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Treasure hunter finds Bronze Age founders hoard

Treasure hunter Maurice Richardson holds three of the items from the Bronze Age haul
It took Mr Richardson 34 years to find anything worth more than 100

A treasure hunter has found 18 Bronze Age items in a field near Newark in Nottinghamshire.

Maurice Richardson stumbled across the collection, which includes four socket axes, a spear head, a chisel and a fragmented sword, by mistake.

"I was on my way back to the car after being out all afternoon and wandered off the track," he said. "If I hadn't I wouldn't have found it."

This is the third major discovery Mr Richardson has made. In 2005 he dug up an ancient necklace valued at £350,000 while in 2010 he found a hoard of Roman coins.

The tools were found just a foot below the surface of a farmer's field.

The first things to be dug out were three of the four axes; Mr Richardson said he immediately knew what they were.

The items have been confirmed by Dr Chris Robinson, an archaeological officer from Nottinghamshire County Council, as a founders hoard.

"Bronze Age metal workers tended to be itinerant. They would travel around the land plying their trade," said Dr Robinson.

"Often they would bury their produce and come back for it later."

The finds will now be submitted to the Portable Antiques Scheme (PAS) so that they can be recorded.

Treasure hunter Maurice Richardson holds an item from the Bronze Age haul
Out of the 18 items only only one item has not been able to be identified

All prehistoric base-metal artefacts found after 1 January 2003 qualify as treasure and the PAS will forward the items to the British Museum for further assessment, dating and valuation.

Research by Mr Richardson suggests that his latest hoard may be worth a few thousand pounds.

But the tree surgeon said his hobby, which he has been doing every Saturday and Sunday afternoon for 40 years, is nothing to do with the money.

"It's the interest in the local history and the buzz from handling something that is thousands of years old," he said.

Mr Richardson confessed that there was no secret to his success.

"It's embarrassing really. There's no recipe. It just seems to happen," he said.

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