavy? Well, what was about to uncover sent chills down his spine.
19. Mike Uncovered What Looked Like Links
Treasure hunters are passionate and determined. When they are one step from their next discovery, nothing can stop them from learning what it is. As expected, Mike did the same thing. He continued to dig around the stubborn object.
As he dig around the second object, he noticed that there is more, another object, the third one. Finally, a light bulb went on in his head, and he realized that the mysterious object is actually plural – objects. These round objects were links! Goosebumps crept up his body. What could these chains have been used for?
18. The Links Went On Forever
You must admit that finding links in the ground isn’t a pleasant feeling. Plus, they can last forever, so who knows how old they are, and what was their initial purpose. Once realizing that links are his mysterious objects, Mike had another question on his mind.
What did this chain use to be attached to? The light was almost gone, and Mike knew that he needs to pack up. Whatever was buried beneath him was going to have to wait until sunrise.
17. That Same Night
Mike couldn’t sleep. His brain was working a hundred miles per hour. His mind wandered. What is he had just uncovered something truly terrible? Was something more, or someone beneath the ground?
He had recently read about old burial sites underneath Pembrokeshire. Not a comforting thought while lying in a dark room. Could his discovery similar to this discovery? COuld it be that he found another ancient burial chambers? There was the only way to find out.
16. The Next Morning
As soon as the sun crept above the horizon, Mike was out. He was heading toward yesterday’s location. He was eager to learn once for all what links were attached to.
What Mike didn’t realize was that his find was about to become known to the authorities. He had no idea how vital his spot was and that authorities would be his digging site later that day.
15. The Ground Opened Up Beneath Mike’s Feet
Mike expected to find the spot just as he left it. Thankfully, his location was just as he left it. He was sure that no one was messing with his spot. So, once again, he began to dig.
More of the strange links started popping out, and Mike noticed something unusual. There was a hole beneath the chain. He thrust his shovel into the hole, hoping that it would help with leverage. Not in a million years would he imagined that the ground would open up beneath his feet.
14. The Hole Led To An Underground Cavern
Mike fell straight through the ground, landing a few feet below the surface. What a ride it was! This was crazier than any of his imagination moments. Luckily, he wasn’t injured, and he was wearing his backpack.
His backpack held a flashlight, and it helped him realize where he was. Turning the light on, Mike concluded that he has fallen into some kind of a chamber. He took a closer look at his surroundings, and fear started occupying his mind. Could he breathe here? And for how long?
13. Strange Markings On The Walls
Once he realized where he is, Mie started looking more tightly around him. Then he noticed something unusual on walls. Moreover, he discovered strange scratches littering almost every surface. To make everything crazier, those markings looked familiar.
Mike went to the wall with the most vivid markings and ran his fingers over them. He took in the etchings, he realized that his fingers formed ‘VV.’ It didn’t take long for him to realize the conjoined V’s were repeated over and over dozens of times. What was this one about?
12. He Followed The ‘VV’ To Another Hole In The Ground
At the time, Mike did the only that he could – he followed the markings. The ‘VV’ symbol began to make Mike uneasy because they were all over the cavern walls. What was spooky about these markings was that they seemed to be scratched into the stone by someone with trembling hands.
Mike had no idea what he had come across, but he knew what he needs to do. He decides to follow the markings. After all, he was the treasure hunter. This move leads him to another hold in the ground. This was now more than just an exciting day. Now he wanted to know what was behind the VV symbols.
11. Calling In the Authorities
Mike wasn’t sure at first if he has enough strength in him to make another discovery. Again, he was a treasure hunter, and it was his responsibility to mud off the discovery.
When he finally chalked up the courage to see what this hole was hiding, he couldn’t believe what he was looking at. He knew that when you find something that is so huge as this one, you need to call the authorities. He had to inform then what he had found.
10. He Uncovered Human Remains
What started as a hunt for old metal coins, turned out to be a crazy discovery of human remains. Miek was so confused that he had no idea what to think about this. Ok, he knew that people could be buried beneath the farm for various reasons, but at the moment he couldn’t remember if any.
That’s why he knew that only authorities could help him understand all of this. He called for help. Luckily, he had his mobile phone with him, and he called the officials of the National Museum of Wales. Their response wasn’t what he was expecting.
9. They Laughed At Him
The officials laughed at him, not believing one word he was saying about the discovery. However, after mentioning this one thing, they took him more seriously. This was something that made them listen to him carefully.
Mike told the authorities that he had found human remains and ancient chain and weird engravings in a cavern. Once he mentioned that detail, the officials at the museum were no longer laughing. They ask him to send them his location.
8. They Uncovered Two Chariot Wheels
The artifact removal process began in June, four months after Mike’s February discovery. Authorities needed time to prepare everything so they can organize everything. During the first phase, archaeologists were able to uncover two rusted chariot wheels. This was a clear sign that they are about to discover something huge.
Mike couldn’t believe that this all started with him finding what looked like a coin buried underground. He really had no idea how significant his discovery would be. Now the question was, what was that underground used to be?
7. Mike Could Finally Put A Name To His Initial Discovery
What Mike has initially discovered was simply a small part of the bigger picture. He discovered a rusted chain, but he had no idea what it really was. However, once the museum professionals joined the team, Mike discovered that his original findings were actually a Celtic horse harness junction piece.
He also discovered what the ‘VV’ was. According to archaeologist Rachel Hall, the connected ‘VV’ is called a witch mark. These marks were meant to keep witches from entering a building. Marks that Mike has discovered are known as Marian marks, which had the purpose of protecting the site of the symbols. However, ancient people from the town had another belief.
6. Townsfolk Believe It Was A Gateway To Hell
Everything in history has its own values and believes. Archaeologist Alison Fearn believes that the 14th and 18th-century markings were the townspeople’s way of keeping demons from gracing the Earth. Mike rejected this theory because the symbols were carved into most of the available surface of the cavern.
Others believe that the village’s location, along with the deep cavern, made them fearful of the unknown. Plus, the superstitious were really common in the 14th century. Mike couldn’t believe that a simple metal detector discovered all of this.
5. It Was Time To Bring Out The Big Machines
The museum official decided to explore the area more, and they brought in the prominent instruments. What geophysical sonar uncovered was more than unusual.
After researching the land, archeologists uncovered a ditch ring. The ring was a 12-meter circle that surrounded the site, and they discovered more than one.
4. What Comes Next For Mike And His Discovery
Researchers found two more burials, both of which were located in ditch rings. Based on this, researchers concluded that Mike accidentally discovered a Celtic settlement. This settlement manages to stay off everyone’s radar for a long time.
Not only that Mike manages to discover the ditch in burial sites, but he was able to dig up another 34 other items. Some of the things were a brooch, tool handles, and bronze bits.
3. Investment Is Needed
“I still can’t believe it,” Mike said. “Obviously, I’ve read other people’s finds. I’ve watched them on the telly, and I’ve always thought, I wouldn’t mind finding that, it’s still surreal, and life-changing.” He didn’t even know the half of it!
Adam Gwilt, the principal curator of prehistoric archaeology at the National Museum of Wales, explained that the findings were probably “witness to some great historical events of the time, as Iron Age people defended their ways of life and identity from the expansion of the Roman Empire.”
2. What About Mike’s Payout?
Does that famous saying – Finders keepers! applies to Mike in this situation? After all, he as the one who made this fantastic discovery. Thank Mike, this will be a massive project that will require a lot of funding.
Now it’s up to officials to find additional funds, so they can continue digging this area. More artifacts are yet to be discovered. But what about Mike’s award? Here it is.
1. Mike’s Reward
When you discover something, of course, they get an award. Mike was hoping for a seven-figure payout for his discovery. As expected, he had to split his earnings with the landowners. Still, this isn’t something that a hobbyist can ignore.
Mike explained, “It’s the biggest ever metal detecting finds, as there’s never been a chariot ever discovered by a metal detectorist. There have been hoards found, but never anything like this.” Here’s to more surprising discoveries for you, Mike!