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Home   Deal   News   Article

Sheperdswell metal detector Greg Sweetman finds valuable Anglo-Saxon artefacts next to A20 near Maidstone

22 February 2014
by Emily Stott

The Anglo-Saxon findings could be part of a grave date back to the sixth century and are said to be worth more than £40,000.

Two Saxon pins, part of a buckle or belt and seven brooches were found on land next to the A20 towards Maidstone.

Anglo-Saxon brooches and pins found near Maidstone

Anglo-Saxon brooches and pins found near Maidstone

Greg Sweetman, of Westcourt Lane, Shepherdswell, was the first person to find one of the brooches when metal detecting.

Mr Sweetman, 40, said that he was very lucky to find something so rare.

Greg Sweetman from Shepherdswell found numerous Anglo-Saxon items

Greg Sweetman from Shepherdswell found numerous Anglo-Saxon items

He said: "It's a day I won't forget. These finds for me are the most significant I have ever found and I'm still shaking at the thought."

Mr Sweetman said that the finds were made at his first club dig with the Medway History Finders.

It is thought the collection is worth around £40,000

It is thought the collection is worth around £40,000

He usually digs with the Invicta Seekers based in Ashford.

He said: "When you start digging stuff up you never know what's going to come up. I'm lucky that that came up."

The artifacts found off the A20 near Maidstone

The artefacts found off the A20 near Maidstone

On finding a large square-ended Saxon brooch, Mr Sweetman and the group decided to dig further and discovered the hoard of artefacts including hair pins and circular and square brooches. The brooches are mostly silver with red garnet.

He added: "The first find was a broken Saxon pin at about six inches down. Not being too knowledgeable as to what it was, I showed Kevin Reader, the vice-chairman of the club, and he advised me to re-check the hole as it was not a common find."

One of the brooches found

One of the brooches found

Pete Clarke, a member of the Medway History Finders, added: "It's a very significant find. Chances are they might be able to find who is in there."

Mr Clarke said that usually, with a Saxon burial of someone of high status, they would be buried with a spear, so the excavators will be looking for signs that will reveal whether or not the site is part of an Anglo-Saxon grave.

The artifacts show great detail

The artefacts show great detail

The group cut a metre by metre square hole, so the rest of the area will need to be searched.

The hoard has now been passed on to a coroner who will confirm the date of the artefacts and offer them to the British Museum.

Where the artifacts were found, next to the A20

Where the artefacts were found, next to the A20

Mr Clarke, 53, said that he didn't want the first time the public saw the findings to be when they're polished and cleaned in the British Museum.

He said: "It's far more exciting to see them dug up from the ground."

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