Treasure hunter makes £1million Iron Age find in a muddy field

A treasure hunter is set to pocket up to £1million after he discovered a buried ancient chariot.

Mike Smith, 45, was stunned to become the first metal detectorist to pick up a Celtic chariot dating back more than 2,000 years.

High-ranking chiefs in the Iron Age would be laid to rest with their chariot, horses, tack and weapons.

A broach with the face was one of the many beguiling items found amongst this haul and now Mike is set to bring in a cash windfall after the ancient find was declared treasure by a coroner.

Mike expects to land up to £1million or more for his discovery.

He said: “It’s the biggest ever metal detecting find, as in there’s never been a chariot ever discovered by a metal detectorist.

“There have been hoards found, but never anything like this.”

The exact location of his amazing find is being kept secret for a major dig – but is located in south Pembrokeshire.

The inquest in Milford Haven heard the site is now legally protected and Mike has to sell the 34 artefacts to a museum by law.

The payment must be shared fifty-fifty with the landowner.

Mike said: “I still can’t believe it. Obviously I’ve read other people’s finds. I’ve watched them on telly, and I’ve always thought, I wouldn’t mind finding that, it’s still surreal, and life-changing.”

The chariot is the first of its kind to be found outside of Yorkshire.

National Museum Wales said it will now try to buy the treasure.

Adam Gwilt is the museum’s principal curator of prehistoric archaeology.

He said: “These chariot pieces may have been witness to some of the historical events of the time, as Iron Age peoples defended their ways of life and identities, in the face of an expanding Roman empire.

“Something like this takes a lot of organisation and funding as well so we’ve been working with a number of partners to put together what’s needed to do a continuing investigation.”

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